An endeavour to throw light on Jewish chores

Back to the roots: Elias Josephai during ‘Abhimukham’ at the Kadavumbagham Synagogue on Friday.

Back to the roots: Elias Josephai during ‘Abhimukham’ at the Kadavumbagham Synagogue on Friday.  

‘Little awareness about the traditions of the community’

The centuries old Jewish settlement in the city may have world renown, but there is little awareness about the custom and traditions zealously preserved and followed by the community, according to Elias Josephai, popularly known as Babu, one of the last few Jews left in the city.

“We staunchly follow our rules, and that is why we could retain our history and traditions for centuries,” Mr. Josephai said in ‘Abhimukham’, an endeavour by Sahapedia, an online initiative to revive Indian arts and traditions, at the Kadavumbagham Synagogue at Mather Bazar on Friday.

“There are rules and laws for everything including washing, bathing, and cooking. As far as food is concerned, we do not take meat and milk together. But they can be taken separately after a gap of three hours. Most importantly, the vessels used to store these items should be washed separately,” he said.

Mr. Jospehai is the present custodian of the Kadavumbagam Synagogue. His family left for Israel in the 1970s, but he stayed back.

During ‘Shabbat’, Jews do not work or even cook food. “It is the day of rest. In olden days, there used to be a kerosene stove which is usually warm, and we keep food which was already prepared on it to keep it warm,” he recalled.

The programme was organised as part of the Indian Heritage Walk Festival 2018.

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Printable version | Apr 7, 2020 12:48:24 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/an-endeavour-to-throw-light-on-jewish-chores/article22840327.ece

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