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September 09, 1966 - Image 22

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1966-09-09

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

22—Friday, September 9, 1966


Mark 400th Anniversary of Synagogue
in Cochin; Malabar Jewry Dwindling


Israel Bond VIP,- Bob Lurk, to Talk at 3 Receptions

Robert Lurie, nationally known
communal leader, will be guest
speaker at three pre-high Holy
Day leadership receptions on be-
half of Israel Bonds.
Mr. and Mrs. Max Stollman will
host one on behalf of Young Israel
of Oak-Woods 8:30 p.m. Sept. 19

transfer their assets to Israel. But
they are also hesitant to emigrate
NEW DELHI—Shabdai Samuel because they don't want to break
Koder, president of the South In- off their connections with the land in their home, 12870 Burton, Oak
dian Jewish Association, recently of their ancestors.
Uhdoubtedly the - Jews of Cochin
unfolded a plan to celebrate, in
On Sept. 20 at 8:30 p.m., Mr. and
1968, the 400th anniversary of the have become a miscroscopic mi-
building of the Cochin Synagogue nority of India. In the Kerala State Mrs. Norman Cottler will host an-
in the State of Kerala-India. This of India with a population of 18,- other in advance of the Adas Sha-
synagogue has become a tourist at- 000,000, the number of Jews is now lom Israel Bond High Holy Day
traction and thousands of tourists, only 300. But these rapidly dwin- Appeal, in their home, 17181 Sher-
foreigners and Indians, non-Jews dling numbers have created prob- villa, Southfield.
and Jews visit it every year. Along lems.
with this celebration it is also pro-
A few months ago a well-to-do
posed that 1900 years of happy Jew from Parur town, Elia
and peaceful existence of Jews in
Meyer, left for Israel with mem-
Kerala should also be celebrated.
bers of his family. His depar-
As Koder said, this is a unique
ture left a void in the communal
(Copyright, 1966, JTA, Inc.)
event in the history of World life of the Jews of Kerala. Meyer
Why are the days preceding
Jewry as in no other country can
was the only "sopher" or scroll
the Jewish New Year holiday
the Jews claim as peaceful an exis- writer among the Jews and his
called "Days of S'lihot"?
tence for so many years as in
absence will make it necessary
This is because penitential pray-
for the community to get their
ers asking for forgiveness are re-
The Indian representatives in scrolls from other places.
cited every morning in the syna-
the United Nations like Mrs. Vijay-
gogue before the morning service
lakshmi Pandit and Sir Rama-
no Jew will be left in Kerala. All during this period. These prayers
swamy Mudaliar have always re-
of us are likely to move to Israel," are called "S'lihot." Hence the
ferred to the existence of the Jews
said an elderly Jew whose ances- days of ,the period are called "Days
in Cochin from ancient times as a
came to Kerala Several cen- of S'lihot." Most congregations of-
living example of India's generos-
ago. Should this happen, it fer these prayers for at least four
ity and tolerance of all minorities.
would be indeed an unfortunate days before the day of Rosh
Not to make it only a Jewish cele-
development. Around '70 A.D. the Hashana.
bration, it is now proposed to in-
Jews are believed to have
What is the origin of these
vite all other Indian communities
come to Kerala and were in fact "S'lihot"?
to join in it. Now the celebration
the first aliens to settle on Indian
The Talmud traces this practice
will be held under the auspices of
soil. The generosity and tolerance
the Kerala History Association. shown to them by the Hindu rulers back to the Days of Moses. After
tlie people of Israel sinned with
The government of India has
of that time established India's the worship of the Golden Calf, the
promised assistance to the celebra-
reputation as a land of tolerance Almighty gave Moses a formula
tion and it is likely that the Presi-
and understanding. The peaceful
dent and Prime Minister of India existence of the Jews in Cochin whereby the people of Israel in
will participate in the celebration. was cited as an example by the future generations could approach
Him, repenting their sins and be-
The government of India has Menasseh Men Israel when he pe- seeching His forgiveness. The basic
been asked to issue a commemo- titioned Oliver Cromwell for the formula is the recitation of the
rative stamp of the synagogue to
resettle_nent of Jews in Britain thirteen attributes of the Almighty
be released on the occasion. An
four centuries ago.
which is the key passage of the
exhibition of old manuscripts
The Jews of Kerala have had a S'lihot prayers and is recited over
and books is also planned as a
and over again during the S'lihot
part of the celebration and Mr. checkered history. Some 1900 years liturgy. Moses received this form-
S. S. Koder has issued world-
ula during his second ascent of
wide appeals to libraries, according to historical facts as Mount Sinai. He went up the
churches and individuals to loan given in the "History of Kerala," mountain on the first of Elul and
they established the little Jewish
old manuscripts for the occasion.
descended on the Tenth of Tishri

JTA Correspondent in India
(Copyright, 1966, JTA, Inc.)

Mr. and Mrs. Hyman M. Beale,
will be hosts at the third, 8:30 p.m.,
Sept. 21, in their home, 17401 Cher-
rylawn, on behalf of Young Israel
of Northwest.
Judge George D. Kent will be

Ernakulam and in the Jew Town at
Cochin and constitute the well-to-
do among the ancient community,
the poorer Jews having been the
first to migrate to Israel. The trend
is still towards migration and the
rich Jews of Cochin are hesitant
because of foreign exchange diffi-
culties and they find it difficult to


Make Your





:amp n;it);IN/

Distributed by:


8938 — 12th St.

kingdom of Sningly. Dissension
among two brothers of a noble fam-
ily following the extinction of the
ruling of Joseph Rabban led to the
dissolution of the Kingdom in the
latter half of the 15th Century.
The Moors also attacked and de-
stroyed the Jewish settlement
around 1524, forcing the remaining
numbers of the community to flee
to Cochin where they placed them-
selves under the protection of the
Hindu ruler.
The Maharaja of Cochin granted
the refugees a site for a town near
his own place where the present
Jew Town was built in 1567. The
following year the White Jews
had to face many hazards. The
Portuguese occupation of Cochin
for 160 years witnessed the con-
stant harrassment of the Jews. The
Portuguese sacked Jew Town and
its synagogue, destroyed their his-
torical records and razed what was
left of the settlement. But the ar-
rival of the Dutch in Cochin in
1661 gave the Jews welcome relief
from Portuguese persecution Un-
der the tolerant Protestant Dutch
and later under the British rule,
the Jews prospered once again.
In Kerala there are White Jews
and Black Jews. The Black Jews
are convert whose ancestors were
slaves for the Jewish settlers. The
White Jewish community follows
Orthodox ritual. It is the majority
of Black Jews who have migrated
to Israel because in India they find
their future bleak.

(Yom Kippur). Some congregations
would even begin reciting S'lihot
prayers on the first of Elul (i.e. a
month b e f ore Rosh Hashana).
Other practice is to begin at least
four days before Rosh Hashana
and to continue the recitation of
S'lihot on weekdays until Yom
Kippur. The original custom seems
to have been to recite the S'lihot
on the Day of Atonement (Yom
Kippur). In addition to the basic
formula - of the recitation of the
thirteen Divine Attributes other
poetic compositions were added
through the years to make up our
S'lihot liturgy. The earliest of
these dates back to Talmudic
times. Some of the S'lihot were in-
corporated in the prayer book of
Rabbi Amram Goan in the ninth
century. The earliest edition of an

8:30 p.m. Monday in advance of
the Beth Moses High Holy Day Ap-

! peal.

Lurie is the Missouri state chair-
man and member of the Midwest
board of directors of the Israel
Bond Organization. He is a former
director of the war service depart-
ment of Bnai Brith and served as
Eastern Region coordinator of the
Harry Weinsaft, an officer on Anti-Defamation League. He re-

the speaker at a pre-High Holy
Day gathering 8:30 p.m. Monday,
in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Irv-
ing A. Hershman, 14261 Wales,
Oak Park, on behalf of Young
Israel of Greenfield.

the famous immigrant ship, "Ex- ceived the Jewish War Veterans
odus," will speak at a leadership achievement award.
reception in the home of Mr. and
A promInent figure in the fiel

of advertising and public relation
Lurie is the producer and director
of the American Jewish TV Digest
and the originator of the American
Jewish Hour. He has made num-

The Jewish Quiz Box

If the tentative plans now being
drawn up are pushed through, the
fourth centenary celebration of
the White Jews Synagogue at Jew
Town, Cochin, will certainly focus
public attention on the smallest
religious community in India.
Hundrals of Jews from the U.S.A.
and other parts of the world ,are
expected to visit Cochin to parti-
cipate in the celebration.
But for the Jewish community
of Kerala, on the Malabar coast of
South West India, the quatrocen-
tennial celebration of the syna-
gogue may well be the last occa-
sion for a get-together. Migration
to Israel over the past 15 years has
reduced their number from an
estimated 2,000 in 1951 to less than
300 today. The majority live in

Mrs. Bernard Winer, 20545 Patton,

entire collection of S'lihot was
that of Meshulam Cusi in the fif- erous trips to Israel.
teenth . century.
Why is it customary for the
Cantor who leads the S'lihot
liturgy on the Saturday night
when S'lihot are recited before
Rosh Hashana to wear a bor-
rowed Tallit instead of his own?
Basically, a Tallit is worn only
in the daytime since the command-
ment of Tzitzit (fringes) which is
fulfilled by wearing the Tallit, is
required only in the daytime. Since
the example of S'lihot shown to
MoseS by the Almighty was that
of a Cantor wrapped in a Tallit,
a Tallit is required on Slihot night
for the Cantor. In order to avoid
the requirement of making a bless-
'ER 18
ing over the Tallit, which is ques-
9.30AM 2 NOON
CALL 476 4100
tionable at night, the Cantor wears
a borrowed Tallit.





Desirable Seats for SOCIAL HALL SERVICES.
Limited space still available in Main Sanctuary.

Officiating in Main Sanctuary — Rabbi Israel I .Halpern, Cantor
Shabtai Ackerman, choir directed by Israel Fuchs. In Nusbaum Hall,
Rabbi Martin J. Tatelbaum, Cantor Edward Feigelman.

, OFFICE HOURS: Daily 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Evenings 7:00-8:45 p.m.
Sunday 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.

For Information Call Synagogue Office
UN 1-6696

Public Selichot Services Saturday, Sept. 10, at 11:45 p.m.
No Tickets Required.





at the SYNAGOGUE, Seven Mile Road West at Greenlawn and in the


Mt, Vernon, between Greenfield and Southfield



2625 TYLER
Near Linwood

Tickets Available, Refisonable

High Holiday Morning &
Evening Services Doily

• Limited size classes

• Bar/Bas Mitzvah Tutoring at no extra charge

• Reasonable tuition

• Youth Sabbath Services and Clubs

Visit Synagogue Office, 7 Mile Rd. W. at Greenlawn, or Call UN 1-6692

Israel I. Halpern

By Rabbi J. Rabinowitz

,cencl+M.• Kraus


Dr. Robert Schlaff

Rabbi Martin J. Tatelbaum
Director of Education

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