KOCHI: Though Kochi Jews migrated to Israel or dispersed around the world, one thing holds them together- it is their love of the city. According to Nima Regev, every one of us who came to Israel from Kochi meet up occasionally. “We gather together during festivals or marriages and celebrate as per the style we followed here. We sing songs that were sung here and say prayers as it was done at the Paradesi Synagogue,” she said. At present, there are around 1,00,000 Cochin Jews in Israel.
“Come to think of it, we are the only community in the world who don’t have any negative memories. Our memories are filled with the happiness that we shared with our neighbours in Kochi. There was no discrimination unlike in the rest of the world,” she said.
Her husband Elan said, “You will see that everything is different here. Right from the architecture, the style of worship to the manner in which the people are treated.”
“The prayers here are a family affair. Unlike in the synagogues elsewhere, women are not segregated here. They sit along with the men, albeit, separately, but in the same room. The seats are arranged in a circular fashion unlike the theatre style in the other temples,” he said.
A museum in Jerusalem
David Hallegua said, “A replica of Naduville palli stands in Jerusalem.” When the Jews who used to go to the synagogue left for Israel they took with them all the things inside it. “They then reconstructed a replica of the synagogue in Jerusalem. However, no prayers are conducted there. It has been declared a museum by the Israeli Government,” he said.
“Ours is the oldest functioning synagogue in South East Asia,” he said.