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“MORE THAN HALF a century ago the pews of Kolkata’s stately synagogues were filled with members of a thriving Indian Jewish community. Today, the congregants are missing—less than two dozen remain—but multiple generations of Muslim families continue to maintain the houses of worship.
The first Jew to migrate to Kolkata was a Syrian jewel trader named Shalom Cohen in 1798. More followed, mainly from Iraq and Syria, opening businesses and exporting silk, indigo, and opium. In the mid- to late-1800s, synagogues were built to host the city’s 3,000 Jews. Famous movie stars and pageant queens came out of the minority group. Hybrid dishes were invented, blending Middle Eastern and Indian flavors. During World War II, Jews fleeing Europe sought refuge in Kolkata.
Before India gained independence from the British in 1947 there were nearly 5,000 Jews living in Kolkata. The community teemed with Jewish newspapers, schools, and businesses. But uncertainty about the country’s stability under the new government spurred an exodus from India. Many more left when Israel was founded, just one year later.”
JJ Editor's Daily Picks
"The results were surprising. The center-right coalition, led by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, remained in power against the opposition Labor party, which had led in every poll for years."
"Anger seldom works against Trump; he owns the currency and can always issue more of it. In addressing the rogue President directly, or speaking about him in the third person, Pelosi usually adopts a tone that is more sorrowful than angry..."
"I am Mizrahi, as are the majority of Jews in Israel today. We are of Middle Eastern and North African descent. Only about 30% of Israeli Jews are Ashkenazi, or the descendants of European Jews."
"Kids are exposed to plenty of controversial social issues on a daily basis. And if parents don’t want their kids to watch “Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone,” they can turn off the TV."
"Are public-school teachers really underpaid? It’s a claim often made during teacher pay disputes, but the same data and statistical methods that produce the “teacher salary gap” lead to some ridiculous conclusions..."
"Tech companies are getting into the business of making cities. We need to stop Silicon Valley social engineering before things get even worse."
"Having a Library or Cafe Down the Block Could Change Your Life: Living close to public amenities—from parks to grocery stores—increases trust, decreases loneliness, and restores faith in local government."
"“What name . . . shall we give to the darkness of hell...?” The question of how we can name a place such as this is at the center of scholar Scott G. Bruce’s new anthology The Penguin Book of Hell."
"She had all six of her kids — ages 5, 4, 2 (twins) and 10 months (also twins!) in her 10-seater van. To get the kids a quick snack, Curry parked in front of the Cobbler’s Café."
"Nearly three-quarters of those surveyed said they grew up typically eating dinner at a kitchen table, but a little less than half said they do so now when eating at home."
"If you tied a rope tight around the Earth’s equator and then added a single yard of slack, would the extra material make any noticeable difference to someone standing on the ground?"
"While American Jewish women face attacks on our freedom and rising anti-Semitism, abortion opponents are appropriating Jewish history in order to push an agenda that hurts women."