Memorial for victims of 2008 Mumbai attack to rise at Chabad House
The upper floors of the six-story Nariman House in the southern part of the Indian city will be fully renovated for the first time since the deadly attack which killed Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg, who lived in and ran the center, and four of their guests.
The current Chabad emissary in Mumbai, Rabbi Yisroel Kozlovsky, and his wife Chaya revealed the memorial plans to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his visit Thursday.
The upper floors of the six-story Nariman House in the southern part of the city will be fully refurbished for the first time since the deadly attack which killed Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg, who lived in and ran the center, and four of their guests. Their toddler son Moshe, who was saved by his babysitter Sandra, returned to the site of the attack for the first time last week.
The roof of the building will be the site of a memorial with the names of all the 170 victims of the four day attack carried out by Pakistani terrorists. It was from the roof, with its panoramic vistas of the city, that the Indian commandos entered the building while the massacre was going on inside.
Renovations are set to begin in the coming weeks and conclude in time for the 10th anniversary of the attacks, November 28, at a cost of an estimated $6 million.
The thousands of expected visitors will learn about Rabbi Gabi Holtzberg and his wife Rivka, who were killed there, as well as about the Chabad movement and its outreach work throughout the world.
There will be exhibits about international terror versus light and hope and about various aspects of Jewish observance and the "Seven Noahide Laws."
Rabbi Kozlovsky, who arrived in Mumbai with his family five years ago, said that the renovations occurred to him as soon as he arrived. "The walls still had bloodstains and bullet holes. I thought that making the center operational was of our first priority, but because light shines stronger when it comes from darkness, we needed to expand our activities even more than before.
"I realized that we were not reaching our full potential here in India, we needed to use this symbolic building to show people the darkness which was here, on the one hand, and how much beauty and light there can be on the other," he added.
"The terror attack was not just targeting Chabad, it targeted multiple sites in Mumbai and it has entered the collective Indian memory similar to 9/11 in the United States. Nevertheless, there still does not exist a proper memorial site to the victims."
He concluded, "We decided to turn the roof into a memorial to all the victims of the November 26, 2008 attacks so that the place will be a magnet for millions of people from all over the world who come here. I hope that with the new building, we will succeed in turning the world into a better place as the Lubavitcher Rebbe, on whose behalf we are here, has taught us."
Rabbi Moshe Kotlarski, assistant director of Merkos L'Inyonei Chinuch, the central educational arm of the Chabad movement, said: "This is an exciting day for Moshe and the Kozlowski family as well as all of the thousands of Chabad emissaries and all Jews. The new building, and little Moshe who returned to here, bear witness that the light will prevail over darkness. This building will serve as a lighthouse for all."