The Lone Caretaker Of Kochi’s Centuries Old Jewish Synagogue | Unique Stories From India


The caretaker of a 450-year-old Synagogue worries about the future of the Jewish community in Kochi. Joseph Elias Josephai (affectionately known as Babu), is one of the few members of the Jewish community in Kochi who still remain in the city. After the formation of the state of Israel in 1948, a large number of Cochin Jews (also called Malabar Jews) migrated back to the holy land. As a result, there are now as few as 27 Jews left in the city of Kochi. With no one to care for the Kadavumbhagom Synagogue, Babu has taken it upon himself to manage the security and upkeep of the Synagogue. Lamenting the future of the Jewish community in the city, Babu is looking to international Jewish trusts to help ensure that the Synagogue is maintained after his death.

101 Traces looks at the last of anything: ethnic communities, folk craftsmen, disappearing trades, forgotten people. It sketches portraits of these unique individuals, locked in a battle they cannot win: a battle against the future. Together, they represent the dying whispers of ancient heritage and traditional individuality. As India moves towards homogenised global pop culture, 101 Traces honours the people, the objects, and the skills that connect us to our ancient identity.

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