The Christian Nanny Who Saved a Jewish Child from Terror

The Fellowship  |  March 2, 2021

Nanny Sandra Samuel with PM Netanyahu
PM Netanyahu, Moshe Holtzberg & Sandra Samuel at Chabad House in Mumbai

A Christian nanny from India, Sandra Samuel saved the life of a young Jewish boy during the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, truly an Advocate and Ally of the Jewish people.

An Indian Christian, Sandra lived in the Chabad House in Mumbai and worked for Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife Rivka, the center’s directors. Sandra cared for the couple’s son Moshe since his birth, and called Moshe’s parents “my rabbi” and “my Rivki.” Earlier in 2008, Sandra’s husband died, leaving her alone with her sons Martin and Jackson. But greater tragedy struck that same year.

On November 26, 2008, radical Islamist terrorists began carrying out extensive attacks across Mumbai, including the Chabad House. The terrorists entered and began shooting everyone inside. Sandra had locked herself in the laundry room when she hear two-year-old Moshe crying and calling her name. Running upstairs, Sandra found the boy’s parents already shot, with the youngster crying beside them, covered in their blood. With the terrorists still inside shooting, Sandra grabbed little Moshe and ran from the building, saving the now-orphaned boy.

After the attack, Moshe returned to Israel, where his parents were from, with Sandra be allowed to come with him. Even though Sandra had no passport, the Israeli government granted her a special visa offering immigration status, and she and Moshe left for the Holy Land shortly after his parents’ funeral. They now live in the city of Afula with Moshe’s grandparents, with the boy’s nanny being given permanent resident status and honorary Israeli citizenship.

Moshe’s survival was a miracle, as was Sandra’s even being there to help save him. She revealed that she was not supposed to be at the Chabad House the night of the attacks, but that “God kept me there because God already knew what would happen.”