Chabad to turn Mumbai center into memorial site

The Jewish community of Mumbai marked the fifth anniversary of the attack on the Chabad house, which left six people dead.

Mumbai Chabad attack 370 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Mumbai Chabad attack 370
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Chabad house in Mumbai is to be turned into a memorial to the victims of the 2008 Mumbai massacre, Rabbi Israel Kozlovsky, who took over as the group’s emissary there last year, told the Mumbai Mirror.
The Jewish community of Mumbai recently marked the fifth anniversary of the attack on the Chabad house, which left six people dead.
The series of attacks in Mumbai in November 2008 by members of a Pakistan-based terror group left 166 people dead, including six at the Mumbai Chabad house, which was targeted along with luxury hotels, a train station and a popular cafe.
Seven candles were lit at Tuesday evening’s ceremony, one for each Jewish victim and another to represent all Mumbai victims. The emissaries, Americans Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg, were slain in the attacks, but their then-2-year-old son Moshe escaped. Moshe now lives in Israel with his grandparents and his Indian babysitter who risked her life to save him during the attack.
“When you want to fight darkness, you cannot chase it away with a stick or an AK-47. One can chase darkness away only with light and peace,” Kozlovsky told the Mumbai Mirror.
According to the report, the fourth and fifth floors of the building are to be turned into a memorial, and construction work on a restaurant on the first floor is already underway.
The work is expected to cost $900,000, and security for the site will be provided by local police.
Police boosted security around several Indian Jewish establishments in September following intelligence reports that the Indian Mujahideen terrorist organization had indicated its interest in targeting the sites.
At the time Indian police called on Jewish establishments to hire security guards, install security cameras and issue ID cards to be used to gain admittance to the businesses, according to NDTV. They also have been instructed to not allow vehicles to park around their buildings.
The corner in which Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg’s bodies were discovered will not be renovated and will remain in its current state as a memorial.
Bullet marks on the walls will remain as well.
The top floor, where Moshe Holtzberg lived, will be returned to its original look, Kozlovsky told the Indian paper.
“If baby Moshe wants to return, I can only say that it is his house and he would not need any permission,” he said.
Close friends and family of the Holtzbergs gathered at the graves on the Mount of Olives on Tuesday to mark the fifth anniversary of their murders, CBS news reported.
Dr Aaron Abraham, a Indian Hindu who converted to Judaism through Chabad in India and who recently made aliya, told CBS that “Gavriel’s parents were also there, as was Moshe’s nanny Sandra. My wife and I also drove down to the cemetery, and we all prayed together.”
Abraham, who said he visits Moshe Holtzberg twice a month, said that the child “asks God to bring his parents back, and that they should never leave him again.”
JTA contributed to this report.