Thanksgiving 2008. That Thanksgiving we were glued to the computer for days, watching online the grueling days of the unfolding saga of the terror attacks in Mumbai India, which culminated in a vicious attack on the Chabad House, known as “Nariman House”, where Rabbi Gabi and Rivky Holzberg were murdered in their home, along with all the guests there. They were legendary hosts, they were tremendously dedicated. Much has since been said about their hospitality and devotion, their welcome and warmth. The Jewish world, the state of Israel, felt that this was not an attack on one Chabad family’s home, but an attack on the entire Jewish people
The nanny at Nariman House named Sandra Samuel (with help from the cook – pictured holding the crying boy at his parents funeral) helped rescue the 2-year-old baby Moshe Holtzberg, spiriting him away from the terror attack and hostage crisis, saving his life. The images of Sandra emerging from the house with the baby boy captured the hearts of all of India and around the world. We all cried along with Moshe. It was one family’s tragic terrible loss that reverberated around the world.
July 2017: India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits Israel, and aside for all the officialdom and dealmaking made time to visit Moshe Holtzberg who is being raised by his maternal grandparents in Afula Israel. Mr. Modi told Moshe that in the future when Netanyahu will make a reciprocal trip to India, Moshe should come along to visit his native India.
January 2018. Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu visits India on an official state visit to continue the strengthening of ties between the two countries. And he brings Moshe along with him. They toured the Nariman House where Moshe was born and raised as a toddler and where his parents were brutally murdered by terrorists. At the doorway of his old bedroom the nanny Sandra (who rescued Moshe in 2008 and accompanied him to Israel) found the height markings by Moshe’s late mother Rivka. So Bibi Netanyahu has Moshe stand by the same doorpost again and marks a line on the wall where his height stands today. And above that line Bibi writes: “Moshe ben Am Yisrael – Moshe the son of the Jewish People.”
Indeed, this description is true of each of us! Yes, we are children of our parents, and we each have our own lives that we lead and things we keep busy with, but we ought to remember that we all are: the sons and daughters of the Jewish people. We carry a legacy, each of us represents all of us.
The Lubavitcher Rebbe (whose anniversary of leadership Chabad celebrates today, on Yud – the 10th of – Shvat) was a big proponent of this. His public letters would be addressed to: “The Sons and Daughters of the Jewish People, wherever they may be.” It was how the Rebbe saw each Jew.
This video is one vivid memory of mine, of the Rebbe saying something along these lines. It was Lag B’Omer of 1987, one year after my Bar-Mitzvah. Chabad would make a huge colorful parade closing off Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn, with floats and banners and lots of Jewish themes. The Rebbe would come out of his “770” synagogue to a platform and address the crowd and also review the marchers and floats. See this 1-minute “Last but not Least!” video clip of how the Rebbe referred to the children at the parade: “the boys and the girls… sons of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, daughters of Sara, Rivka, Rachel and Leah!”