Jewish cemetery to come ‘alive’
KOCHI: The long-ignored, two-century-old Jewish cemetery on Market Road in Marine Drive is all set to be preserved and recast. Nearly all the tombs on the heritage site are in a partially destroyed state and the property had turned into a dumping ground. “We are documenting the tombs and collecting as much data as possible about the site,” said S Bhupesh, conservation engineer, Archaeological Department, Kerala. “We will have to do manual excavation for the preservation process. We will rebuild the walls, put in a watchman’s cabin and add lights to make sure the place is well kept. Conservation plans are also being looked into.”
On Sunday, the site was visited by the Archaeological Department officers along with Ernakulam MLA Hibi Eden and members of the Jewish community. The descendants of the Jews who left Kerala long ago were also present. They had been visiting the tomb from time to time. “We have been trying to do something about the tomb and its protection,” said Hibi. “Finally, we were able to get some funds for its preservation.
The place will be a heritage site and given due respect and hopefully will find a place in the tourist map soon. A total of 41 graves have been located of which only six are in good condition. Recasting works will begin as soon as the land is cleared.” Josephai Abraham, aka Sam, member of the Kerala Jew Association said, “We are happy steps are being taken to preserve the long history of Jews in Kerala. Hopefully, the preservation work will be done as soon as possible and the place will remain a part of history future generations can see.”