Last year, when Rabbi Shimon Rosenberg flew out of Mumbai, the cargo of his airplane included the bodies of his daughter Rivka and her husband Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg.
The Holtzberg couple, which ran the Jewish Chabad House in Colaba’s Nariman House, was taken hostage and killed by terrorists during last year’s 26/11 terror attacks.
Now, Rosenberg, 59, will return to Mumbai after a year to attend a 26/11 memorial service organised by the local Jewish community at the Kenneseth Eliyahu Synagogue at Kalaghoda on November 25.
“My visa and tickets are done,” Rosenberg told Hindustan Times over the telephone from his home in Afula in the northern district of Israel. “I am coming with my eldest daughter, Pinana,” added the high school principal and Rabbi.
When quizzed on whether his two-year-old grandson, Moshe, who was rescued from the terrorists by his Indian nanny, Sandra Samuel, from the Colaba Chabad House, would accompany him, Rosenberg said, “Not this time. Maybe next year I’ll bring him to India.”
Rosenberg’s resolve to keep the ties with Mumbai intact, was obvious last year itself. Addressing a gathering of mourners assembled to pay homage to those who lost their lives in the terror attack, Rosenberg had tearfully said, “The house they (Holtzberg couple) built here in Mumbai will live with them. They were the mother and father of the Jewish community in Mumbai. The House of Chabad will live again.”
Run by the ultra Orthodox Jewish group, Chabad Lubavitch, the Chabad House largely catered to Israelis passing through Mumbai, providing them Kosher meals and Sabbath services.
Rosenberg’s other daughter, Sara and her husband Rabbi Yaakov-David Leiter, were earlier chosen to re-start Mumbai’s Chabad House.
The Israel-based couple, however, dropped the plan after they failed to get long-term visas to India.
Rosenberg said he would be in Mumbai for a short time in November. Confirming the November 25 memorial ceremony, prominent local Jew, Solomon Sopher, said that the Israeli Ambassador to India, Mark Sofer, is likely to attend the ceremony.