By Sophie Judah
At the age of seven I had no idea who Shylock was. I went to my father and asked him to explain the connection. “Now you understand why the written word has such power,” he said. “The writer may mean something entirely different to the way it is understood. Each interpretation is influenced by the mind-set of the reader. The play is really about racism and inequality.” I thought that the girl was ‘not too bright,’ and promptly put the incident to the back of my mind. It resurfaced many years later when I visited friends in India.
Posts from the ‘Issue 12/The Indian Jewry’ Category
By Sophie Judah
By Esther David
I understood that my Jewish experience was hidden somewhere within me and waiting to be discovered through my novels. This search drove me to write novels based on the Jewish experience in India and started a personal journey through the study of Jewish history and family histories, which gave form to my novels and a new dimension to my life.
By Shalva Weil
While the tourists and the Westerners have discovered India’s Jews in hidden corners of great urban centres such as Kolkata or Mumbai, many of the Jews have disappeared, just when they were being discovered! The ancient Jewish community of Cochin Jews in Kerala, whom some say came to south India at the time of King Solomon, is all but folded up. Seven individuals remain in Jew Town, Kochi, and another score at most are dotted around Kerala.
By Jael Silliman
The Bagdadi Jews were religiously and culturally conservative and were a tight-knit community that lived and thrived in diaspora. The Bagdadi Jewish families settled in port cities from Basra to Shanghai and their connections to one another enabled community life to flourish as well as fueled their trading success. They were extremely successful in the shipping of opium and made fortunes in cash crops like jute, indigo and tobacco. Later they invested in real estate and opened companies of their own.
By Kenneth X. Robbins
The ability to move between different worlds was an asset to Jewish writers and film-makers. Joseph David Penkar was a prolific playwright, screenwriter, director, and lyricist. He wrote and directed in Gujarati, Hindi, Marathi, and Urdu while being fluent in Hebrew and English. Like many other members of the Bene Israel community, he lived in the cosmopolitan environment of Bombay without losing either his Jewish or Indian roots.
By Siona Benjamin
My goal is to promote the understanding about the true diversity of people in India. My project will help my audience understand the meaning of racial diversity and the need, therefore, to stop compartmentalizing "the other". I believe in the power of art to be able to make socio-political change in this world. I will strive to accomplish these goals and the Fulbright name and mission has given me more power under my wings to be also to achieve this.