Candles lit at Jewish centre for Mumbai attacks victims

| November 17, 2009

MUMBAI — Faith leaders on Tuesday gathered at a Jewish religious and cultural centre in Mumbai to light candles to those who died in last year's deadly terror attacks on the city.

The candles were lit after a moment of silence to remember the six people who were killed at Chabad House on November 26-29, including the respected rabbi who ran it, Gavriel Holtzberg, and his pregnant wife, Rivka.

The ceremony, on the ground floor of the bullet-scarred five-storey building in bustling Colaba Market, followed a multi-faith religious ceremony at the luxury Trident hotel, which was also stormed by gunmen.

Overall, 166 people died and more than 300 others were injured in the attacks, which were blamed on the banned, Pakistan-based Islamist group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).

Rabbi Avraham Berkowitz, from the ultra-Orthodox Chabad-Lubovitch movement that owns Chabad House, first read the names of all six victims and said: "We are standing here today as men and women of good will and good faith.

"We are standing united together as we all are children of God, all created in the image of God, to condemn terror and promote peace and perpetuate the life and legacy of the sacred victims."

He told dignitaries, including Israel's consul general in Mumbai, Orna Sagiv, and reporters: "We, the Jewish people, see ourselves as a light unto the nations of the world.

"We stand in solidarity and in grief and in love with all the victims that were targeted on that same night."

Berkowitz earlier told fellow leaders from the Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Sikh, Buddhist, Zoroastrian and Jain communities that they would continue the work of the Holtzbergs to promote peace and unity around the world.

Whereas the majority of the sites attacked in Mumbai have reopened in the last 12 months, Chabad House has remained closed.

The Chabad-Lubovitch movement is still in the city but has moved to a secret location on security grounds.

Members of the organisation have vowed that the building, which served as an education centre, synagogue and hostel for visiting Israelis and is still known locally by its former name, Nariman House, will eventually be rebuilt.

The Holtzbergs' young son, Moshe, was plucked to safety by his Indian nanny. Both now live in Israel.

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Category: Synagogue/Jewish Security

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