On November 26, 2008, Pakistani militants descended upon Mumbai from boats, besieging the city in a three-day rampage that left more than 100 people dead. Gunmen targeted hotels, a hospital, and restaurant in the Indian finance capital, and took Mumbai’s Chabad center, known as the Nariman House, hostage, ultimately killing the rabbi, Gavriel Holtzberg, his wife, Rivka Holtzberg, and four visitors who were staying at the house.
Nearly six years later, the center has officially reopened, the AP reports. Chabad rabbis gathered at the restored six-story building, which will house Mumbai’s first memorial to the victims of the 2008 attacks, to commemorate the reopening.
According to the New York Times, the event was bittersweet, celebrating the newly restored building while also marking the tragedy that occurred where they stood.
“For reasons we will never know and never fathom, six pious people along with 158 others were torn from our grasp in the most barbaric and inhuman of ways,” Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, vice chairman of Merkos L’Inyonei Chinuch, the educational arm of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, said during the ceremony. “Today, we fulfill a promise which was made at the funeral of Rabbi Gabi that we would rebuild.”
The Holtzberg’s 7-year-old son, who was rescued by his nanny during the bloodshed, now lives with her at his grandparents’ home in Israel. It was decided that attending the event would be too traumatic for him.
Stephanie Butnick is deputy editor of Tablet Magazine and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.