On Frieda Holtzberg’s right wrist rests a silver bracelet. A year ago, it adorned the wrist of her daughter-in-law Rivka, gunned down at Nariman House with her husband Rabbi Gavriel and six others.
“I had given the bracelet to Rivka,” said Frieda, standing outside the bullet-riddled Jewish centre on Thursday. “After her death, her mother gave it to me. Now, I wear it in her memory.”
Frieda and her husband Rabbi Nachman, who flew in from the US for a memorial service organised by members of the Chabad-Lubavitch group, have packed up the clothes of their slain children and the toys of their three-year-old grandson, Moshe, who now lives in Israel with his maternal grandparents.
Rabbi Shimon Rosenberg, Moshe’s maternal grandfather, was also present at Thursday’s memorial. At 9.45 pm, the time at which two gunmen entered the five-storey building last year, those gathered lit candles in memory of all the lives lost in the 26/11 attack.
Of over 170 candles lit through the evening, one was lit by minister of state for foreign affairs Shashi Tharoor, who also offered his condolences to the Moshe’s grandparents.
“It was deeply painful to see the bullet holes in the walls,” he said. “The scale of destruction shows the savagery of the evil men.”
Rabbi Gavriel’s younger brother, also named Moshe, had a message of peace, even as he mourned the deaths.
“We will not fight terror with AK-47s or tanks. That is not our way,” he said. “We will fight it with goodness.”
A moving video of the slain couple reduced several mourners to tears, but a lively dance to a Hebrew song followed, ending with the Hindi lyrics: “Sabse badi baat, kissi se darna nahin (The biggest thing of all, not to be afraid of anyone).”