KERALA

‘Chosen people’ in love with God’s Own Country

Members of the Jewish organisation B' nai B'rith are excited to be with an elephant at Kalikotta Palace, Tripunithura, where they interacted with members of the Kochi royal family. –Photo: H. Vibhu

Members of the Jewish organisation B' nai B'rith are excited to be with an elephant at Kalikotta Palace, Tripunithura, where they interacted with members of the Kochi royal family. –Photo: H. Vibhu  

For Mazal Mariaschin, it was a sort of homecoming. Born in Mumbai, she had migrated to the US with her mother, who was born in Kolkata. But she had grown up with stories about India.

Steven Horowitz, an ENT specialist from Chicago was all excited to see an elephant in the front yard of Kalikotta Palace. “We don't get to see them like this back home. Barbara Schinar went a step ahead as she placed a bunch of plantains right in the pachyderm's mouth.

The trio and others in the 20-member group of the Jewish organisation, B'nai B'rith International, who reached here on a three-day visit, were in Tripunithura on Thursday visiting members of the Kochi royal family. A member of the versatile group of professionals, businessmen, executives, called the city of Kochi the most beautiful in India.

It was history of Jewish settlements that brought the group here. The then rulers of Kochi had received Jews with open arms and had allowed them to have a settlement, which still has many remnants of their life here. Daniel S. Mariaschin, Executive Vice President and chief executive officer of B'nai B'rith, said at an interactive session that Kochi was a beacon of tolerance and a lesson to the world for peace and understanding.

The team’s visit would be featured in the magazine brought out by the organisation, which has units in 53 countries.

Mr. Mariaschin said the organisation would try to reopen a unit of B'nai B'rith, which had functioned here till the early ’90s .

David Michaels, who had organised this visit, said that, the team would preserve the memory of this visit in a manner that would inspire more such visits. A team of B'nai B'rith had visited Kochi 13 years ago and had held a photo exhibition and it inspired the present visit.

Mr. Mariaschin, as a token of appreciation of the friendly welcome, gave a gift of the medallion and coins brought out by the Israeli government to commemorate the 150th year of B’nai B’rith, set up in 1843 in New York.

Kocha Varma, founder of the Kochi Royal Family Heritage, welcomed the team.

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