The Jewish Chabad House in Mumbai has finally got a new permanent rabbi couple to run it a year and a half after Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife Rivkah were killed by gunmen during the 26/11 terror attacks in 2008.
Rabbi Chanoch Gechman and his wife, Leiky, who have been making trips to Mumbai since 2006, will take charge of the Mumbai Jewish community outreach centre within a few weeks, the Chabad-Lubavitch group said on its website.
Gechman got his Indian visa on June 11 and his posting to Mumbai was announced on Wednesday in Washington.
Gechman, who studied rabbinical law under Gavriel Holtzberg, first came to Mumbai in 2006 and stayed in the city for five months spending most of his free time teaching Torah one-on-one to Israeli backpacker tourists.
“I can’t fathom that they (Holtzbergs) are not alive; sometimes, it seems like they are people who live forever, that something like this can’t happen to them,” Gechman was quoted on the Chabad-Lubavitch website.
The Holtzberg couple’s son, Moshe, survived the terrorist attack along with his Indian nanny Sandra Sameul. Both live in Israel with Moshe’s maternal grandparents.
Chabad House Mumbai was always an open home for Jews, wherever they were from. Backpackers and businessmen passing through Mumbai would often use its services and celebrate Jewish festivals there. The emissaries also taught Hebrew and Jewish ethics to the Indian Jewish community.
The Chabad House in Mumbai is now located at an undisclosed apartment, since Nariman House, is still under repair. Most, but not all of the Chabad services, have resumed.