In two days, a building that six years ago was soaked in blood and tears will instead be filled with light and joy, as Chabad of Mumbai’s Nariman House reopens its doors.
More than 25 Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries will attend the reopening set for Tuesday, August 26 along with other honored guests led by current co-directors, Rabbi Yisroel Kozlovsky and his wife Chaya.
The couple are continuing the work started by Rabbi Gabi and Rivky Holtzberg, who together with four of their guests were murdered in cold blood by Pakistani jihadist terrorists in November 2008. Only their two year old son Moishe, saved by his Indian nanny Sandra, survived the bloodbath. Both were brought home to Israel by Rivky’s parents, Rabbi and Mrs. Shimon Rosenfeld.
Despite the devastation that followed the attack — Nariman House was only one of ten sites that were struck in a city-wide mass casualty attack by the 10-man terrorist cell — Chabad’s outreach to Jews in Mumbai continued.
“We remember what happened, but we are working for the future,” Kozlovsky told Chabad.org this week.
All of the activities that took place at Nariman House prior to the attack will continue, he said, and hopefully the program will expand further. Chabad of Mumbai was established by the Holtzbergs in 2003 to serve Israeli backpackers, international Jewish business people and the local Indian Jewish community, he pointed out.
With funding from the Rohr Family Foundation and strong mentoring from Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, vice chairman of Merkos L’Inyonei Chinuch — the educational arm of Chabad-Lubavitch — the Holtzbergs purchased Nariman House and set up their program.
Kotlarsky underlined the importance of never giving in to terror. “We didn’t pause after this great tragedy,” he said. “We regrouped immediately and continued working, never stopping. That was our response to what happened in Mumbai. We build communities… serving the Jews in Mumbai, locals and foreigners, was and continues to be our priority.”
The reopening of the Chabad center is timed to coincide with the regional conference of more than 25 Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries in Asia, organized by Rabbi Yosef Chaim Kantor, regional director and head of Chabad of Thailand. Kantor has been deeply involved in the renewal of Nariman House, as he was involved in the development of the original Chabad center as well.