The Christian Nanny Who Saved a Jewish Child in India

The Fellowship  |  July 13, 2018

Bibi walking alongside a woman and a young boy.
The Christian Nanny Who Saved a Jewish Child in India

Sandra Samuel

Age: 54

Known for: Saving the life of a young Jewish boy during the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.

About him: An Indian Christian, Sandra had been living in the Chabad House in Mumbai and working for Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife Rivka, the center’s directors. Sandra had cared for the couple’s son Moshe since he was born, 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 was to strike that same year.

On November 26, 2008, radical Islamist terrorists began carrying out extensive attacks across Mumbai. One of the places they struck was the Chabad House. The terrorists entered and began shooting everone inside. Sandra was locked 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. The terrorists were still inside shooting, so Sandra grabbed little Moshe and ran from the building, saving the boy who was now an orphan.

After the attack, it was decided Moshe should return to Israel, where his parents were from. It was also insisted that 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.”