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August 6, 2014 1:24 pm

Mumbai Chabad’s Nariman House to Re-Open 6 Years After Emissaries Killed in Terrorist Attack

avatar by Joshua Levitt

A before-and-after shot of Naiman House, which is set to re-open on August 26, 2014. Photo: DNA India / Screenshot.

A before-and-after shot of Naiman House, which is set to re-open on August 26, 2014. Photo: DNA India / Screenshot.

Nariman House, the five-story home of Chabad of Mumbai, is set to re-open on August 26, nearly six years after a major terrorist attack killed the local Chabad rabbi, his pregnant wife, and four others in the building, website DNA India reported on Tuesday.

In total, the Mumbai terror attack injured 300 people and claimed the lives of 166, including Chabad Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg, and his wife, Rivka, who was five-months pregnant. Their two-year-old son, Moshe, was rescued by his Indian nanny Sandra Samuel, who is now an Israeli citizen, and is today living in Afula, Israel, with his grandparents.

The future of “baby Moshe,” as he’s now known in India, became part of a struggle that delayed the rebuilding of the Chabad house.

Holtzberg’s brother, also named Moshe, told DNA India: “This building is also now secured to my nephew. As most people of India call him, ‘baby Moshe’… The least that we can do is to give him the choice to come back.”

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“It has been in agreement by all involved and I have assurance that this building belongs to him. It is his home and when he gets older, he might want to come back and continue the work of his parents, in Nariman House,” he said. “He’s been there from the start, and naturally, it is his.”

Holtzberg said, “The fact that Nariman House is finally reopening after six years is great. Keeping the place active is what my brother and his wife, Rivka, did – and I am sure this is what they would have wanted – to continue the light of goodness in Mumbai.”

Moshe Holtzberg on the shoulders of his grandfather Rabbi Nachman Holtzberg. Photo:

Moshe Holtzberg on the shoulders of his grandfather Rabbi Nachman Holtzberg. Photo:

For the past six years, Chabad synagogue services in Mumbai have been run from temporary locations around the city, but the renovated space will allow all of their activities to be centralized again.

The new Chabad leader in Mumbai, Rabbi Israel Jacob, told DNA India that the five-story building will have a kosher kitchen on the first floor; the second floor will have a synagogue for prayer services and Torah study; the third floor will be used for functions; the fourth floor will be a memorial for all those who died; and the fifth floor will be memorial for Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg.

In November 2012, Mohammad Ajmal Kasab, the lone terrorist to survive the terror attack, was hanged in India, the first time a capital sentence had been carried out in the country since 2004. The Pakistani national had become the symbol of the Mumbai attack from a widely seen photograph of him wearing a black t-shirt and holding an Ak-47 strutting through the Mumbai train station.

In January 2013, a Pakistani-American, who changed his name from Daood Gilani to David Coleman Headley, was sentenced to 35 years in prison for aiding the terrorist group Lashkar-e-Tayyiba that perpetrated the attack. He had attended five terror training camp sessions between 2002 and 2005, the year he went to India to conduct surveillance of various locations—including several Chabad Houses— that were later targeted by the group.

Since then, Israel has alerted Indian intelligence services of renewed terror risks against Jewish tourists and at Jewish and Israeli sites across the country.

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