Jewish Synagogue

The Jewish Synagogue, also known as the Paradesi Synagogue, is a historic place of worship located in Kochi (Cochin), Kerala, India. It is one of the oldest active synagogues in the Commonwealth of Nations and is an important symbol of the Jewish heritage in Kerala.

The history of the Jewish community in Kochi can be traced back to the time of King Solomon. Jewish settlers, mainly from the Middle East, arrived in the region during ancient times for trade purposes. Over the centuries, the Jewish community flourished and established several synagogues in Kochi.

The Jewish Synagogue in Kochi was constructed in 1568. It was built by the Malabari Jewish community, also known as the Cochin Jews, who have a distinct culture and history. The synagogue was named “Paradesi,” which means “foreign” in the local language, as it was primarily meant for the use of the Sephardic Jewish immigrants from Spain and Portugal.

The synagogue is located in the Jew Town area of Kochi’s Mattancherry neighborhood. It is a two-story building with a simple fa├žade, but its interior is adorned with exquisite hand-painted blue and white Chinese tiles, Belgian chandeliers, and a brass pulpit.

One of the significant features of the Jewish Synagogue is the presence of the copper plates, known as “Cochin Jewish Copper Plates,” which record the privileges granted to the Jewish community by the local kings. These copper plates provide historical evidence of the ancient ties between the Jewish community and the rulers of Kochi.

The synagogue also houses a small museum that displays various artifacts related to Jewish customs, traditions, and history. It includes ancient scrolls of the Torah, silver crowns, gold and silver jewelry, and other religious and cultural items.

The Jewish Synagogue is an active place of worship for the remaining Cochin Jews and is also visited by tourists from around the world who are interested in exploring the rich Jewish heritage of Kerala. Its historical significance, unique architecture, and cultural artifacts make it a notable attraction in Kochi.

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