Sunday, November 6, 2011

India: Jews of Cochin (and Judaica)

India: Jews of Cochin (and Judaica)

Many of my readers may also be interested in following the blog Jews of Cochin maintained by Bala Menon. Bala's most recent posting is about the Judaica of Cochin Jews which is increasing turning up in notably collections, and also at Judaica auctions.

Meanwhile, the government in Kerala (India) is nearing completion on the careful restoration of the former synagogue in Parur. ISJM's Jay Waronker has been advising on this work for well over a year with support from the Koret Foundation. Jay will supply a report on the project's progress soon.

Here is a Bala's post...

Museums and collectors worldwide have been quietly acquiring valuable belongings of the Cochin Jews over the past couple of decades. Articles of interest include clothing, religious pieces, life-cycle related materials, historical and literary items etc., which all come under the general definition of Cochin Judaica. Some of the pieces are valued at several thousands of dollars.

Many of these wonderful pieces are now appearing on auction sites like eBay, while some have become part of treasured collections at institutions like the fabled Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life at the Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, the Skirball Cultural Centre in Los Angeles, the Jewish Studies collections at Columbia University Libraries, University of Cambridge and the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

One of the prized exhibits at Skirball's At Home series is a Hanukkah lamp from Cochin. This exquisitely designed work of utilitarian art, made of hammered brass was donated to the centre in 2005 by Dr. David Hallegua (California) and his sister Fiona (New York) of Mattancherry in memory of their grandparents Satto and Gladys Koder. The lamp was used in the Koder home in Cochin during Hanukkah celebrations for over 90 years. (Koder House today is a boutique hotel.)

Read the entire essay and see photos here.

Also see:

ISJM Receives Koret Foundation Funding for Indian Synagogue

India: ISJM's Jay Waronker Furthers Kerala Preservation Projects

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