In 1902, on the 11th of Nisan, in the Ukrainian village of Nikolaev, Chana Schneerson, the mother of newborn Menachem Mendel, the future and seventh Lubavitcher rebbe, receives a telegram from her cousin, the fifth rebbe, Sholom Dov Ber. Before feeding the baby, he writes, she should ritually wash her hands as if before meals or prayer. When the baby cries, his parents, by candlelight, pour water over his little hands and into a small basin by his cradle.
In the weeks since the Mumbai terrorist attack, the Chabad movement has directed contributions from supporters primarily to two campaigns: One to aid the child whose emissary parents were slain, and another to rebuild the badly damaged outreach center and re-establish operations there, which could cost as much as $1 million, according to a Chabad estimate.
But at the same time, some Chabad leaders are acting on their own to secure funds and resources to make dozens of Chabad houses in far-flung outposts safer.