Nearly 100 candles were lit during the memorial service at Colaba’s Nariman House on Thursday morning, and most of them were by schoolchildren.
Students from two civic schools close to the Jewish centre at Chabad (Nariman) House streamed into the small driveway to light candles.
“I remember playing with baby Moshe,” said Raj Kasare, 12. Moshe was slain Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg’s son, who had survived the 2008 terror attack at Nariman House.
“This used to be an open house, and the baby’s nanny [Sandra Samuel] would call us upstairs whenever we passed by to play,” said Sonali Sandorkar, a Class 8 student of Waghe Marathi School.
Sandorkar knows nothing about the Jewish religion or the Chabad movement that the rabbi was running from the building. “But they were good people,” she said.
The memorial service was organised by Moshe’s paternal grandparents, Rabbi Nachman and Freida Holtzberg, who were also present for a court hearing about a dispute over the rebuilding rights of the Nariman House on Thursday.
“We would like to thank the people of Mumbai for their incredible love and support which helped us through a difficult time,” said Freida, speaking in Hebrew through a translator.
Moshe’s grandparents added that the four-year-old boy has learnt Hindi, which he uses to communicate with Samuel, who now lives with him in Jerusalem.
For Lina Solomon, lighting a candle at Nariman House was a personal experience infused with memories of several kosher dinners with Rabbi Gavriel’s family.
“I met them last on the Friday before 26/11, and strangely, I could feel a radiant light coming from them, shining on my face,” said Solomon, 55, who moved from Cuffe Parade to Bandra after the attacks.
“When I heard about the terror attacks I tried calling them several times, but someone would answer the phone and hang up immediately,” said Solomon, who fondly remembers bringing mangoes and pomegranates for Moshe during her visits.