Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Moishe Holtzberg of Mumbai

The two-year-old, in Israel now after his parents were gunned down last week, evokes tears and stirs a childhood memory.

One day when I was ten, in a Bronx park, a band of kids from another neighborhood suddenly attacked half a dozen of us. In the melee, I was pinned against a tree by a bigger boy. He held me with one hand and kept driving a fist at my head as hard and fast as he could. I warded off most of the blows with my arms, but I couldn’t take my eyes off his furious face. While struggling to escape, I was transfixed by a rage I had never seen before--it was like being caught in a storm.

When it was over, I asked an older boy from our neighborhood why.

"They hate us because we're Jews," he said. "They say we killed Christ."

"Did we?"

"How the hell should I know? It happened a million years ago."

From then on, I lived in a world among those who despised people like me enough to inspire special words for our slaughter--pogrom, genocide, Holocaust--and by those with euphemisms for killing the spirit, if not the body: “restricted” and “gentlemen’s agreement,” and those on the streets and in barracks where the expressions were raw but honest--kike, sheenie, Hebe.

They made it clear I belonged to a people fated to be despised and driven, their names their crime, the shape of their noses their destiny. Faced with such hatred of a religion I could never feel in my heart, it would have been unthinkable to stop being a Jew or calling myself one.

Last week in Mumbai, the killers were apparently Muslims motivated by murderous hatred of Hindus, but they took the time for a detour to slaughter Jews in a Hasidic headquarters. An Indian nanny saved Moishe as his parents Gavriel and Rivka died.

The boy is in a village near Tel Aviv now, where during a memorial service, a rabbi told him, "You don't have a mother who will hug you and kiss you. You are the child of all Israel."

As he grows up, someone will have to explain to him why his parents died.


Anonymous said...

God Bless that Indian lady who saved Moishe's life. I'm certain that she risked her own life saving this baby and gave no thought for herself in those tragic moments after the attack. I truly hope she does get the media attention she so richly deserves. In today's phony world, people long to hear about selfless acts of kindness such as hers. These are things that everyone knows rises to the level of righteousness. These selfless acts tug on God's heart string and are so noted in heaven. May God Bless everyone in Mumbai and especially this woman who gave so much of herself to save this baby's life.

Anonymous said...

I have another comment. People who think Jews killed Christ are missing the point and cannot have any hope of salvation in a Christian sense. In other words, IMO, it is very ironic these same people, who call themselves Christian, are the same ones that oftentimes will sling this thoughtless accusation toward Jews. This is because, according to the Jesus' own words in the new testament, no one took His life from Him. No one has that power. He gave his life freely on the cross so that the payment for the world's sins could be made.
Some people won't like this statement, but the truth is simply that, if you want to know who killed Christ, then go look in mirror. We all did. That is the crux of Christianity and to be Christian, IMO, is to understand this. Hence, that is why i say, to blame Jews with the death of Jesus is to miss salvation altogether.

Anjelina said...

Try their hard these beast terrorist can never win he war. I know it was their croocked India to kill innocent people of Nariman House of Mumbai>. But those whom God save, no one can harm. The time is to unite the world and fight against terrorism.