|Interior. Magen David Synagogue, Byculla, Mumbai, India.atlasobscura.com|
|Magen David Synagogue, Byculla, Mumbai, India www.ijn.com/|
Established way back in 1864 in Byculla, a suburb of Bombay (now Mumbai), the orthodox Sephardi Synagogue called Magen David Synagogue is one of the oldest places of worship for Baghdadi Jews who faced horrible hardship and persecution when the governor and Wali of Baghdad Dawud Pasha was at the
|Magen David Synagogue, Byculla, Mumbai, India atlasobscura.com|
|Magen David Synagogue, Mumbai, Indiatimesofisrael.com|
|old image.Magen David Synagogue, Mumbai, India atlasobscura.com|
It is one of the functional synagogues in India, though lots of Indian Jews moved over to Israel. In this bright blue colored place of worship daily morning services, Sabbath and Sabbath morning prayers are still being conducted and a Shulchan breakfast (non-denominational) is served after. The synagogue is open to all religions; however, members of the community are primarily Bene-Israel, Cochini or Baghdadi Jewish. The latter landed in India roughly 280 years ago.
This recently renovated synagogue with refurbished brightly lit interior and air-conditioned prayer hall sports a new look and now has a fairly large number of Bene Israel worshipers but hardly any Baghdadi Jews. The synagogue is well-preserved with
a raised platform - the taybah, from which the priest will conduct the prayer service at 6.30 p.m, holy scrolls.The Rabbai from Israel needs at least 10 members to conduct the service and all of them wear the head-gear - Kippah.
Many of the Jews in India had moved with their families to Israel for better prospects, but some of them felt friendless and disoriented in the new environment, and some returned to Mumbai after a brief stay there. Like others, life is tough for them to start from the scratch in a strange foreign land. Unlike Mumbai Jews, the Cochin Jews have a historical legacy and were successful traders in Kerala.
|Exterior of Knesset Eliyahoo Synagogueen.wikipedia.org|
|Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagoge in Mumbai (Bombay) .pinterest.com|
02. As for the Konkan coast, the Bene Israel community, Bombay’s Marathi-speaking Jewry, once formed the largest community in 1951 with 20,000 strong members. But in trading and business, Baghdadi Jews established themselves well having better contact with the English. Most of them emigrated and got assimilated with western culture, but many retaining their Indian roots - the place that gave them the wealth and status in the society.
04. Now Jews are officially recognized as a minority community by India’s government.
05. But Mumbai’s oldest synagogue is the 230-year-old Gate of Mercy Synagogue. Also known as Shaar-Ha-Rahamin, it was built in 1796 by Samuel Ezekiel Divekar, a Bene Isreaeli. The Divekar brothers came to India as soldiers in the East India Company. Once they were captured by Tipu Sultan during Angelo Mysore Wars. Upon release, they settled in Bombay.