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Volume 54 Number 2, December 2002

Volume 54 Number 2

Indian Jewish Ritual & Life-Cycle

From the General Editor’s Desk 

The Marriage Customs of the Jewish Community of Cochin
Samuel H. Hallegua

The Ritual Cycle of Cochin Jewish Holidays: A Malabari Perspective
Galia Hacco

Bene Israel Rites and Routines
Shalva Weil

Photo Essay: The Jews of Cochin
Ketaki Sheth

Stone, Sweat, & Inspiration: The Restoration of Elphinstone College
Abha Narain Lambah

Professor Herbert Härtel and the Museum für Indische Kunst Berlin
Adalbert J. Gail

Newsletters

Book Reviews

From the General Editor's Desk
Pal, Pratapaditya
Vol. 54 No. 2, December 2002, pp. 6-7

Pratapaditya Pal writes about the looting and destruction of Afghanistan's culture, and the discovery of ancient Buddhist manuscripts in the region.

The Marriage Customs of the Jewish Community of Cochin
Hallegua, Samuel H.
Vol. 54 No. 2, December 2002, pp. 8-15 [Also in India's Jewish Heritage: Ritual, Art, & Life-Cycle edited by Shalva Weil; Vol. 54 No. 2, December 2002; ISBN: 81-85026-58-0, pp. 60-67]

The article highlights the importance of the synagogue in the life of a Cochin Jew, and in particular describes the ceremonies and customs associated with a wedding, including dress, food rituals, and the wedding service itself.

The Ritual Cycle of Cochin Jewish Holidays: A Malabari Perspective
Hacco, Galia
Vol. 54 No. 2, December 2002, pp. 16-25 [Also in India's Jewish Heritage: Ritual, Art, & Life-Cycle edited by Shalva Weil, Vol. 54 No. 2, December 2002; ISBN: 81-85026-58-0, pp. 68-77]

Of the eight Cochin Jewish communities, seven are Malabari, and their customs and rituals are distinct. The Malabari rituals associated with various Jewish festivals are described here, from the High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanal (New Year) and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) to Sukkot (Tabernacles), Simhat Torah (the Rejoicing of the Torah), Purim (the Feast of Lots), Pessach (Passover), Shavuot (Pentecost), and the sorrowful day of Tisha be'Av.

Bene Israel Rites and Routines
Weil, Shalva
Vol. 54 No. 2, December 2002, pp. 26-37 [Also in India's Jewish Heritage: Ritual, Art, & Life-Cycle edited by Shalva Weil; Vol. 54 No. 2, December 2002; ISBN: 81-85026-58-0, pp. 78-89]

The Bene Israel are ethnically and culturally almost indistinguishable from other Indians. While they proudly identify as Indians, they see themselves as distinct on account of their observance of Judaism. Their religious practices are outlined here, including some which are unique to the Bene Israel like the Birda (bitter bean) fast, and their intensive belief in Prophet Elijah.

Photo Essay: The Jews of Cochin
Sheth, Ketaki
Vol. 54 No. 2, December 2002, pp. 38-45

The Cochin Jews came to Cranganore in 70 CE. They are believed to be descendants of the Yemeni and other Arab communities. Welcomed by the local Hindu Raja, they faced persecution briefly in the 16th-century under Portuguese rule, but experienced prosperity and tolerance through Dutch rule in the 17th century. However, this highly educated community dwindled in numbers, were reduced to 100 in 1968, and by 1987, when these photographs were taken, there were only 33 left. This black-and-white photoessay captures the memories of the Bombay-based photographer.

Stone, Sweat, & Inspiration: The Restoration of Elphinstone College
Lambah, Abha Narain
Vol. 54 No. 2, December 2002, pp. 46-53

The Elphinstone College building was designed in the Gothic Revival style by Trubshaw. The construction was begun in the 1880s and the college moved to the building in 1888. Over the years the masonry fell victim to corrosion, and insensitively done repairs and additions caused further damage. From 2000 the PWD in consultation with experts brought in by the Kala Ghoda Association began to correct the maintenance practices and the KGA undertook the façade restoration project which began in 2002. The writer who is involved with the project, describes the work of restoring this magnificent façade.

Professor Herbert Härtel and the Museum für Indische Kunst Berlin
Gail, Adalbert J.
Vol. 54 No. 2, December 2002, pp. 54-59

A profile of Dr Herbert Hartel, the Founder and first Director (1963–86) of the Museum of Indian Art in Berlin. Initially intending to study Chemistry, he was called up for military service in 1941 and wounded in 1943. After this he began studying archaeology and philology as well as art history, and soon became a student of Indology. In 1953 he became the director of the Indian Section of the Museum of Folk Art in Berlin, and later founded the Museum für Indische Kunst. In the '60s and '70s he participated in excavations at Mathura. He had the Indian art history chair at the Freie Universitat, Berlin.

Newsletters
Vol. 54 No. 2, December 2002, pp. 60-65
Monisha Ahmed writes about a book on Zoroastrian culture and two exhibition on Parsis in art, including a photography show by Dayanita Singh; Shehbaz H. Safrani reports on a Stella Snead retrospective in New York.
Book Reviews
Vol. 54 No. 2, December 2002, pp. 66-70

Holy Cow and Other Animals: A Selection of Indian Paintings from the Art Institute of Chicago by Pratapaditya Pal and Betty Seid, reviewed by Divyabhanusinh Chavda; Hampi by Anila Verghese; Pattadakal by George Michell; Churches of Goa by Jose Pereira in the Monumental Legacy Series edited by Devangana Desai; reviewed by Sean Anderson; Essays on New Art History, Vol. I: Studies in Indian Sculpture (Regional Genres and Interpretations) by Ratan Parimoo, reviewed by Biswajeet Rath.

Book Notices
Vol. 54 No. 2, December 2002, pp. 70–72

Book notices on Maharajas' JeweIs by Katherine Prior and John Adamson; Jain Kashthapat Chitra: Survey and Documentation of Mural Paintings in the Jain Temples of South Gujarat by Vasudeo Smart; An Encyclopaedia of Hindu Deities, Demi-Gods, Godlings, Demons and Heroes by Fredrick W. Bunce; The Tibetan Iconography of Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and other Deities by Lokesh Chandra and Fredrick W. Bunce; The Iconography of Architectural Plans by Fredrick W. Bunce; The Yantras of Deities and their Numerological Foundations by Fredrick W. Bunce