Twelve years ago this week, terrorists stormed the Nariman Chabad House in Mumbai. Members of the Islamic terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba held Chabad representatives Rabbi Gavriel and Rivkah Holtzberg and four of their guests hostage, before brutally murdering them. Two-year-old Moshe Holtzberg was saved by his nanny. The 2008 terrorist attacks left 166 people in Mumbai dead in a four-day coordinated attack.
Chabad of Mumbai has since continued to advance the work of the Holtzbergs, and new centers like the Gavriel and Rivkah Holtzberg Jewish Welcome Center in the Virgin Islands, have opened around the world inspired by their memory. Chabad-Lubavitch preschools, Gan Rivka, named for Rivka Holtzberg are active in places such as Marin, CA and Rome, Italy.
In Seoul, South Korea, Chabad dedicated the Korea Jewish Library in the Holtzberg’s honor. And the Holtzberg Hospitality Home which serves students and faculty at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine was dedicated in tribute to the open hospitality at the Nariman Chabad House in Mumbai.
Today the Nariman Chabad House is once again a vibrant center for educational activities. The six-story building includes a kosher kitchen and library. Current emissaries Rabbi Yisroel and Chaya Kozlovsky feel they have big shoes to fill: “My wife, Chaya, and I are humbled to be a part of, and to continue the holy work of Rabbi Gabi and Rivka Holtzberg.” The Kozlovskys hope to open a memorial museum on the premises.
Visitors tour the Chabad (Nariman) House in Mumbai, India at its inauguration in August 2014. On the wall is a photo of Moshe Holtzberg, surviving son of slain Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg of Mumbai. (Credit: EPA)
Rabbi Yisroel and Chaya Kozlovsky, originally of Israel, now Chabad emissaries in Mumbai. The couple “are humbled to be a part of, and to continue the holy work of Rabbi Gabi and Rivka Holtzberg.” (Rabbi Yisroel Kozlovsky)
Gan Rivka in Rome, Italy, a state-of-the-art preschool dedicated to the memory of Rivka Holtzberg, sets up an Israeli marketplace for their students. (Chabad-Lubavitch of Rome)
Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg, of blessed memory. (Photo Archive)