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Judaism in India

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Judaism in India

Judaism is the religion which came in India from the foreign. Among the many, Non-Dharmic religions (those not believing in several incarnations and reincarnations of God and human being) arriving in India, Judaism religion considered to be the first religion to be established in India. The followers of them are known as Jews.
Judaism

The Jewish people traveled in India for the purpose of trade in the medieval period. The first evidence of Jews in India was seen in 11th century in the western coast. However, there migration in the 16th and 17th century had created an important settlements in the northern part of India. 

Bombay saw the major number of Jews settlement. The oldest among the Jews community in India, resides in Cochin. It was in 562 B.C that the traders from Jadea arrived in India and settled near Cochin. 

The Anjuvannam community was a group of exile from Israel, who reached India in 70 C.E. Communities of Jews called Pardesi Jews were the exiles from Spain and Holland.

Jewish Communities in India

The present Jewish population in India is estimated to  approx. 5000. The Jewish of India consists of mainly three groups, The Cochin Jews, the Bagdadis, The Bene Israel called the Malabar Jews, and the white Jews from Europe.
 
Judaism

The Bene Israel lived primarily in the cities of Mumbai, Karachi(Pakistan) and Ahmadabad. Their native language was Judeo-Marathi. It was estimated to be the descendend of the Kohanim, the ancient Israelite priests. 

This community was formed when seven Jewish families were stranded due to a shipwreck near Mumbai. Slowly the families integrated with the local population of Maharashtra and started to adopt their language and customs. Many small communities of Bene Israel are scattered across Mumbai, Alibag, Pune and Ahmedabad.

The Baghdadi Jews immigrated from Iran, Afganistan, Syria, Yemen to India about 250 years ago, and settled in Mumbai. They had a dark olive skin and dark brown hair that gave the different Middle Eastern appearance and an Indian appearance. 

The Baghdadis started assimilating in the Indian culture. They then spread to other parts of the country with time. They were mainly traders and soon emerged to be the wealthiest community in the city.

The Cochin Jews, were the first Jews came in the southern India, called Black Jews, native to the state of Kerala. Cochin were totally under the influence of British in the early 19th century. 

The major population of Jews were under the towns of Cochin, Aluva and North Paravur. Today, most of the Cochin’s Jews have emigrated or converted and left with only 53 Cochin Jews in Kerala.

There are five native Jewish communities in India and their immigrants settlements:
  • The Cochin Jews arrived in India 2,500 years ago and settled down in Cochin, as traders.
  • The Bene Israel arrived in the state of Maharashtra 2,100 years ago.
  • The Baghdadi Jews arrived in the city Mumbai from Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and Arab countries about 250 years ago.
  • The Bnei Menashe are Mizo and Kuki tribesmen in Manipur and Mizoram who claim descent from the tribe of Menasseh.
  • The Bene Ephraim (also called "Telugu Jews") is a small group who speak Telugu; their observance of Judaism dates to 1981.
The oldest among the Jews community in India, resides in Cochin. It was in 562 B.C that the traders from Jadea arrived in India and settled near Cochin. The Anjuvannam community was a group of exile from Israel, who reached India in 70 C.E. Communities of Jews called Pardesi Jews were the exiles from Spain and Holland.

The Bene Israel community was formed when seven Jewish families were stranded due to a shipwreck near Mumbai. Slowly the families integrated with the local population of Maharashtra and started to adopt their language and customs. Many small communities of Bene Israel are scattered across Mumbai, Alibag, Pune and Ahmedabad.

Bnei Menashe Judaism is practiced mainly in the states of Manipur and Mizoram and the Bene Iphraim are comparatively newer group of Judaism emerging around 1981 in Andhra Pradesh. 

Judaism in Delhi is primarily focused on the expatriate community who work in Delhi, and Israeli diplomats. Jewish life in Delhi centers on the Judah Hyam synagogue, which has services run by Ezekiel Isaac Malekar.

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