An anniversary marking an act of extraordinary horror in India was observed recently with ordinary kindness.
Late last month, on the sixth anniversary of a terrorist attack in Mumbai — including an assault on the Chabad House, which took six lives — some Jewish tourists shared a kosher meal at the Nariman House, the outreach center’s new names.
Feeding and welcoming visitors, many of them from Israel, is what the Mumbai Chabad House did before it came under attack in 2008. (The recent attack at Chabad headquarters in Crown Heights, in which a 22-year-old Israeli student was knifed in the head, carried an eerie echo of the Mumbai attack.) The Lubavitch emissary couple, Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his pregnant wife Rivky, were killed, as well as four tourists, in the siege by heavily armed Pakistan-based Islamic militants.
The Holtzbergs’ child, Moshe, now 8, has since moved back to Israel, along with his Indian nanny, Sandra Samuel, who rescued him from the terrorists.
During the three-day attack whose targets included the central railway station, two luxury hotels and a popular restaurant, 160 people lost their lives and more than 300 were injured.
On the recent anniversary, politicians and families of victims laid flowers and wreaths.
At the reopened, five-story Chabad House, visitors lit a yahrtzeit candle. A memorial in the shape of a prism for all the Mumbai victims, under construction on the building’s roof, will be “finished shortly,” said Naftali Charter, head of security at the center told AFP. The building now features reinforced steel doors, electronic access and surveillance cameras.