Maureen Gaffney Wolfson
One year ago, Rabbi Gabi Holtzberg, the Chabad-Lubavitch Rabbi in Mumbai, India, his wife, and the guests they were hosting, were murdered by terrorists in their Chabad House. Their toddler son Moishe was heroically rescued by the family's Indian nanny and currently lives with his maternal grandparents in Israel.
When I heard the story, my heart was broken into a million pieces. Here was this youthful couple, not yet thirty, thousands of miles away from their hometowns, on a mission of perfect kindness, strangers in a strange land, living and working every day for the benefit of the many who were recipients of their hospitality, friendship and leadership in Mumbai - and cut down in their haven of kindness by forces of pure evil.
And here is this boy, Moishe, plucked from the flames by a loving, courageous friend, and he stands now as a symbol, a survivor, a victory of good over evil, of selflessness over senselessness.
I felt that I needed to lay my emotions out on canvas, create a lasting and worthy tribute to these giants of kindness and their eternal legacy of love. And so I created this painting "A Legacy of Love."
The Chabad House towers over all, a proud beam of light, ultimately indestructible and inextinguishable. It reaches even to the very heavens and brings joy into the lives of their guests and friends, uplifting, inspiring and cheering.
And they must certainly be smiling from Heaven as they watch the progress of their Moishe'le, as he carries forth the torch of ancient kindness that they carried so proudly and so humbly.
It is all truly summed up in Rabbi Holtzberg's words which he spoke as an answer to a tourist who asked him how he found the strength to leave his home and move to India: "Each of us is obligated to love others as we love ourselves." For them it was not a teaching, it was a way of life.
P.S. In keeping with their tradition of kindness, proceeds from the sale of this painting are being donated to the ChabadIndia.org fund to help rebuild the Chabad House in Mumbai.