Baby Moshe’s mother’s love for him is etched on the fifth floor walls of Nariman House in Colaba, one of the sites of the 26/11 terror attack. Hand-painted walls with colourful drawings of birds, numbers and letters and his name in Hebrew speak of a time 10 years ago.
One wall in the room has Moshe’s height measured and marked, as he was at 13 months of age, and then once again when Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu marked the boy’s height last year when Moshe and the PM visited Mumbai. This is the room where the late Rabbi Gabriel Holtzberg and late Rabbinate Rivka Holtzberg wished him a final good night a day before his second birthday as per the Jewish calendar.
As the city prepares to mark the 10th anniversary of the Mumbai terror attack, Nariman House is being converted into a living memorial, including one section that will be called the Nariman Light House. Rabbi Israel Kozlovsky, the current head of the Chabad House in Mumbai, told The Indian Express, “We are here to not only talk about the painful past, but we are here to speak about the future, which is bright and full of hope and action. As our leader Rabbi M M Schneerson (OBM) said, we must translate pain into action and tears into growth.”
Moshe’s parents and four other international Jewish visitors were killed in the attack on Nariman House in November 2008. Baby Moshe’s story made global news, his face seen as that of a miracle child, who was saved despite being just inches away from disaster.
An additional highlight in the new Chabad House will be called the Nariman Light House, with the message that a single light can fight darkness. “The Nariman Light House will commemorate all victims of the 26/11 attack at one single place. It will be a place to experience the journey from darkness to light and the aim is for every visitor to feel inspired to spread the word of hope and kindness,” said Rabbi Kozlovsky. On this November 26, the first phase of the Nariman Light House project will be completed with a place dedicated to all victims who fell prey to terror that night. The second phase will highlight the future, which will be spread across the two floors of the building.
According to the Rabbi, the Nariman Light House will be open to all, as a symbol of hope and action. He further said, “Through this project, I want visitors to experience a journey from darkness to light and leave with an inspired heart to continue works of kindness, however small they may be. We believe firmly that many small good deeds sum to a large one and bring in the necessary changes.”
He said amid challenges, the message was to act and do something positive. “We cannot fight terror with AK-47s, but only through deeds of kindness. We as humans need to understand what our role is and contribute to goodness. We as citizens need not be dependent on just the government to bring in change, but take it upon ourselves to bring in positive change,” he said.
The Rabbi said he hoped the Nariman Light House would be a beacon of hope and honour for humanity. Over the years, the Chabad house has not remained a damaged shell of a building, but has converted itself into a vibrant centre of learning and education of Judaism, he said.