26/11 ravaged Mumbai Jewish centre to be revived | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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26/11 ravaged Mumbai Jewish centre to be revived

mumbai Updated: Jun 17, 2010 21:41 IST
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Nearly 19 months after Chabad House, the Jewish community centre in south Mumbai, was targeted by Pakistani terrorists in the 26/11 terror attack, two new religious officials will soon come here to revive the centre.

Rabbi Chanoch and Leiky Gechtman, an Israeli couple with connections to Mumbai's Jewish community, have been appointed as the first permanent Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries since the terror attack of Nov 26-29, 2008, according to a statement on chabad.org.

The announcement was made in Washington on Wednesday night at a function attended by ambassadors of more than 40 countries, including India's Meera Shankar.

During the terror attack, the Mumbai Chabad House director Rabbi Gavriel and his wife Rivky Holtzberg, besides four Jewish guests, were brutally killed by the attackers.

Their two-year old son, baby Moshe, and his nanny Sandra Solomon miraculously survived the massacre in Chabad House and are now safe in Israel.

"Now, there's a rabbi who has got his visa for India and would soon go there to revive the Mumbai Chabad House," Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, vice chairman of the educational arm of Chabad-Lubavitch told the gathering.

Gechtman, 25, had first come to Mumbai in 2006 to assist the Holtzbergs with the birth of their son Moshe, and studied rabbinical law under Holtzberg.

He lived in Mumbai for five months and spent most of his time teaching the Torah to Israeli backpackers who visited the centre regularly.

After the 26/11 attack, the Gechtmans have visited Mumbai several times and interacted with the tiny Jewish community here in preparation for their new mission.

Leiky Gechtman, 23, grew up in Israeli city of Gedera and is the eldest daughter of Chab-Lubavitch emissaries Rabbi Binyomin and Chana Karniel.

Their names were suggested for the Mumbai posting by Rabbi Nachman Holtzberg, father of the late Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg.

Gechtman, who enjoyed a close relationship with the late rabbi, said that he has yet to come to terms with the fact that the Holtzbergs are no more.

"It seems like they are people who live forever, that something like this cannot happen to them," he commented during the appointment ceremony.