Tuesday, October 22, 2013

India in the Negev -- the synagogue

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In the previous post we arrived at a small moshav/village in the Negev called Nevatim.
I promised to show you more than just the food. 

  (Photo credit: CC BY Wouter Hagens/Wikipedia public domain) 

But first I want you to see this top photo of the Paradesi synagogue in Cochin (or Kochi), India.
The Times of Israel, in its series "See in Cochin," says

This synagogue was first built in 1568 and is the oldest synagogue in India as well as the entire British Commonwealth. The interior is beautifully decorated with clear influence taken from the Indian trade routes of Europe, China, and the Middle East. This foreign influence is a direct reflection of the varying origins of the Jews of Kochi.
The Paradesi Synagogue is one of seven in Kochi, however it is the only one still functioning. The original synagogue was destroyed by the Portuguese in the 17th century and later rebuilt with the help of the Dutch.
I might add that only a few dozen Jews remain today in Cochin.
The rest immigrated to Israel, beginning in the early 1950s.
Wiki says Israel has over 70,000 Indian Jews; and our guide, Miri, said 6,000 Cochin Jews now live in Israel (counting those who "married in").


 Now look at the synagogue built by the Cochin Jews of Nevatim in Israel!
The same almost!

Standing by the bima is Mira, who welcomed our Meitar group and guided us in their Cochin Jewish Heritage Center and in their synagogue.


Here is the Torah ark (aron kodesh).


The view from up in the women's gallery.


Close-up of the doors of the holy ark.
(All my photos can be much enlarged with two clicks.)
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In the next few days I will take you upstairs to where the women pray and tell you about a Cochin tradition that will surprise you.
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Meanwhile, if you want more information se
 http://cochinsyn.com/page-cochin-heritage-ctr.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cochin_jews
 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Jews_in_India
 http://www.timesofisrael.com/the-jewish-planet/cochin/locations/jewish-heritage-tour/
 http://www.cochin.org.uk/tourist-attractions/jewish-synagogue.html
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UPDATE Nov.16, 2013:  Prince Charles and his wife spent his 65th birthday today being welcomed in the Pardesi synagogue in Cochin.  See the video.

(Linking to inSPIREd Sunday meme.)
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16 comments:

Cloudia said...

most beautiful and inspiring post!



ALOHA from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral
=^..^= <3

Nonnie said...

India is a country I never expected to have Jewish citizens, nevermind such a stunning synagogue! Thank you for educating me with such magnificent photos.

Hilda said...

Very easy to see the Indian influence. I think this is the most elaborate synagogue you've shared. Fabulous.

Peter said...

A beautiful synagogue and an interesting story.

Hels said...

I have seen many synagogues in India and although some were a bit time worn, they had a special look, inside and out.

Normally "copies" don't work. But Nevatim did well.

Jael said...

That synagogue looks beautiful and so colourful:)

VP said...

Unusual and colorful temple!

William Kendall said...

Spectacular shots! I wouldn't have thought of India as a place of refuge for Jews between the expulsion and the post war years...

cieldequimper said...

It's magnificent and surprising!

toby said...

Gorgeous - I *love* the detail on the aron kodesh! Wow. Thanks for sharing these with us at WWDD!

Lesley said...

Sometimes when cultural influences blend they become magical. Like this.

Indrani said...

It was wonderful reading and knowing about all this. Interesting to see the synagogue again. I realized I hardly retained anything in my memory. Photographs help.

Thank you for letting me know about this series on your visit.

BlossomFlowerGirl said...

In spite of the glitz and the glamour, it all looks so very peaceful.

Bill Nicholls said...

That is quite beautiful inside.

Tom said...

I find it interesting how religions move around the world and are established. Now if we can only understand each other and celebrate differences. Have a peaceful day.

Jim said...

Beautiful