Legend has it there have
been Jews in India since the time of King Solomon but modern scholars
put the date at early Middle Ages.
Persecution and the pursuit of the spice trade brought them to
Cranganore north of Cochin, later accused of interference with the
pepper trade they were once again obliged to flee. The Hindu Raja of
Cochin granted them land and the area is still known as Jew Town.
They fared badly during the Portuguese colonization but prospered with
the arrival of the Protestant Dutch and later the British.
With the Independence of India and the creation of the State of Israel
many Jewish families left. There are thought to be only 13 elderly
Indian born Jews from 7 families left in Cochin
|The Dutch style clock tower was added to the synagogue in 1760, it has 4
faces with Malayalam, Hebrew, Roman and Arabic numerals