January - March 2009



 The current issue

 Editor's Note

 Mumbai 26/11

 Five Main Targets

 - Leopold Cafe

 - CST

 - Nariman House

 - The Oberoi Hotels

 - The Taj Hotels

 Heroes at the Taj


 Two Men & a City

 - Hasan Gafoor

 - Jyoti Krishan Dutt


 Mumbai 26/11
 Lessons Learnt


 Tolerance Targeted
 in Mumbai

 Parsis & Jews of


 Deccan Odyssey

 Bombay to Mumbai


 Taj - Mumbai's
 much-loved icon



 the print gallery

 the art gallery

 gurgaon property






   about us              back-issues           contact us         search             data bank


  craft shop

print gallery

 Mumbai 26/11 - Five Main Targets

Nariman House – little Moshe’s big loss

Nariman House, also known as Chabad House to the Jewish community, was among the buildings attacked by terrorists in Mumbai on the night of November 26, sometime between 9.30 – 9.45pm. Unlike the other iconic buildings that came under attack, Nariman House was relatively unknown to the rest of the world, apart from the Jewish community. Chabad Houses are homes away from homes for Jews travelling abroad or within the US., and also places to celebrate Hanukkah, Passover or weekly Shabbat dinners.

The Chabad Houses are usually run by young couples, in this instance by Rabbi Gavriel Noach Holtzberg, 29, and his 28-year-old wife, Rivka, belonging to the ultra-conservative Chabad-Lubavitch denomination, a Hasidic faith with its headquarters in Brooklyn NY, whose adherents believe that secular Jews ought to become more observant. Chabad Houses can be found in 73 countries – and Nariman House was just one such house – a simple six-storey building in an unpretentious neighbourhood of Mumbai, which came under attack because of the faith of its residents. Jews came to India over a thousand years ago, escaping persecution in Galilee. Helped by the local Hindu rulers, they were given land to establish communities and lived peacefully with people of all faiths. This is the first instance of Jews being attacked on Indian soil – the attack came from foreign nationals on Indian soil –from members of LeT – a terrorist outfit based in Pakistan.

The two terrorists, from a group of ten who touched the shores of Mumbai in inflatable boats, walked to Nariman House – a ten minute walk from the point where they arrived. Moving quickly once they got there, they threw a bomb at the petrol station close by, and entered the Nariman House. The Rabbi and his wife were strangled and five others shot. The terror siege at Nariman House lasted until Friday November 28, when members of India’s elite NSG secured the building. The six hostages, all Israelis, were killed very early into the attack – on the night of November 26. The seventh life lost was that of an NSG commando. The young couple’s toddler son Moshe, soon to celebrate his second birthday on Saturday, was saved by his Christian nanny Sandra Samuel, who had worked at the centre for years. Sandra was hiding in the floor below, when she heard Moshe crying. She ran upstairs, found him crying beside his parent’s bodies, picked him up and ran out of the centre – all in a flash. This was Thursday morning – hours after the terrorists first entered Nariman House.

The Holtzbergs moved to Mumbai in 2003, to open and run the first Chabad House in the city. Neighbours describe them as a warm and a friendly couple. Their ‘open’ home in this Colaba neighbourhood became a popular destination among Jewish tourists.

The couple’s older son is gravely ill with a congenital disease, in an Israeli hospital, and Moshe, the two-year-old is now parentless. He turned two on Saturday, November 29. The images of an inconsolable Moshe, clutching a plastic ball, will remain in the album of one’s mind. He is now in Israel with his nanny Sandra, and his grandparents.

Chabad leaders say the Mumbai house will reopen.



Copyright © 2000 - 2009 []. Intellectual Property. All rights reserved.