Home – Issue 4

The India Issue - Autumn 2010
FEATURED ARTICLESGrowing Up Jewish In India
A photo essay
by Meirah Bhastekar & Richard Lord

All photos in this article and the photo on the cover are © Richard Lord/courtesy of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee

The photographs that appear in this article are part of a larger series taken by photographer Richard Lord. In recent articles examining the contemporary Bene Israel community in India, words such as diminishing, fading and vanishing are often evoked. Perhaps the photos in this part of the collection suggest something different. These photos capture the faces of the future for the Bene Israel. They carry 2000 years of history in a country virtually void of anti-Semitism. Their stories can’t be summarized by a single word or label. It is still up to them to write their narratives

It is a startling reaction that I often face whenever I meet someone outside India who is confused or even doubtful of the existence of Indian Jewry. […] [read online…]

Rescuing Shipwrecked Ancestors
A story in three generations
by Erica Lyons

It started with a promise to rescue a memory. Nana’s voice and the story replay again and again, “A very long time ago, your
ancestors left Israel in a ship – a big, wide wooden ship – and they were shipwrecked in India. They were Jews, but they settled in India. In the shipwreck they lost their Torahs, and they forgot their religion.”

When Sadia Shepard made the promise to her grandmother, Nana, to go to Nana’s birthplace, she had no idea where the journey would take her.. […] [read online…]

Is There A Next Year in Bombay?
A film of great uncertainty
by Robin Jeffrey

A smiling bride, an ecstatic groom, jubilant guests, vibrant colors, joyous Jewish music: the start of a future of uncertainty? Next Year in Bombay is a film of questions as co-director and producer Jonas Pariente explains. “Rather than a message, our film carries questions. Questions about a people’s identity, and the dilemma that migrating communities have to face: […] [read online…]

Absence of Jewish Studies in India
Creating a new awareness
by Navras Jaat Aafreedi, Ph. D.

A few years ago when I happened to be staying for a few days with a cousin of mine in Colaba, Mumbai, I went to the street book vendors at her suggestion. She told me that I could get books on any subject at throwaway prices. When I asked for books on Jews, I was told to come back the very next day. When I returned there in anticipation, I was shown a book on juice. […] [read online…]

All Joking Aside
The serious side of India’s Seinfeld
interview with Samson Koletkar

Between shows and a day job in the tech world, AJL caught up with comedian Samson Koletkar for an interview and a few laughs. Koletkar, a Bene Israel, was born and raised in Mumbai, though he now calls San Francisco home. AJL definitely considers him one of the best Bene Israel, standup comedians currently living in the San Francisco area. […] [read online…]

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Asian Jewish Life is a free quarterly publication designed to share regional Jewish thoughts, ideas and culture and promote unity. It also celebrates our individuality and our diverse backgrounds and customs.
Current Issue
Autumn 2010 

Table of Contents
(Download PDFs of all articles)

Articles from the Current issue

( *in PDF format )


* In Search of Ecstacy
by Dr. Adam Cohen
* Eating Falafel in Bangalore
by Jessica MacKenzie Murthy
Letter from the Editor
by Erica Lyons
* Backpacking to Enlightenment
by Jana Daniels


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