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THERE – WAS – AND IS – ANTISEMTISM IN EUROPE, IN RUSSIA. IN UKRAINE. IN AUSTRALIA IN USA – BUT THERE WASNT AND THERE IS NO ANTISEMITISM IN INDIA About 2,01,00,000 results (0.60 seconds) Showing results for THE ONLY PLACE WHERE THERE IS NO ANTI SEMITISM IN THE WORLD IS INDIA Search instead for THE ONLY PLACE WHERE THERE IS NO ANTISEMITICSM IN THE WORLD IS INDIA India’s Jews – Forbesforbes.com › 2007/08/05 › india-jews-antisemitism-ope… Aug 13, 2007 — But in “backward” India, from the beginning, the Jewish communities have not only been free of discrimination but have dominated the … India expresses solidarity with Israel as world leaders gather …deccanherald.com › International Jan 23, 2020 — “India is not only a place where Jews never faced anti-semitism or persecution, it is also a country that provided a safe haven to Jews escaping … History of the Jews in India – Wikipediaen.wikipedia.org › wiki › History_of_the_Jews_in_India The history of the Jews in India reaches back to ancient times. Judaism was one of the first foreign religions to arrive in India in recorded history. Indian Jews are … ‎Jewish groups in India · ‎Cochin Jews · ‎Bene Israel · ‎Notable Jews of Indian… Geography of antisemitism – Wikipediaen.wikipedia.org › wiki › Geography_of_antisemitism This is a list of countries where antisemitic sentiment has been experienced. Contents. 1 Africa. 1.1 Algeria; 1.2 Cameroon; 1.3 Egypt; 1.4 Libya; 1.5 Morocco; 1.6 … India among few countries with no record of anti-Semitism …thehindu.com › News › International Dec 13, 2019 — It is because Indian society is known for its openness and compassion, embodying the core principle of’Vasudaiva Kutumbakam’, meaning the … Once embraced by RSS, anti-Semitism has become a ready …scroll.in › Opinion › Opinion Nov 13, 2018 — Hindu nationalists increasingly use anti-Semitic slurs to target me – and that isn’t surprising. Independent India has developed a strong appetite … Missing: ONLY ‎| Must include: ONLY India Expresses Solidarity with Israel as World … – News18news18.com › india Jan 23, 2020 — India has been home to Jews for hundreds of years with only a few thousand now left in the country. It has four different communities – Bene … Opinion | India Has No History of Anti-Semitism – The New …nytimes.com › 1991/03/18 › l-india-has-no-history-of-ant… Mar 18, 1991 — 17), states that they constitute “a vulnerable minority scattered throughout predominantly Muslim neighborhoods,” and they fear that events in the … Shringla: India among few countries with no record of anti …timesofindia.indiatimes.com › World News › US News Dec 13, 2019 — Addressing the Jewish community, eminent Indian-Americans and Congressional staffers, at a Hanukkah celebrations event, Harsh Vardhan … India has no trace of anti-Semitism, Indian envoy to UN at …zeenews.india.com › India Nov 18, 2020 — India’s envoy to UN TS Tirumurti highlighted India’s pluralistic fabric and framework at the World Jewish Congress. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Next

ITS CALELD HINDUS AND HINDUISM

FOR EXAMPLE : Sassoon was born in Baghdad, where his father, Sassoon (1750-1830),[2] was a wealthy businessman, chief treasurer to the pashas (the governors of Baghdad) from 1781 to 1817, and president (Nasi) of the city’s Jewish community. The family were Iraqi Jews. His mother was Amam Gabbai. After a traditional education in the Hebrew language, Sassoon married Hannah Joseph in 1818. They had two sons and two daughters before she died in 1826. Two years later he married Farha Hyeem (who was born in 1812 and died in 1886). The pair had six sons and three daughters. David Sassoon (seated) and his sons Elias David, Albert (Abdallah) & Sassoon David. Following increasing persecution of Baghdad’s Jews by Dawud Pasha,[citation needed] the family moved to Bombay via Persia. Sassoon was in business in Bombay no later than 1832, originally acting as a middleman between British textile firms and Persian Gulf commodity merchants, subsequently investing in valuable harbour properties. His major competitors were Parsis, whose profits were built on their domination of the Sino-Indian opium trade since the 1820s.[3] When the Treaty of Nanking opened up China to British traders, Sassoon developed his textile operations into a profitable triangular trade: Indian yarn and opium were carried to China, where he bought goods which were sold in Britain, from where he obtained Lancashire cotton products. He sent his son Elias David Sassoon to Canton, where he was the first Jewish trader (with 24 Parsi rivals). In 1845, David Sassoon & Co. opened an office in what would soon become Shanghai’s British concession, and it became the firm’s second hub of operations. In 1844, he set up a branch in Hong Kong, and a year later, he set up his Shanghai branch on The Bund to cash in on the opium trade. It was not until the 1860s that the Sassoons were able to lead the Baghdadi Jewish community in overtaking Parsi dominance.[citation needed] A particular opportunity was given by the American Civil War, during which turmoil American cotton exports from the South declined. Lancashire factories replaced American cotton imports with Sassoon’s Indian cotton. Along with Parsi businessmen such as Sir Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy, David Sassoon continued the trade with China and from the wealth earned there he started his own business of oil. His first mill was named E.D. Sassoon Mills and he became exceedingly prosperous. Later the Sassoons were the largest mill owners and were known as Badshah of the business community of Bombay. Overall there were 17 mills, employing in total some 15,000 to 20,000 slaves and workers. Later, David Sassoon also entered the cotton, fabrics and various other industries on a large scale. David Sassoon, as an Orthodox Jew, continued his Jewish religious observances, observing the Jewish Sabbath throughout his busy life. He was also a member of the Legislative Assembly of the time. He built one of the largest and most beautiful synagogues of India, the Magen David synagogue at Byculla, Bombay. He also built the Ohel David Synagogue of Pune. Today these are well known tourist attractions and form an important part of the cultural heritage of India. Various charity trusts, which continue in existence today, were funded from his private income and named after him and other members of his family. David Sassoon funded monuments and educational institutions in Mumbai. By his enterprise Sassoon Docks at Colaba in the city were built. He soon came to live with his family at a palatial home he reconfigured and named Byculla’s Bungalow or Sans Souci,[4] the former palace of Shin Sangoo. This was later donated to the Parsi Trust and is today’s Masina Hospital. Nearby Rani Bagh (Jijamata Udyann) was also his property and was donated to the Mumbai Municipal Corporation for the construction of the Albert Museum, designed by the most prominent architect of the time. The interior is exactly like the Magen David synagogue and the Ohel David Synagogue of

 

 

David Sassoon

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For the David Sassoon’s son see Sassoon David Sassoon.
For the British fashion designer see David Sassoon (designer).
David Sassoon
David Sassoon.jpg

David Sassoon
Born October 1792

Died November 7, 1864 (aged 72)

Resting place Ohel David Synagogue Complex, Pune
Nationality British
Occupation Businessman
Spouse(s) Hannah Joseph (1818)
Farha Hyeem (1828)
Children From Hanah Joshep:
Albert Sassoon
Elias David Sassoon
+ 1 daughter
From Farha Hyeem:
Sassoon David Sassoon
Arthur Sassoon
Reuben David Sassoon
Aaron Sassoon
Solomon David Sassoon
Frederick David Sassoon
+ 3 Daughters
Parent(s) Saleh Sassoon (1750-1830)
Amam Gabbai

David Sassoon (October 1792 – November 7, 1864)[1] was the treasurer of Baghdad between 1817 and 1829. He became the leader of the Jewish community in Bombay (now Mumbai) after Baghdadi Jews emigrated there.

Life and career[edit]

Sassoon was born in Baghdad, where his father, Sassoon (1750-1830),[2] was a wealthy businessman, chief treasurer to the pashas (the governors of Baghdad) from 1781 to 1817, and president (Nasi) of the city’s Jewish community.

The family were Iraqi Jews. His mother was Amam Gabbai. After a traditional education in the Hebrew language, Sassoon married Hannah Joseph in 1818. They had two sons and two daughters before she died in 1826. Two years later he married Farha Hyeem (who was born in 1812 and died in 1886). The pair had six sons and three daughters.

David Sassoon (seated) and his sons Elias DavidAlbert (Abdallah) & Sassoon David.

Following increasing persecution of Baghdad’s Jews by Dawud Pasha,[citation needed] the family moved to Bombay via Persia. Sassoon was in business in Bombay no later than 1832, originally acting as a middleman between British textile firms and Persian Gulf commodity merchants, subsequently investing in valuable harbour properties. His major competitors were Parsis, whose profits were built on their domination of the Sino-Indian opium trade since the 1820s.[3]

When the Treaty of Nanking opened up China to British traders, Sassoon developed his textile operations into a profitable triangular trade: Indian yarn and opium were carried to China, where he bought goods which were sold in Britain, from where he obtained Lancashire cotton products. He sent his son Elias David Sassoon to Canton, where he was the first Jewish trader (with 24 Parsi rivals). In 1845, David Sassoon & Co. opened an office in what would soon become Shanghai’s British concession, and it became the firm’s second hub of operations.

In 1844, he set up a branch in Hong Kong, and a year later, he set up his Shanghai branch on The Bund to cash in on the opium trade.

It was not until the 1860s that the Sassoons were able to lead the Baghdadi Jewish community in overtaking Parsi dominance.[citation needed] A particular opportunity was given by the American Civil War, during which turmoil American cotton exports from the South declined. Lancashire factories replaced American cotton imports with Sassoon’s Indian cotton.

Along with Parsi businessmen such as Sir Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy, David Sassoon continued the trade with China and from the wealth earned there he started his own business of oil. His first mill was named E.D. Sassoon Mills and he became exceedingly prosperous. Later the Sassoons were the largest mill owners and were known as Badshah of the business community of Bombay. Overall there were 17 mills, employing in total some 15,000 to 20,000 slaves and workers. Later, David Sassoon also entered the cotton, fabrics and various other industries on a large scale.

David Sassoon, as an Orthodox Jew, continued his Jewish religious observances, observing the Jewish Sabbath throughout his busy life. He was also a member of the Legislative Assembly of the time. He built one of the largest and most beautiful synagogues of India, the Magen David synagogue at Byculla, Bombay. He also built the Ohel David Synagogue of Pune. Today these are well known tourist attractions and form an important part of the cultural heritage of India. Various charity trusts, which continue in existence today, were funded from his private income and named after him and other members of his family. David Sassoon funded monuments and educational institutions in Mumbai. By his enterprise Sassoon Docks at Colaba in the city were built.

He soon came to live with his family at a palatial home he reconfigured and named Byculla’s Bungalow or Sans Souci,[4] the former palace of Shin Sangoo. This was later donated to the Parsi Trust and is today’s Masina Hospital. Nearby Rani Bagh (Jijamata Udyann) was also his property and was donated to the Mumbai Municipal Corporation for the construction of the Albert Museum, designed by the most prominent architect of the time. The interior is exactly like the Magen David synagogue and the Ohel David Synagogue of Pune. It has a tall clock tower, the Victoria clock tower.

Legacy[edit]

Tomb of David Sassoon, Lal Deval, Moledina Rd, Pune, India

Sassoon Hospital, Pune in 1860s

Although David Sassoon did not speak English, he became a naturalised British citizen in 1853. He kept the dress and manners of the Baghdadi Jews, but allowed his sons to adopt English manners. His son, Abdullah changed his name to Albert, moved to England, became a Baronet and married into the Rothschild family. All the Sassoons of Europe are said to be[by whom?] descendants of David Sassoon. He built a synagogue in the Fort (area) and another in Byculla, as well as a school, a Mechanics’ Institute, a library and a convalescent home in Pune. David Sassoon was conscious of his role as a leader of the Jewish community in Mumbai. He helped to arouse a sense of Jewish identity among the Bene Israeli and Cochin Jewish communities. The Sassoon Docks (built by his son) and the David Sassoon Library are named after him. For more information about his legacy and relations with the local Bene Israel community see Dr. Shalva Weil’s article.[5]

David Sassoon died in his country house in Pune in 1864. His business interests were inherited by his son Sir Albert Sassoon; Elias David had established a rival firm. His grandson David Solomon Sassoon was a renowned bibliophile.

Some of the prominent Buildings built by David Sasoon and his family are:

They have contributed to the construction of:

U R RIGHT. AND THEN USA DIDNT EVEN EXIST – USA – HAS BEEN EIN EXISTENCE FOR ONLY LIKE LESS THAN 250 YEARS, USA WAS FRMED I THINK N JULY 4 1776 – THATS LIKE LESS THAN 300 YEARS AGO AND HERE IS A JEWISH SYNAGOGE IN INDIA – MORE THAN 800 YEARS AGO The history of the Jews in India reaches back to ancient times.[1][2][3][4] Judaism was one of the first foreign religions to arrive in India in recorded history.[5] Indian Jews are a religious minority of India, but, unlike many parts of the world, have historically lived in India without any instances of anti-Semitism from the local majority populace.[6] The better-established ancient communities have assimilated many local traditions through cultural diffusion.[7] While some Jews state their ancestors arrived in India during the time of the Kingdom of Judah, others identify themselves as descendants of Israel’s Ten Lost Tribes.[8] The oldest of the Indian Jewish communities was in the erstwhile Cochin Kingdom.[2][20] The traditional account is that traders of Judea arrived at Cranganore, an ancient port near Cochin in 562 BC, and that more Jews came as exiles from Israel in the year 70 AD, after the destruction of the Second Temple.[21] 562 BC IS A VEYR ANCIENT PERIOD –


U ARE RIGHT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

History of the Jews in India

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The history of the Jews in India reaches back to ancient times.[1][2][3][4] Judaism was one of the first foreign religions to arrive in India in recorded history.[5] Indian Jews are a religious minority of India, but, unlike many parts of the world, have historically lived in India without any instances of anti-Semitism from the local majority populace.[6] The better-established ancient communities have assimilated many local traditions through cultural diffusion.[7] While some Jews state their ancestors arrived in India during the time of the Kingdom of Judah, others identify themselves as descendants of Israel’s Ten Lost Tribes.[8] It is estimated that India’s Jewish population peaked at around 20,000 in the mid-1940s, and began to rapidly decline due to their emigration to Israel after its creation in 1948.[9]

Jewish groups in India[edit]

Map of Jewish communities in India. Greyed out labels indicate ancient or premodern communities

In addition to Jewish expatriates[10] and recent immigrants, there are seven Jewish groups in India:

  1. The Malabar component of the Cochin Jews, according to Shalva Weil, claim to have arrived in India together with the Hebrew King Solomon‘s merchants. The Cochin Jews settled in Kerala as traders.[2] The fair-complexioned component is of European-Jewish descent, both Ashkenazi and Sephardi.[11][12]
  2. Chennai Jews: The so-called Spanish and Portuguese JewsParadesi Jews and British Jews arrived at Madras during the 16th century. They were diamond businesspeople[13] and of Sephardi and Ashkenazi heritage. Following expulsion from Iberia in 1492 by the Alhambra Decree, a few families of Sephardic Jews eventually made their way to Madras in the 16th century. They maintained trade connections to Europe, and their language skills were useful. Although the Sephardim mostly spoke Ladino (i.e. Spanish or Judeo-Spanish), in India they learned Tamil and Judeo-Malayalam from the Malabar Jews.[14]
  3. Nagercoil Jews: The so-called Syrian JewsMusta’arabi Jews were Arab Jews who arrived at Nagercoil and Kanyakumari District in 52 AD along with the arrival of St. Thomas. Most of them were merchants and had also settled around the town of Thiruvithamcode.[15] By the turn of the 20th century, most of the families made their way to Cochin and eventually migrated to Israel. In their early days, they maintained trade connections to Europe through the nearby ports of Colachal and Thengaipattinam, and their language skills were useful to the Travancore Kings.[16] As historians Rev. Daniel Tyerman and George cited the reason the Jews selecting Nagercoil as their settlement was for the towns salubrious climate and its significant Christian population.[17]
  4. The Jews of Goa: These were Portuguese Jews who fled to Portuguese Goa after the commencement of the Inquisition in Portugal. The community consisted mainly of “New Christians” who were Jews by blood and had converted under the duress of the Inquisition. This group was the target of heavy persecution with the start of the Goan Inquisition, which put on trial famed physician Garcia de Orta, among others.
  5. Another branch of the Bene Israel community resided in Karachi until the Partition of India in 1947, when they fled to India (in particular, to Mumbai).[18] Many of them also moved to Israel. The Jews from the SindhPunjab and Pathan areas are often incorrectly called Bani Israel Jews. The Jewish community who used to reside in other parts of what became Pakistan (such as Lahore or Peshawar) also fled to India in 1947, in a similar manner to the larger Karachi Jewish community.[citation needed]
  6. The Baghdadi Jews arrived in the city of Surat from Iraq (and other Arab states), Iran and Afghanistan about 250 years ago.[when?][3]
  7. The Bnei Menashe meaning “Sons of Manassah” in Hebrew, are Mizo and Kuki tribesmen in Manipur and Mizoram who are recent converts to the modern form of Judaism, but claim ancestry reaching back to one of the lost ten tribes of Israel; specifically, one of the sons of Joseph.[19]
  8. Similarly, the small Telugu speaking group, the Bene Ephraim (meaning “Sons of Ephraim” in Hebrew) also claim ancestry from Ephraim, one of the sons of Joseph and a lost tribe of ancient Israel. Also called “Telugu Jews”, their observance of modern Judaism dates to 1981.

Cochin Jews[edit]

Arrival of the Jewish pilgrims at Cochin, A.D. 68

“Malabarese Jews”, as depicted by the Portuguese in the 16th century Códice Casanatense

The Paradesi Synagogue in Kochi is an active 16th century synagogue

The oldest of the Indian Jewish communities was in the erstwhile Cochin Kingdom.[2][20] The traditional account is that traders of Judea arrived at Cranganore, an ancient port near Cochin in 562 BC, and that more Jews came as exiles from Israel in the year 70 AD, after the destruction of the Second Temple.[21] Many of these Jews’ ancestors passed on the account that they settled in India when the Hebrew King Solomon was in power. This was a time that teak wood, ivory, spices, monkeys, and peacocks were popular in trade in Cochin. There is no specific date or reason mentioned as to why they arrived in India, but Hebrew scholars date it to up to around the early Middle Ages. Cochin is a group of small tropical islands filled with markets and many different cultures such as Dutch, Hindu, Jewish, Portuguese, and British.[22] The distinct Jewish community was called Anjuvannam. The still-functioning synagogue in Mattancherry belongs to the Paradesi Jews, the descendants of Sephardim that were expelled from Spain in 1492,[21] although the Jewish community in Mattancherry adjacent to Fort Cochin had only six remaining members as of 2015.[23]

Central to the history of the Cochin Jews is their close relationship with Indian rulers, and this was eventually codified on a set of copper plates granting the community special privileges. The date of these plates, known as “Sâsanam”,[24] is contentious. The plates themselves provide a date of 379 CE, but in 1925, tradition was setting it as 1069 CE,[25] Joseph Rabban by Bhaskara Ravi Varma, the fourth ruler of Maliban granted the copper plates to the Jews. The plates were inscribed with a message stating that the village of Anjuvannam belonged to the Jews and that they were the rightful lords of Anjuvannam and it should remain theirs and be passed on to their Jewish descendants “so long as the world and moon exist”. This is the earliest document that shows that the Jews were living in India permanently. It is stored in Cochins main synagogue.[26] The Jews settled in Kodungallur (Cranganore) on the Malabar Coast, where they traded peacefully, until 1524. The Jewish leader Rabban was granted the rank of prince over the Jews of Cochin, given the rulership and tax revenue of a pocket principality in Anjuvannam, near Cranganore, and rights to seventy-two “free houses”.[27] The Hindu king gave permission in perpetuity (or, in the more poetic expression of those days, “as long as the world and moon exist”) for Jews to live freely, build synagogues, and own property “without conditions attached”.[28][29] A link back to Rabban, “the king of Shingly” (another name for Cranganore), was a sign of both purity and prestige. Rabban’s descendants maintained this distinct community until a chieftainship dispute broke out between two brothers, one of them named Joseph Azar, in the 16th century. The Jews lived peacefully for over a thousand years in Anjuvannam. After the reign of the Rabban’s, the Jewish people no longer had the protection of the copper plates. Neighboring princes of Anjuvannam intervened and revoked all privileges that the Jewish people were given. In 1524, the Jews were attacked by the Moors brothers (Muslim Community) on a suspicion that they were messing with the pepper trade and the homes and synagogues belonging to them were destroyed. The damage was so extensive that when the Portuguese arrived a few years later, only a small amount of impoverished Jews remained. They remained there for 40 more years only to return to their land of Cochin.[26]

In Mala, Thrissur District, the Malabar Jews have a Synagogue and a cemetery, as well as in Chennamangalam, Parur and Ernakulam.[30] There are at least seven existing synagogues in Kerala, although not serving their original purpose anymore.

Madras Jews[edit]

Plan of Fort St George and the city of Madras in 1726,Shows the “Jews Burying Place” (marked as “b.”), the “Jewish Cemetery Chennai“, Four Brothers Garden and Bartolomeo Rodrigues Tomb

Rabbi Salomon Halevi (last Rabbi of Madras Synagogue) and his wife Rebecca Cohen, Paradesi Jews of Madras

Mr.Cohen his German wife and kids, Paradesi Jews of Madras

Jews also settled in Madras (now Chennai) soon after its founding in 1640.[31] Most of them were coral merchants from Leghorn, the Caribbean, London, and Amsterdam who were of Portuguese origin and belonged to the Henriques De Castro, Franco, Paiva or Porto families.[31]

Jacques (Jaime) de Paiva (Pavia), originally from Amsterdam belonging to Amsterdam Sephardic community, was an early Jewish arrival and the leader of Madras Jewish community. He built the Second Madras Synagogue and Jewish Cemetery Chennai in Peddanaickenpet, which later became the South end of Mint Street.[32]

Jacques (Jaime) de Paiva (Pavia) established good relations with those in power and bought several Golconda diamonds mines to source Golconda diamonds. Through his efforts, Jews were permitted to live within Fort St. George.[33]

De Paiva died in 1687 after a visit to his mines and was buried in the Jewish cemetery he had established in Peddanaickenpet, which later became the north Mint Street.[33][a] In 1670, the Portuguese population in Madras numbered around 3000.[35] Before his death he established “The Colony of Jewish Traders of Madraspatam” with Antonio do Porto, Pedro Pereira and Fernando Mendes Henriques.[33] This enabled more Portuguese Jews, from Leghorn, the Caribbean, London and Amsterdam, to settle in Madras.[citation needed] Coral Merchant Street was named after the Jews’ business.[36]

Three Portuguese Jews were nominated to be aldermen of Madras Corporation.[37] Three – Bartolomeo Rodrigues, Domingo do Porto and Alvaro da Fonseca – also founded the largest trading house in Madras. The large tomb of Rodrigues, who died in Madras in 1692, became a landmark in Peddanaickenpet, but was later destroyed.[38]

Samuel de Castro came to Madras from Curaçao and Salomon Franco came from Leghorn.[33][39]

In 1688, there were three Jewish representatives in the Madras Corporation.[31] Most Jewish settlers resided in the Coral Merchants Street in Muthialpet.[31] They also had a cemetery, called Jewish Cemetery Chennai in the neighbouring Peddanaickenpet.[31]

Bene Israel[edit]

A photo of Marathi Bene Israel family in AlibagBombay Presidency.

Foreign notices of the Bene Israel go back at least to 1768, when Yechezkel Rahabi wrote to a Dutch trading partner that they were widespread in Maharatta Province, and observed two Jewish observances, recital of the Shema and observation of Shabbat rest.[40] They claim that they descend from 14 Jewish men and women, equally divided by gender, who survived the shipwreck of refugees from persecution or political turmoil, and came ashore at Navagaon near Alibag, 20 miles south of Mumbai, some 17 to 19 centuries ago.[40] They were instructed in the rudiments of normative Judaism by Cochin Jews.[40] Their Jewishness is controversial, and initially was not accepted by the Rabbinate in Israel.[40] Since 1964 however they intermarried throughout Israel and are now considered Israeli and Jewish in all respects.[41]

They are divided into sub-castes which do not intermarry: the dark-skinned “Kara” and fair-skinned “Gora.” The latter are believed to be lineal descendants of the shipwreck survivors, while the former are considered to descend from concubinage of a male with local women.[40] They were nicknamed the shanivār telī (“Saturday oil-pressers”) by the local population as they abstained from work on Saturdays. Bene Israel communities and synagogues are situated in Pen, Mumbai, Alibag, Pune and Ahmedabad with smaller communities scattered around India. The largest synagogue in Asia outside Israel is in Pune (Ohel David Synagogue).

Mumbai had a thriving Bene Israel community until the 1950s to 1960s when many families from the community emigrated to the fledgling state of Israel, where they are known as Hodi’im (Indians).[40] The Bene Israel community has risen to many positions of prominence in Israel.[42] In India itself the Bene Israel community has shrunk considerably with many of the old Synagogues falling into disuse.

Unlike many parts of the world, Jews have historically lived in India without any instances of anti-Semitism from the local majority populace, the Hindus.[43] However, Jews were persecuted by the Portuguese during their control of Goa.[44][verification needed]

Bombay/Mumbai[edit]

South Asian Jews and Baghdadi Jews[edit]

Knesset Eliyahoo, a 150-year-old Jewish Synagogue in Fort, MumbaiIndia

The first known Baghdadi Jewish immigrant to India, Joseph Semah, arrived in the port city of Surat in 1730. He and other early immigrants established a synagogue and cemetery in Surat, though most of the city’s Jewish community eventually moved to Bombay (Mumbai), where they established a new synagogue and cemetery. They were traders and quickly became one of the most prosperous communities in the city. As philanthropists, some donated their wealth for public building projects. The Sassoon Docks and David Sassoon Library are some of the famous landmarks still standing today.

The Magen David Synagogue of Kolkata was built in 1884

The synagogue in Surat was eventually razed; the cemetery, though in poor condition, can still be seen on the Katargam-Amroli road. One of the graves within is that of Moseh Tobi, buried in 1769, who was described as ‘ha-Nasi ha-Zaken’ (The Elder Prince) by David Solomon Sassoon in his book A History of the Jews in Baghdad (Simon Wallenburg Press, 2006, ISBN 184356002X).

Baghdadi Jewish populations spread beyond Bombay to other parts of India, with an important community forming in Calcutta (Kolkata). Scions of this community did well in trade (particularly jute and tea), and in later years contributed officers to the army. One, Lt-Gen J. F. R. Jacob PVSM, became state governor of Goa (1998–1999), then Punjab, and later served as administrator of ChandigarhPramila (Esther Victoria Abraham) became the first ever Miss India, in 1947.

Bnei Menashe[edit]

Flag of Bnei Menashe

The Bnei Menashe are a group of more than 9,000 people from the northeastern Indian states of Mizoram and Manipur[19] who practice a form of biblical Judaism and claim descent from one of the Lost Tribes of Israel.[45] They were originally headhunters and animists, and converted to Christianity at the beginning of the 20th century, but began converting to Judaism in the 1970s.[46]

Bene Ephraim[edit]

The Bene Ephraim are a small group of Telugu-speaking Jews in eastern Andhra Pradesh whose recorded observance of Judaism, like that of the Bnei Menashe, is quite recent, dating only to 1991.[47]

There are a few families in Andhra Pradesh who follow Judaism. Many among them follow the customs of Orthodox Jews, like wearing long beards by men and using head coverings (men) and hair coverings (women) all the time.[48]

Delhi Jewry[edit]

Ohel David Synagogue of Pune is the largest active synagogue in India

Judaism in Delhi is primarily focused on the expatriate community who work in Delhi, as well as Israeli diplomats and a small local community. In PaharganjChabad has set up a synagogue and religious center in a backpacker area regularly visited by Israeli tourists.

Today[edit]

The 1921 Census of British India shows 22,000 Jews, of which approximately three quarters were located in the Bombay Presidency.

The majority of Indian Jews have “made Aliyah” (migrated) to Israel since the creation of the modern state in 1948. Over 70,000 Indian Jews now live in Israel (over 1% of Israel’s total population).[citation needed] Of the remaining 5,000, the largest community is concentrated in Mumbai, where 3,500 have stayed over from the over 30,000 Jews registered there in the 1940s, divided into Bene Israel and Baghdadi Jews,[49] though the Baghdadi Jews refused to recognize the B’nei Israel as Jews, and withheld dispensing charity to them for that reason.[40] There are reminders of Jewish localities in Kerala still left such as Synagogues. The majority of Jews from the old British-Indian capital of Calcutta (Kolkata) have also migrated to Israel over the last six decades.

Notable Jews of Indian descent[edit]

Anish Kapoor, sculptor

Sulochana, actress

Nadira, actress

Pramila, actress and former Miss India

See also[edit]

Notes

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