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KOCHI: A permanent exhibition on `Chennamangalam Synagogue: Jewish Community in a Kerala Village' was opened at the renovated synagogue in Chennamangalam, about 25 km from here, on Friday.
The exhibition has been put up under the aegis of the Koret Foundation, The Taube Foundation for Jewish Life and Culture, the departments of Archaeology and Tourism, Government of Kerala, and the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
This is a coming together of the past and the present and Israel attaches great importance to this special relationship with India, said Daniel Zohar Zonshine, Consul General, Consulate General of Israel, Mumbai.
He said that the Government of Kerala had renovated the synagogue and appreciated the gesture that brought the two people together. Mr. Zonshine was present along with a nearly 100-strong group of Jews from Kerala, especially from around Chennamangalam, who had left for Israel about half-a-century ago.
Among those who came on Friday were Kastiel J. Pnina and Yossi Oren from Chennamangalam.
This verdant village can also boast of one of its sons Bezalel Eliahu who is a prize-winning agriculturist.
Among the pieces on exhibition is a copy of the English-Malayalam-Hebrew primer, pictures depicting the Jewish lifestyle, festivals and rituals. A relief in wood over the synagogue door is a major attraction.
A tombstone outside the renovated synagogue at Chennamangalam has Hebrew inscription dating back to 1269 making it the oldest Hebrew text in India.
Jews have lived on the Malabar coast for centuries. Some believe that they were here from the time of King Solomon while others say they arrived on the coast after the destruction of the Second Temple of Jerusalem
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