Home > Uncategorized > Jews in India … In black and white – Books – livemint.com

Jews in India … In black and white – Books – livemint.com

Judaism in India is now only a small outpost of the faith. But for Mumbai, which houses a thriving Jewish community of about 5,000, the Jewish population is in decline everywhere in the country, as it has been since the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948. But even so, the significance of India in the history of Judaism is immense.

The reason for this is that while Jews were an embattled and persecuted people for thousands of years, culminating in the tragedy of the Holocaust, India was always a safe haven for Jewish migrants, the first wave of whom are thought to have arrived in India as early as AD 70, after the sacking of Jerusalem by the Romans. Judaism took root in south India and eventually became part of the weave of India’s multi-religious fabric, contributing synagogues and sabbaths to the vast panorama of Indian architecture and ritual.

… in Kerala (there is) now probably irrelevant, truce between the so-called White Jews and Black Jews, adversaries for centuries. The Black Jews, who are of darker complexion and mixed lineage, trace their origins in India back to the days of King Solomon. The White Jews are mostly Jews of European origin, who appeared in the 16th century, fleeing religious persecution. Arriving on the Malabar coast to find a group of older yet foreign Jews in Cochin, they set up their own settlement, prized their racial purity and gradually annexed the centre of Indian Judaism.

Over time, a Jewish apartheid fell into place; marriage, worship and social interaction in an already small community became ghettoized. In the 1940s, there were about 2,000 Jews in Cochin; now there are a hundred or so Blacks and only a dozen elderly Whites. Fernandes finds the mood among the Whites dire, their homes desolate. There is no prospect of a new generation, and they live in the twilight not only of their own lives but of their community’s history. The Blacks are somewhat better off but they, too, are aware that the end is not far.(via In black and white – Books – livemint.com)

Interesting news about Jews in India.

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