June 26, 2019

A Moment in Time: When “Shalom” connects 10,000 Miles and 2,000 Years

Dear all,
Ron and I had the opportunity to visit Cochin (Kochi), India, where Judaism has roots going back to the time of King Solomon. We learned about the early settlers from the Diaspora and the subsequent immigrants (Moors, Portuguese, and others).
The community once boasted seven active synagogues. But today, most of the buildings are in decay while a couple remain intact as museums. There is one congregation that continues to hold regular services for the five remaining families as well as for visitors from around the world. Most of the former members emigrated to Israel in the 1950’s and ‘60’s.
One particular synagogue, the Kudavumbagam Synagogue, has only one member, Elias Josephai. Elias has single-handedly restored this building with love, tears, and hope. His father was once the cantor, and he sang some of the Hebrew melodies of his childhood. But he cried when he reflected on how there is no one left.
Sure, Ron and I visited the great and tremendous monuments of India. But it was embracing Elias and sharing the word “shalom” that transformed 2000 years and 10,000 miles into a moment in time.
These are the moments that count!
With love and Shalom,
Rabbi Zach Shapiro