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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Nariman House: Caught in court battle

The father of slain Chabad Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg says Chabad is stealing millions of dollars donated to rebuild Nariman House and care for his tiny grandson. Chabad denies this. The dispute became public when Chabad first sued Rabbi Holtzberg's representative in Mumbai to stop repairs on Nariman House. Holtzberg counter-sued, alleging embezzlement by Chabad leaders.

Mumbai: In stark contrast to its dusty surroundings, the High Court Receiver's notice stands out at the Chabad House, better known as Nariman House, an emblem of the 26/11 attack.

But the property now finds itself caught in a bitter legal battle within the Jewish community.

Rabbi Nachman Holtzberg, whose son Rabbi Gabriel and daughter-in-law Rivka were brutally killed in the attack, has accused Chabad of India Trust of trying to grab the property as well as millions of dollars raised worldwide to renovate and reopen it.

The allegations came after the Chabad of India Trust dragged Eliran Russo, holder of Rabbi Holtzberg's power of attorney, to court.

Holtzberg says in the capacity of a lifetime trustee of Nariman House, in 2007, he undertook its renovation with his own money. The repairs were overseen by Eliran Russo who holds his power of attorney.

Holtzberg has also alleged that most of the money collected for the cause of Nariman House and collected in Baby Moshe's name, was never released by the Chabad of India Trust.

In October this year, the Chabad of India Trust moved court and got the renovation halted arguing Russo is not a trustee and hence cannot be an overseer, spilling the dispute in public domain.

Rivka and Gabriel's son, Moshe is being raised by Rivka's parents in Afula in Israel in the care of the heroic nanny Sandra who saved him.

They dream to see Moshe return as Rabbi to the same Nariman House, his parents so lovingly developed as a community centre.

Chabad Authorities have denied all charges. They say a large portion of the funds is being sent for Baby Moshe's welfare and a significant amount is being spent on repairing Nariman House.

When work on the restoration started, the focus was to get Nariman House ready in time for the second anniversary.

But as Baby Moshe's home gets caught in an unfortunate crossfire, it is clear it's going to miss its deadline, as all restoration work has come to a complete standstill.


  1. "Chabad Authorities... say a large portion of the funds is being sent for Baby Moshe’s welfare and a significant amount is being spent on repairing Nariman House."
    It is exactly this lack of transparency which repeatedly lands Chabad in hot water. We live in a cynical age born, in part, by repeatedly experiencing the dishonesty of people whom we believed - or expected - to be beyond reproach.
    Let Chabad say exactly how the money is being used

  2. How come they are not going to Din Torah??
    where are all the Satmer bashers???!!!!!

  3. This is a sad story. it seems the Holztberg family has been manipulated by Eliran Russo, an Israeli, not a rabbi, who thinks he should be running things in Mumbai. He is making the claims in court not Holtzberg.

    The Rosenberg Family in Afula, parents of Rivkie, are taking care of the orphan are standing on the sidelines, not willing to be part of this circus Russo is orchestrating.Russo has used the Holtzberg family in great grief for his own purposes..

    Russo is putting people at risk, wanting to use the present building without proper security. There are very grave issues of security in India. Operations there must be undertaken with proper procedures.

    Chabad has set up a trust fund for the child who has been promised when he grows can take his fathers positions. In the meanwhile Chabad had Rabbinical Students in Mumbai until the recent arrival of the Shliach in his wife. They are operating from a secure location.

  4. Oh boy does this just add tons of salt to an forever open and deep wound... How sad that this has to happen in a situation where - if there was ever a place to show an extra dose of unity - it is precisely there, and now we have a legal battle where quite frankly i'm shocked that a battle like this would take place between two chabad chasidim (shluchim) no less.....

    I'm not part of chabad and this pains me terribly... Hashem yazor.

  5. How sad and tragic for the Mumbai kedoshim that people are cynically using their death for their own financial advantage.