” You spread a table for me in full view of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my drink is abundant” (Psalm 23:5)
Moshe Holtzberg is celebrating his bar mitzvah and though his parents won’t be there, the Indian nanny who risked her life to save the two-year-old Jewish boy will be by his side.
On Tuesday, Moshe celebrated the ceremony of Hanachat Tefilin (putting on the tefillin for the first time) during a ceremony in Stony Point, New York, surrounded by family and friends of his parents, Crown Heights info reported. He also helped a U.S. Navy Seal put on tefillin.
He also visited the grave of the late Lubavitcher Rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson, and put on tefillin there, according to the report.
On November 26, 2008, 10 members of Lashkar-e-Taiba, an Islamic terrorist organization based in Pakistan, carried out 12 coordinated shooting and bombing attacks lasting four days across Mumbai. At least 174 people died, including 9 attackers, and more than 300 were wounded. A Chabad House, a facility set up for the spiritual needs of Jewish travelers and residents, was targeted due to its Jewish nature. RabbiGavriel and Rivka Holtzberg were taken hostage along with several other Jews. Sandra Samuel, a Christian maid at the house and the nanny for their 2-year-old son, Moshe, managed to escape with the boy. As the siege began, Samuel locked the doors and hid in a room. She heard Rivka screaming “Sandra, Sandra, help, Sandra.” The gunmen reportedly went door-to-door, searching for targets, so Samuel unlocked her door, but they did not find her. She then ran upstairs to find the Holtzbergs shot and lying on the ground with their son crying over them, so she picked him up and ran to the exit. In an interview after the attack, Samuel said she recited Psalm 23 while running for safety with the baby in her arms.
Though I walk through a valley of deepest darkness, I fear no harm, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff—they comfort me. You spread a table for me in full view of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my drink is abundant. Only goodness and steadfast love shall pursue me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of Hashem for many long years. Psalms 23:4-6
The Holtzbergs and other hostages were reportedly tortured.
Two days after the siege of the house began, Indian security forces seized the house and found the Holtzbergs and six others dead. It was concluded that the Holtzberg’s wife had been killed many hours before, and several of the bodies were covered in a tallit, including Rivka Holtzberg’s, leading witnesses to speculate that the rabbi managed to cover the bodies before he was killed.
The nanny and her charge subsequently moved to Israel where Moshe’s grandparents live. The Israeli Government awarded Samuel a special visa offering immigration status and she became a citizen in 2010. Samuel has stated she will continue to care for Moshe for as long as necessary. Israel was considering honoring her as a Righteous Gentile, the highest Israeli award that may be presented to non-Jews, allowing her to remain in Israel for an extended period of time.
In 2008, the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation, at a special session, unanimously voted to grant Sandra Samuel the Esfira Maiman Women Rescuers Medal in recognition of her bravery. The foundation stated that “Sandra has taught us two lessons of cardinal importance. The first one is that human solidarity is agnostic to race and religion. The second lesson, not less important, is that rescuers are still very much relevant nowadays, as they were more than six decades ago.”
She works for ALEH in Jerusalem and still has a relationship with Moshe.