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Recording the past and present of Kochi Jews

Ignatius Pereira


The documentation aims at connecting Israelis to the common Jewish heritage.


KOLLAM: The Jerusalem-based Zalman Shazar Centre has documented the history of the Jewish Diaspora and the synagogues in Ernakulam and Thrissur.

The project was completed by a 30-member delegation which was in Kochi since February 12.

Elias Josephai, member of the Kochi Jewish community, told The Hindu that a brief of the documentation would be presented at the Thekkumbhagam synagogue in Ernakulam at 6 p.m. on Tuesday. The programme would be inaugurated by Consul General of Israel in Mumbai Orna Sangiv.

The project, part of the ‘Journey into the Jewish Heritage’ programme of the Avi Chai Foundation, was undertaken in association with the History Department of UC College, Aluva.

Covering the past and the present of the Jews in Kochi, the project intends to acquaint and connect Israelis to their common Jewish heritage by studying and recording Jewish historical sites connected with the Diaspora.

Mr. Josephai said the project targets spreading Jewish historical consciousness by making the treasures of Jewish history available to the public. Documentation of the Jewish Diaspora in Turkey, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Greece has been completed.

He said that 38 members of the Jewish community live in Kochi. The synagogues being documented are at Mala, North Paravur, Chenamangalam, two in Ernakulam and two in Mattancherry.

One of the synagogues in Mattancherry is in the hands of a person who is not from the faith and it is being used as a godown, Mr. Josephai said.

A five-minute presentation on each synagogue will be made at Tuesday’s programme. The detailed presentation of the documentation will be held in Jerusalem two months from now. A world telecast will also be made.

Kerala Jewish Association president Isaac Joshua will present mementos to the members of the visiting delegation at the programme.

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