Mumbai's Chabad hub back from dead

By Lawrence Joffe, August 28, 2014
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A rabbi stands alongside photos of Rabbi Holtzberg at the re-opening

A rabbi stands alongside photos of Rabbi Holtzberg at the re-opening

Six years after jihadi terrorists murdered Rabbi Gabriel Holtzberg and his wife at Chabad House in Mumbai, India, the building has sprung back to life.

On Monday August 25, Jewish religious leaders from across Asia gathered to formally inaugurate the newly refurbished house. The five-storey site, also known as Nariman House, will soon acquire a museum to honour the slain couple, built at a cost of £1.5 million.

All told, 166 innocent people died in the 60-hour killing spree of November 2008. Most victims perished at the Taj Mahal Hotel. Yet the attack on Chabad House by members of the fanatical Pakistani group Lashkar-e-Taiba yielded one of the most poignant stories: Moshe, the rabbi's then two-year-old son, was rescued by his courageous nanny, Sandra Samuel. A Christian woman originally from Goa, Sandra has since been granted permanent residence in Israel and also won an award from a Jewish women's group in Israel.

Chabad feels sure that Nariman House will resume its former role as a hub of Jewish communal life, a port of call for visiting Israelis, and a partner to Mumbai's seven other synagogues. Its new overseers are Rabbi Israel Kozlovsky and his wife, Chaya. Their two small children were also present at the ceremony, where the murdered rabbi's father, Rabbi Nachman Holtzberg, declared: "This is the day we can celebrate their lives and the message of light that they spread."

    Last updated: 4:08pm, August 28 2014