The Jews in India can be categorised into three groups which are the Cochin Jews, the Bene Israel and the Baghdadi Jews. Based in the south of India in Kerala, the Cochin Jews can be further split into ‘Black’ who believe that they are the original settlers, and ‘White’ who are of European or Middle Eastern origin and lastly, the Paradesi. Presently, a majority of the community has emigrated many to Israel, but there still stands a synagogue in Cochin that is a popular tourist attraction.

Believed to be descendants of Jewish survivors of a ship wrecked while sailing from ancient Israel during the reign of King Solomon, the Bene Israel not only practice a few some Jewish traditions like eating kosher food and Shabbat, they also follow some Muslim and Hindu practices such as not eating beef. This may have simply happened out of keeping peace with the neighbours. There are no concrete documented facts to support the claims of their decent, although there are more reliable facts that show proof of their settling during the tenth century. The eighteenth century saw them settle in Bombay and they are presently the biggest population of Indian Jews.

Known to be immigrants from Iraq and other countries in the Middle East, Baghdadi Jews settled in India during the late eighteenth century and opted to adhere to the British Colonial as opposed to local custom. During the 1950s and 1960s, a large number of these Jews immigrated to Israel. Some of these Jews rose to take positions of leadership, for example, General Samuels was the leading military figure during the 1972 Indo-Pakistan war, Lt-Cen J.F.R. Jacob was appointed Governor of Punjab State in 1999.

Mumbai is home to the central Council of Indian Jewry as well as most of the Indian Jews. Kosher food is readily available, and the city has three Jewish schools. India is now a major trade partner with Israel following the improvement in their relations.

I spent a wonderful Shabbat with the the Holtzbergs hy”d, and I feel blessed to have had the opportunity. It was only a few weeks later that the terrible terrorist attack occurred.



Chabad of India is largely run by a breakaway organization form the umbrella chabad. There are many more chabad houses which can be found and the ones listed on chabad.org are not all of them. You can find the rest here. http://www.chabadindia770.com/129567/Chabad-Centers-in-India




Magen Aboth Synagogue

“Israil” Alley

Constructed in 1848 the synagogue is situated in an area known as ‘Israel’ alley found to the south east of the town.



COMMUNITY ORGANISATIONSChildren in India always happy to meet western people

Association of Kerala Jews

Thekkumbhagom Synagogue Jews Street

Telephone: 366 247; 362454, Fax: 363 747




Princess Street, Fort

Telephone: 24228; 24988




Jews Street

This synagogue that was constructed in 1614 and then renovated in 1916 has been acknowledged as a historical monument by the Government of India. Next to it sits a small concrete pillar into which has been placed the tombstone of Sara Bat Israel dated 5336 (1576)



Jew Town, Mattancherry 2

Constructed in 1568, this is remaining Cochin synagogue that is still in use. It is closed Friday & Saturday.




Kadavumbagom Synagogue

Constructed in 1200 and rebuilt in 1690


Thekkumbagon Synagogue

Telephone: (484) 390 187

Constructed in 1580 and rebuilt in 1939




Magen Abraham

Bukhara Mohalla, opp. Parsi Agiari 380001

Telephone: (79) 535 5224



COMMUNITY ORGANISATIONSArranged marriages in India for all casts

Jewish Association of Kolkata

1 & 2 Old Court House Corner

Telephone: (33) 224861

General inquiries can be made to this telephone number



Bethel Synagogue

6/1 Pollack Street

Magen David Synagogue

I09a Peplabi Rash, Bihari Bose Road, 1

Neveh Shalome Synagogue

9 Jackson Lane, 1





Beth EI Synagogue

Mirchi Galli, Mahatma Gandhi Road, Panvel


Telephone: (22) 2745 8126


Etz Haeem Prayer Hall

2nd Lane, Umerkhadi 400009

Telephone: (22) 377 0193


Gate of Mercy (Shaar Harahamim)

254 Samuel Street, Nr Masjid Railway Station


Telephone: (22) 345 2991

Known as the Samaji Hasaji Synagogue or Juni Masjid this building constructed in 1796 stands as the oldest Bene Israel synagogue still functioning in India. Its name was changed to Shaar Harahamim in 1896.


Magen David Synagogue

340 Sir J.J. Road, Byculla 400008

Telephone: (22) 300 6675

Gothic in character, this 1861 synagogue was constructed with the aid of the Sa soon family.


Magen Hassidim Synagogue

8 Mohammaed Shahid Marg, (formerly Moreland Road), Agripada 400011

Telephone: (22) 309 2493

With seating space for 1000, a majority of marriages and bar mitzvahs are held here. During its construction only Bene Israel carpenters, who gave their services for free, were used.


Rodef Shalom SynagogueFort in Deloitabad

Sussex Road, Byculla 400027

Shaar HaRahamim Synagogue

Tembi Naka, opp. Civil Hospital, Thane 400601

Telephone: (22) 853 4817

This 1796 synagogue is the oldest Bene Israel synagogue in India


Shaare Rason Synagogue

90 Tantanpura Street, 3rd Road, Don Tad, Israel

Mohalla, Khadak 400009

Tifereth Israel Synagogue

92 K.K. Marg, Jacob Circle 400011

Telephone: (22) 305 3713



Knesseth Eliahu Synagogue

55 V.B. Gandhi Road (Forbes Street) 400023

Telephone: (22) 283 1502/23682296, Fax: (22) 2363 2445

Website: www.jacobsassoon.org

At this 1884 synagogue, Kiddus is held with a lunch after Shabbath services at the synagogue


Kurla Bene Israel Prayer Hall

275 S.G. Barve Road (c.5.T. Road), Kurla 400070

Telephone: (22) 511 8795



ORT India

68 World Hill Estate, PO Box 6571 40001 B

Telephone: (22) 496 2350; 8423, Fax: (22) 364 7308

The Travel and Tourism Department arranges tours in Mumbai and Raighad District


TOV Jewish India Tours

96 Penso Villa, 1 st Floor, Mbraut Rd., Shivaji Park


Telephone: (22) 244 50134, Mobile Phone: 09867 430775

Email: indoisr@hotmail.com,

Supervision: Clement Aaron




Judah Hyam Synagogue

2 Humayun Road (opposite Taj Mahal Hotel)


Telephone: (11) 2463 5500; 2464 1058

Email: eze_malekar@yahoo.co.in

Supervision: Ezekiel Isaac Malekar, Honorary Secretary and Cantor


The Judah Hyam Annexe is home to a library and is the location for Hebrew classes and centre for Jewish and inter faith studies. There are services conducted on Friday evening starting at 7 P.M. during summer and 6.30 P.M. during winter as well as services during festivals and High Holidays.


Honorary Secretary and Hazzan of the Judah Hyam

Synagogue. Tel: 9818317674.



Paravur Synagogue

Constructed in 1165, the local Jewish community then rebuilt it in 1616 with the assistance of David Kastiel,a man of local origin and not a Paradesi Jew. The Paradesi Jews whose synagogue was constructed in 1568 were associated with Mattancherry.



Succath Shelomo

93 Rasta Peth 411011

Inquiries to Hon. See. 24/1 Rasta Peth, Trupti Apt., Pune

411011 or Dr S.B. David 9, Bund Garden Road, Pune




Ohel David Synagogue

9 Dr Ambedkar Road 411 001

Telephone: (20) 613 2048

The synagogue was built in 1867 by David Sasoon whose grave lies in the synagogue grounds.



Tov Jewish India Tours

118 Citadel Palace Orchard, Rdindhari, Green Forest

Telephone: (20) 693 1488




Pearl Farm

All Dhobi Alley, Sulabha, Maharashtra 400601

Telephone: (22) 536 0539

Kosher goat meat and fish




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>