Friday, August 22, 2008

the jews of kerala

aug 22nd, 2008

john "atlanticist, india-hater" astill cannot bear to come out with the actual factual statement: jews were never oppressed by hindus in india. this is the only country out of 148 they lived in that they were never oppressed.

when i was a child, i knew a member of the hallegua family: esther, a professor. she was this white woman with bright red hair, wearing a sari and speaking perfect malayalam, like a native-born malayalee. which, of course, she was. her children have all migrated to israel, not because they were oppressed, but because it was their home.

Aug 14th 2008

YAHEH HALLEGUA is the last Jewish woman of child-bearing age in
Mattancheri. Her cousins Keith and Len are the last eligible bachelors.
But she is not keen on either of them. So within a few decades the
extinction of the 400-year-old Jewish community in the port-village in
India's southern state of Kerala is assured.

Mattancheri is Indian Jewry's most famous settlement. Its pretty
streets of pastel-coloured houses, connected by first-floor passages
and home to the last 12 sari- and sarong-wearing, white-skinned Indian
Jews, are visited by thousands of tourists each year. Its synagogue,
built in 1568, with a floor of blue-and-white Chinese tiles, a carpet
given by Haile Selassie and the frosty Yaheh selling tickets at the
door, stands as an image of religious tolerance. India's Jews have
almost never suffered discrimination, except from European
colonisers--and each other.

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1 comment:

Shivaji's Blog said...

Jewish people have made INCREDIBLE contributions to any society where they have been welcome. I am very very proud that India has always accepted Jews. It is a shame that the Jewish population in India has dwindled. I feel that an important part of India's fabric has been lost.