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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

26/11: Rabbi's parents want to rebuild Chabad House

Mumbai terror attack

Mumbai: The parents of the late Rabbi Gavriel, who was killed during the November 26 terror attacks here last year, have announced plans to raise Rs100 million to reconstruct the ravaged Jewish centre in south Mumbai.

Rabbi Nachman Holtzberg, accompanied by his wife Frieda, and their sons Avraham and Moshe, visited the Chabad House, the Mumbai headquarters of the ultra-orthodox Hasidic Jews, situated inside the better-known Nariman House, near the southern tip of the city.

They examined the belongings of Gavriel and his wife Rivka, who was five months pregnant at the time of the attacks. Their two-year-old son Moshe was miraculously saved from the attacks by his nanny, Sandra Samuel.

Soon after the attacks, they were taken to Israel and now Moshe has become a darling of that country and Jews worldwide. His grandparents and other relatives who look after him say that every now and then, he cries for his dead parents.

The Holtzbergs walked through the mounds of rubble, damaged or broken furniture lying around, books and other household articles gathering dust.

The signs of the November 26, 2008 attacks, and its tragic consequences, are still visible inside and outside the building, guarded now by a single unarmed guard.

Rabbi Holtzberg is hoping for the help of even local Indians for the reconstruction and rebuilding efforts since the place was not just for the Jews, but members of other communities too.

So far, they have raised some funds - for the rebuilding of the Chabad House - from Europe and the US, but will need much more, an estimated Rs100 million, to make it rise again with enhanced facilities and security systems.

The All India Jews Federation president Jonathan Solomon confirmed he had heard about the proposed plans to reconstruct Chabad House. "However, even I have no details and probably, the Israeli consular authorities may be aware of this," he said.

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