‘Moshe doesn’t know how his parents died’

He now attends a religious school and is being brought up by his grandparents as an orthodox jew

Updated - December 03, 2021 12:48 pm IST

Published - July 05, 2017 10:43 pm IST - JERUSALEM

Moshe with Modi.  PTI

Moshe with Modi. PTI

Moshe, the young survivor of the Chabad House killings during the 26/11 Mumbai attacks of 2008, could grow up one day to return to Mumbai and continue his parents’ work at the Jewish centre, his grandparents said here on Wednesday.

“Yes, he is studying like his parents did, and will one day serve as his mother Rivka and father Gavriel did,” said Mr. Holtzberg, his paternal grandfather, who flew in with his wife from New York ahead of a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu. Rivka and Gavriel Holtzberg, who were working in Mumbai at the time, were gunned down by LeT terrorists who stormed the Chabad House and took them hostage first.

Echoing the sentiment, his maternal grandparents Rabbi Shimon and Yehudit Rosenberg also told The Hindu: “Yes, Moshe will return to Mumbai, his parents’ home is his home. Maybe, one day he will be the chief Rabbi [Jewish priest] of Mumbai.”

The family, along with Moshe’s nanny Sandra Samuel, who escaped from the Chabad House at Nariman point with an infant Moshe and then moved to Israel to help bring him up, met the two Prime Ministers for an emotional meeting at the PM’s hotel. During the meeting with Moshe, now 11 years old, Mr. Modi offered him and the family long-term visas to visit India “any time.”

During the 26/11 Mumbai attacks of 2008, Sandra Samuel escaped from the Chabad House at Nariman point with baby Moshe and then moved to Israel to help bring him up. Moshe’s parents Rivka and Gabriel Holtzberg were killed in the terror attack.

Ms. Samuel, who has been recognised as an honorary citizen of Israel for saving Moshe, said she was grateful for the gesture from Mr. Modi, offering them long-term visas to visit India “any time.”


Asked whether she had ever reconsidered her decision to move to Israel with Moshe, leaving her own family in India, she said: “My children were grown up and didn’t need me as much. I couldn’t have sent Moshe alone,” said Ms. Samuel, who now works in Jerusalem with children with special needs and visits Moshe at weekends.

Asked whether she had followed the investigation and trial of the 26/11 attacks in India and Pakistan, Ms. Samuel said she preferred not to, nor had anyone told Moshe of how his parents died. He now attends a Yeshiva (religious school) and is being brought up as an orthodox Jew by his grandparents, who hope to bring him to Mumbai for his Bar Mitzvah or Jewish confirmation ceremony.

“I have my life which is very busy, and Moshe boy is here. If I get involved [in the latest news of the 26/11 investigation and trial], if at all I put a step [forward], he will follow [me]. And I don’t want that,” she said.

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