Nathan Katz

in Who Are the Jews of India?

Published by University of California Press

Published in print November 2000 | ISBN: 9780520213234
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520920729 | DOI:

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This introductory study of three Indian-Jewish communities—Cochin Jews, Bene Israel, and Baghdadi Jews—helps in the understanding of both Judaic and Indic civilizations, and the nature of communal continuity. Thinking about these three communities' history, social organization, and religious life deepens the understanding of both India and Israel. The Bene Israel lost all of the intellectual equipment in their legendary shipwreck, and as a result tumbled more deeply into assimilation. The identities of the Bene Israel and the Baghdadis evolved more rapidly and within the purview of relatively modern history. The three very different communities of Jews in India had one determining factor in common: the absence of indigenous anti-Semitism. Jewish identity in India is substantial in contemporary discussions about continuity within the Jewish world. Today, only the Bene Israel community of Bombay remains vital among the three communities.

Keywords: Cochin Jews; Bene Israel; Baghdadi Jews; Judaic civilization; Indic civilization; communal continuity; Bombay; anti-Semitism

Chapter.  1720 words. 

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies

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