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Rick Hellman

When Arab terrorists murdered a teacher and five students in Kfar Chabad, Israel, in 1956, the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s response was conveyed simply in a telegram: “By your continued building, you will be comforted.”

In light of the recent terror slaying of Mumbai, India, Chabad emissaries Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg, the local Chabad-Lubavitch director is taking that dictum to heart, announcing a new outpost in midtown Kansas City, Mo.

“Our response to the terrorists who struck at Chabad in Mumbai is that we are setting up a Chabad House in the heart of Kansas City to serve midtown and downtown,” said Program Director Rabbi Mendy Wineberg.

Rabbi Wineberg said Rabbi Yitzhak “Itche” Itkin and his wife, Chanele, have accepted the emissary post in Midtown and should arrive here before Purim. The Itkins have an infant son, Meyer. They will live in the Plaza area and have an office nearby, Rabbi Wineberg said.

They will announce the new initiative this Sunday evening at a Chanukah menorah-lighting ceremony to be held on the Sister City Bridge over Brush Creek on the Plaza.

Rabbi Wineberg said the tribute to the Holtzbergs will begin at 4 p.m. at the Chabad House with the showing of a Chabad-produced film about their lives. Then, eight cars will be outfitted with rooftop, light-up menorahs and flags will be available for another 30 vehicles as they caravan down to the Plaza. There, on the Sister City bridge near Central Street and Ward Parkway, a nine-foot menorah will be lit.

Rabbi Wineberg said he chose the bridge because it is dedicated to Kansas City’s Israeli Sister City, Ramla, among others, and because Midtown represents the new growth of Chabad of Missouri and Kansas.

“We’ve been working on this for a while,” said Rabbi Wineberg. “The young post-college kids who live in Midtown have been underserved, from a Jewish perspective. We had heard about the plans now under discussion for the former ‘I Am’ Temple, but we are not waiting.”

-KC Jewish Chronicle