Mumbai Jewish center whose rabbi was killed in November 2008 terror attacks gets new leader

By Erika Kinetz, AP
Thursday, June 17, 2010

Mumbai center targeted in ‘08 siege gets new rabbi

MUMBAI, India — An Israeli couple will take charge of Mumbai’s Chabad House, a Jewish community center that has been without a permanent rabbi since the previous leader was killed in the November 2008 terror attacks, a Chabad official said Thursday.

Rabbi Avraham Berkowitz, who heads the Chabad Mumbai Relief Fund, said the new couple will replace Gavriel and Rivkah Holtzberg, who were among the six murdered during a spasm of violence that left the center scarred with bullet holes and grenade blasts.

Their infant son, Moshe, escaped in the arms of his nanny. In all, 166 people across the city were killed in the rampage.

Rabbi Chanoch Gechman and his wife, Leiky, who have been making trips to Mumbai since 2006, will move to the Indian financial capital within a few weeks, the Chabad Lubavitch group said on its website.

Gechman, 25, was a student of Gavriel Holtzberg.

Mumbai’s Chabad House, part of an international network run by the Orthodox Chabad Lubavitch movement, served as a spiritual oasis, hostel and kosher food source for travelers. It also offered religious instruction to Mumbai’s tiny community of Jews, who settled here 2,000 years ago.

It has been shuttered since the November 2008 attack, but members of the Chabad community have continued to gather at another, undisclosed location.



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