Sunday, October 27, 2013

Honoring the Torah, the elder, and the females

Here is more from our visit to the Cochin Jewish Heritage Center in Nevatim.
(Please see my last few posts for more about the Jews of India.)

"Torah case adorned with chains (tali or niyali) and Torah crown.
Parur and Ernakulam,
late 19th - early 20th century.
Case: wood covered with silver sheet.
Crown and chain: silver repousse."

"In honor of [the Simchat Torah holiday], a manara (elevated platform covered with a canopy and decorated with Torah ark curtains) is erected in the synagogue, upon which the Torah scrolls are placed."

 (Quotations are copied from the museum's signage.)

"The common practice of the community was to circle around the Torah ark seven times. . . .
The circling around was attended by songs from the Kolas, the songbook of the Cochin Jews, and by dancing before the Torah.
. . . The women participated more actively in this holiday than in others and even came downstairs to kiss the Torah.  The girls, moreover, were permitted to join in the Shevah Hakefot [the circling] alongside the boys.
. . .
At the conclusion of the day, all members of the community escorted the eldest member to his home, whereupon they received his blessing and then continued in the dancing and celebration."
Miri, our wonderful guide at the Heritage Center, said they still do all these in Nevatim, their moshav in the Negev where the museum is located.


VP said...

Considered the rest this looks almost plain!

Dina said...

VP, I see your point. But remember it is just an exhibit in the dimly lit little museum and is not in its natural place.

William Kendall said...

Something completely outside of my cultural background, but fascinating, Dina!

crystal said...

I like the chains on the crown :)

Reading the wikipedia article on "Cochin Jews" ... interesting!

Suzanne said...

Lovely. I'm particularly liking the beautiful fabrics that look very Indian. The Torah, of course, is beautiful too.

cieldequimper said...

The Torah is amazing.

Indrani said...

I am learning more through this.
Great shots!