Moshe Holtzberg, the Israeli child who was just two years old when he lost his parents in the 2008 Mumbai terror attack, is looking forward to see Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who in a special gesture, will meet the boy during his visit here next week. Modi’s decision to meet Moshe, now 10, has been welcomed by the child’s family which said that the gesture made them realise that Indians share their pain and they have not been forgotten. Modi will also meet Moshe’s Indian nanny Sandra Samuels, who managed to escape with him from the Nariman House which came under attack by Pakistan-based LeT terrorists, and his grandparents Shimon and Yehudit Rosenberg. “I could not believe my ears when I got a call from the Indian envoy saying that Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants to meet us. My immediate thoughts were that we have not been forgotten and that Indians share our pain,” Rabbi Shimon Rosenberg told PTI. “I am deeply moved and can’t explain how good I feel at this gesture from the Indian Prime Minister. We are looking forward to that opportunity,” Rabbi Rosenberg added.
Asked what he would tell Modi when he meets him, Rosenberg said that he wanted to do his grandson’s ‘bar mitvah’, a ceremony performed for Jewish boys at the age of 13 which Indian scholars in Israel compare with upnayana or the thread ceremony, in Mumbai for which he would invite Modi. “We feel we have a home in Mumbai and that we have a family there. I would like to do Moshe’s bar mitvah there in two and a half years and will ask Prime Minister Modi to attend it,” the Rabbi said. Moshe was barely two years old when his parents Rivka and Gavriel Holtzberg, serving as emissaries of Chabad in Mumbai, were killed along with six others by LeT terrorists at the Nariman House, also popularly known as Chabad House, in Mumbai attacks in 2008 in which 166 people were killed. The Nariman House was one of the five places targeted by the terrorists.
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Moshe now goes to a yeshiva (religious school). He is still very attached to his nanny Sandra who works in Jerusalem and joins the family over the weekends. “He is always overjoyed when he sees her and plays with her the whole weekend,” the grandfather said. Israel honoured Sandra, who risked her own life to save then two-year-old Moshe from the clutches of death, with an honorary citizenship in September, 2010. She works with young kids in Jerusalem during the week and joins the Rosenberg family in the north during the weekends, Shimon said. Sources said that the time and venue of the meeting with Modi on July 5 has not been decided yet but it will happen in Jerusalem.