It’s been nearly ten years since two terrorists stormed the Nariman House in Mumbai in order to kill the Jews who lived there. It was the Chabad House for the city, started by a young couple, Gavriel and Rivka “Rivky” Holtzberg. Two men stormed the building on November 26; by November 28, the terrorists, the, Holtzberg’s, and four Jews who had been passing through were dead. Rivky was five months pregnant at the time.
Their only son, Moshe Holtzberg, was two years old at the time. He was rescued from the horrors by his nanny, Sandra Samuel, who was granted honorary Israeli citizenship in 2010.
This week, Moshe returns to the Nariman House for the first time, along with Prime Minister Netanyahu, who is visiting India to meet once again with Narendra Modi. Moshe will be with Netanyahu to commemorate a plaque that will serve as the first step in a Living Memorial to his parents at the Nariman House, situated in the Colaba district of Mumbai.
It’s difficult to conceive of the violence that took place that November, and it’s even more difficult to imagine how it must feel to a 12 year-old whose life is defined by something he (presumably) can’t remember. But the concept of the Living Memorial speaks to how we can constructively think and talk about those nights, not by focusing on the circumstances of death, but on the prospect of continuing life.
Jesse Bernstein is a former Intern at Tablet.