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Prayers at Nariman House give Jewish community hope

Prayers at Nariman House give Jewish community hope

Author: Viju B
Publication: The Times of India
Date: November 27, 2009
URL: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/Prayers-at-Nariman-House-give-Jewish-community-hope/articleshow/5273258.cms

Introduction: Rabbis From Around The World Attend Ceremony In Remembrance Of Victims

After more after a year of darkness, the illuminated Chabad House sparkled with renewed hope for the future. Rabbi Shimon Rosenberg, Rabbi Nachman and Frieda Holzberg, grandparents of baby Moshe, along with other rabbis from across the world, prayed for the nine victims who died here in the terror attacks last year. Three-year-old Moshe is the sole Jewish survivor of the tragedy-his parents, Rivka and Gavriel Holtzberg, were shot dead by the terrorists.

Nariman House, as Chabad House is popularly known in Mumbai, is a base for many Jews who come to India. On Thursday, it was thrown open to the public from 12 noon till around 5 pm. A stream of visitors, including schoolchildren, came to visit the place which now resembles a war memorial. "Israel will not forgive and forget people who have committed these brutal murders of Jews at Chabad House,'' warned Rabbi Kotlarsky, director of the New York Chabad House. "My countrymen will fight terror at all levels and will support India in its fight against terrorism.'' In a poignant moment, he spoke about Baby Moshe still asking where his parents were and the helplessness of his grandparents when confronted with such questions.

The rabbi, along with other Jewish representatives, spoke at the memorial event that was organised in front of Chabad House on Thursday evening. The event, however, was thoroughly mismanaged; there was utter chaos, with the organisers letting in only journalists from foreign news agencies. "This is nothing short of racism. We have been giving full media coverage to Chabad House all year. Now they don't seem to care about the national media. Then why did they invite us in the first place?'' said a journalist from a national newspaper. This reporter also tried calling up the director of Chabad House, Rabbi Avraham Berkowitz, who was hosting the event, but he expressed helplessness. Only the consul general of Israel, Orna Sagiv, offered some help at a later stage.

Apart from Moshe's grandparents, several prominent rabbis from different parts of the world congregated at Nariman House and paid their respects to the nine people who were shot dead by terrorists. Shashi Tharoor, minister of state for external affairs, spoke about how Jews had been staying in India for hundreds of years peacefully. "Be it Bene Israeli or Baghdadi Jews, their culture has blended seamlessly with ours, and they have never felt insecure in India. The first time they felt that it was unsafe to be a Jew in India was after the 26/11 terror attack,'' Tharoor said.

The minister said, "I salute the courage of the police officers who died while saving the lives of innocent people,'' he said.

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