|Mala Synagogue,Mattencherry, Kerala. jobmathew.wordpress.com|
|Mala Synagogue,mattencherry, Kerala. piritofkerala.com.jobmathew.wordpress.com|
Above image: Since 1955, no Jews have lived in the town of Mala and that is when then Synagogue closed. . ...........................
Natural disasters, coupled with persecution by the Moors in the 12th century and later by the Portuguese colonists in the 16th century made the Jewish community move over to the neighborhood of Koch from Kadungallor, Palur and other places. Hence, Kochi and surrounding areas are dotted with many Jewish prayer houses. Unfortunately they have lost their utility, sheen and elegance because Jews living in these early settlements have made Aliyah and have become permanent residents in Israel. Some local folk singers sing Jewish folk songs in Malayalam, though the community is almost lost for ever.
Built in 1000 AD, Mala Synagogue is about 51 kilometers from Mattancherry, Kerala Sate and it is difficult to locate the old structure, though it was renovated in 1909. As other synagogues of this place, this one is also nonfunctional. The Torah, it is believed, was taken to Israel. However, the synagogue' s Tebah, Heckal and many furnishings were either damaged or removed. In 1954 the trustees of Mala Synagogue made a formal agreement with the local Panchayat regarding control of this historical place on condition that it should not be used as a slaughter house, etc. Under the care of the local government the synagogue was used for conducting cultural, educational and communal functions. Now plans are afoot to improve the facade and other parts of the building.
Since 1955, no Jews have lived in the town of Mala and that is when the Synagogue closed the services for good. In the same year 300 Jews left for Israel to settle down there. A Jewish prayer house is operational only when there are 10 plus more members are enrolled with it.
Paradesi Synagogue, Mattancherry:
|Paradesi Synagogue, Mattencherry, India.cochinsyn.co|
Considered as the oldest synagogue in the British Commonwealth, it was built by Samuel Castiel, David Belila, and Joseph Levi in 1568, but in 1662 it was destroyed by the Portuguese and later re-built by the Dutch. The Belgian glass chandeliers and hand painted ceramic tiles from Canton and the colonial structure enhance the beauty of this place located in a legendary area - once known for spice trades.
In the 15th century when the Jews moved over to this place from Kadunkallor, It is believed, many Jewish people also arrived from Portugal and Spain during this time owing to religious persecution there.
|Paradesi Synagogue, Mattencherry, India. |
Paradesi Synagogue, Jewish Quarter, Mattancherry, Kerala.www.alamy.com
|Paradesi Synagogue, Mattencherry, near Kochi.jewsofcochin.blogspot.com|
The synagogue is not fully functional and served as a gathering hall for community events. Visitors have to contact one Elias “Babu” Josephai, the caretaker of the near-by Kadavumbagam Synagogue to visit this synagogue. The government also has a plan to renovate and restore the abandoned Jewish cemetery.