Kerala

More Jews troop in to keep a tradition alive

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

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

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

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.

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Printable version | May 28, 2020 7:38:50 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/more-jews-troop-in-to-keep-a-tradition-alive/article19898364.ece

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