Moshe, In Mumbai For The First Time After 26/11, Says "Bahut Khushi"

Israeli boy Moshe Holtzberg's parents -- Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and Rivka Holtzberg -- were the directors of Chabad House. They died in the 26/11 terror attack in Mumbai in 2008. Moshe, who was saved by his nanny Sandra Samuel, is visiting the city for the first time since.

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Moshe, In Mumbai For The First Time After 26/11, Says 'Bahut Khushi'

Moshe Holtzberg arrives at Taj Hotel in Colaba, in Mumbai on Tuesday. (PTI)


Mumbai: 

Highlights

  1. Moshe Holtzberg was 2 when he lost his parents in 26/11 attack
  2. PM Modi had invited Moshe during his trip to Israel last year
  3. Terror attack has not affected Moshe's personality, his counsellors say
Moshe Holtzberg, the Israeli child who lost his parents in the 26/11 terror attack in Mumbai and was known to millions of Indians as "Baby Moshe", is back in the city again. The boy -- who was just two years old when his nanny snatched him away to safety from the side of his dead parents at Chabad House -- is now 11.

Getting off the car at Mumbai's Taj hotel, another landmark that was targeted by the terrorists in 2008, the shy, bespectacled boy greeted the assembled reporters with a "shalom". Then, in broken Hindi, he added, "bahut khushi (I'm very happy)".

Moshe had planned to travel to Mumbai when he turns 13 -- a crucial age for Jewish boys, which marks their entry to manhood. But that plan got fast-forwarded after Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited him during his trip to Israel last year and extended an open invitation.

The perfect opportunity presented itself as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to visit India and go to Nariman House to open a memorial for all the people who died in the 26/11 attacks. Moshe will be at the Chabad House on Thursday for the inauguration.

Located in South Mumbai's Colaba area, Chabad House was an outreach centre of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, which was run by Moshe's parents -- Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and Rivka Holtzberg. The "Living Memorial" project, which will take up the top two floors and terrace of the building, will have a special area in memory of Moshe's parents.

On this tour, which Rabbi Israel Kozlovsky who runs the Chabad House described as "very, very emotional", Moshe is accompanied by his nanny Sandra Samuel, who had saved his life. When Moshe went to live with his grandparents with him, she relocated there and has received honorary citizenship from the Israeli government.

Moshe's counsellors say the night of terror has not left any lasting impact on his personality. But he remembers Mumbai and often mumbles Hindi words. Moshe's grandfather, Rabbi Simon Rosenburg, said the boy does not speak much about the terror attacks, but says Chabad House is his home.

During his meeting with PM Modi, Moshe had expressed a wish to live in Mumbai one day and "be the director of the Chabad House".

On Tuesday afternoon, Moshe spent at least two hours at the Nariman House including the places where he had lived. Details of what happened inside is being kept under wraps as Moshe is still a child. His uncle, who shares his name, told NDTV, "Moshe's return is a message to terrorists that we will always win against terror."

Rabbi Simon Rosenburg also accompanied Moshe to Mumbai. "I feel very happy to come to India, to Nariman House, where I am going to pray. I will say 'hi' to the people of India. I feel very good in this country," news agency Press Trust of India quoted him as saying.
 


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