More Jews troop in to keep a tradition alive

Shabbat service at Kadavumbhagam synagogue was revived last year after 45 years

October 21, 2017 11:13 pm | Updated June 12, 2021 02:14 pm IST - KOLLAM :

 The prayer hall of the Kadavumbhagam synagogue on the Ernakulam Market Road.

The prayer hall of the Kadavumbhagam synagogue on the Ernakulam Market Road.

More Jewish groups from Israel, including an orthodox group, will be arriving at the 900-year-old Kadavumbhagam synagogue in Ernakulam to take forward the Shabbat service that was revived there after a gap of 45 years by the visit of one group last year.

Synagogue trustee Elias Josephai, who was here on Friday, said three more Jewish groups would arrive in Kochi for the purpose in the next couple of months.

From New York

The first group, comprising 41 persons, would arrive on November 7. This will be followed by the visit of 50 students from the community from New York. The orthodox group would reach here in February.

The Kadavumbhagam synagogue had been lying in neglect for more than four decades, mainly because a good number of its members had migrated to Israel, Mr. Josephai said.

Also, the synagogue had donated its sacred Torah scrolls in leather parchment years ago to a museum in Israel. Without the scrolls and without a minimum number of ten adult males the Shabbat services cannot be performed.

The Jewish groups that arrive will be carrying the Torah. The Jewish Shabbat (day of rest) begins on Friday evening and concludes on Saturday evening. For conducting the services, Mr. Josephai has renovated the synagogue and restored its grandeur.

Mr. Josephai said the Kadavaumbhagam synagogue is believed to have been built in the era of the Muziris. It was destroyed in 1105 by a Cheraman king. About 1,000 Jews who managed to escape took asylum in Chennamangalam and later to North Paravur where the built a Jewish town, he said.

The Kadavumbhagam synagogue was later reconstructed in 1200 and renovated in the 1700s. In 1800, the synagogue started a school attached to it and the institute was aided by the Cochin kings till 1948. The school does not exist now.

Top News Today

Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.