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Orphan of New York Rabbi and Wife Killed in Mumbai Attacks Leaves India

The 2-year-old orphan found drenched in the blood of his parents at the besieged Jewish center in Mumbai left India on Monday on an Israeli Air Force jet, accompanied by the Indian woman who rescued him.

Moshe Holtzberg's parents, Rabbi Gavriel Noach Holtzberg and his wife, Rivka, ran the headquarters of the ultra-Orthodox Chabad Lubavitch movement in Mumbai — one of 10 targets besieged by gunman over the 60-hour rampage.

During the attack Thursday, Sandra Samuel, a nanny who worked there for years, had locked herself in a laundry room when she heard Rivkah screaming for her to help. Then the screaming stopped, and it was quiet, said Robert Katz, a New York-based fund-raiser for an Israeli orphanage founded by the boy's family.

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Samuel cracked open the door of her hiding place and saw a deserted staircase. She ran up one flight and saw the rabbi and his wife, covered in blood and shot to death. The child was crying beside his parents' bodies, his pants drenched in blood.

She snatched the boy, bolted down the stairs and out of the building.

"She's been there with him throughout," Katz said.

Six civilians were killed in the center — all of them Jewish and four of them Israeli, Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Andy David said. In all, more than 170 died in attacks on 10 targets across the Indian city.

Moshe was accompanied on the trip to Israel by his maternal grandparents, Yehudit and Shimon Rosenberg, who were reunited with their grandson when they arrived in Mumbai on Friday.

"It was pure raw emotion, tears of joy, tears of sorrow, incredible emotion, understandably out of control," said Katz.

Asked about Moshe's condition, he said: "I don't know that he can comprehend or that he will remember seeing his parents shot in cold blood."

Before the child's departure, dozens gathered at a synagogue in Mumbai for a memorial service for the Jews slain at the Chabad center. During the service, Moshe burst into tears and called out "Ima," Hebrew for "mother."

Weeping, Shimon Rosenberg delivered a eulogy for his daughter and son-in-law, reciting the Hebrew phrases from the Book of Job: "The Lord giveth. The Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord."

Moshe's father was a dual American-Israeli citizen and his mother was Israeli. The couple lived in Israel and Brooklyn before they moved to Mumbai in 2003.

Samuel, an Indian resident, will live with Moshe in Israel "so at least he has someone he knows and recognizes and loves," said Katz.

Though Samuel has no passport or papers, Moshe's grand-uncle, Rabbi Yitzchak David Grossman, helped arrange for her to get a visa to Israel. In a sad coincidence, Grossman is founder of the Migdal Ohr, which says it is Israel's largest facility for orphaned and disadvantaged children.

The Israeli jet that carried Moshe and Samuel also carried the remains of his parents and the others killed at the Chabad House, the Israeli Foreign Ministry said.

Government officials planned a small ceremony upon the plane's arrival.

"There are going to be thousands of people at this funeral," said Katz, executive vice president of Migdal Ohr's fundraising arm in New York. "This couple wasn't living in the West Bank. They weren't settlers. They weren't occupying anyone's land. They were killed because they were Jews, simple and plain."

The toddler has one older sibling who has Tay-Sachs, a genetic disorder particularly prevalent in Jews of Eastern European origin. He is permanently hospitalized in Israel, Katz said. The couple's first-born child died of Tay-Sachs.