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Kochangadi Synagogue

Kochangadi Synagogue

בית הכנסת קוצ'נגאדי

കൊച്ചങ്ങാടി ജൂതപള്ളി
Hebrew inscription on a tablet from the Kochangadi Synagogue, now placed at the eastern wall of the Paradesi Synagogue
Religion
AffiliationOrthodox Judaism
RiteSephardi
StatusExtinct (lost)
Location
LocationKochangadi, Kerala
CountryIndia
Architecture
TypeSynagogue
StyleCochin Jewish Architecture
Completed1344 A.D
Demolished1789 A.D
Direction of façadeUnknown

The Kochangadi Synagogue, or Misro Synagogue ( Mal: കൊച്ചങ്ങാടി ജൂതപള്ളി or മിസ്രൊ പള്ളി) (Hebrew: בית הכנסת קוצ'נגאדי ) (1344 A.D - 1789 A.D) was a historic synagogue located in Kochangadi, south of Jew Town in Kochi, in the coastal state of Kerala. It was built in 1344 A.D[1][2][3][4] by the Malabari Jews after fleeing from Cranganore, making it the oldest synagogue in India in recorded history. It was lost and never rebuilt. The subsequent Kadavumbhagam Synagogue (1544 A.D) and Thekkumbhagam Synagogue (1647 A.D) were built after this congregation was established. The name "Kochangadi" is an abbreviation of "Kocha Angadi" or "Jew Market", as jews were addressed as Kocha in colloquial Malayalam.

The synagogue in its history underwent multiple stages of destruction and restoration. The ruins of this synagogue was believed to have been intact until the late 20th century. The compound had at least one intact wall and was colloquially called "Misro Palli" though the entomology of the name is lost to time.[4][3] The foundation stone is still retained in the courtyard wall of the Paradesi Synagogue of Mattancherry, maintained by the Paradesi Jews.[5][6]

History

The Kochangadi Synagogue was mostly likely built in the 14th century AD, after the Malabari Jews had to abandon Muziris or Kodungallur. Joseph Azar, the 72nd heir to Joseph Rabban and the last jewish prince of Shingly, fled to Kochangadi with his followers and founded the Kochangadi congregation. The reason for this migration is unclear with numerous theories and legends ranging from an attack by the Portuguese, a catastrophic flood in 1341 A.D, to a quarrel and subsequent murder of his elder brother Aaron Azar. Moses Pereira de Paiva gives his account Noticias dos Judeos de Cochim , that he had seen the tomb of Joseph Azar in Cochin. Today no such extant remains are found to corroborate this. The other tradition states that the Palayur Jews migrated to Kochangadi and founded the congregation, based on oral songs of cochini women.[3] Other traditions state that the nearby Chembittapally, a muslim mosque, was built with wood donated by the Kochangadi Jews.

After its establishment in 1344 A.D., it was restored in 1539 A.D by Baruch Joseph Levi, the Jewish Mudaliyar of the cochin jews. It is believed to have been demolished by the army of Tipu Sultan during his raids into Kerala in 1789 during the Second Anglo-Mysore War.[7] Added to that, Muslim dominance in the area may have forced the Kochangadi jews to relocate further north to Jew Town in Mattancherry.[8][6]

After it was destroyed, the Jewish community did not rebuild the synagogue. Instead, they moved to the nearby Kochi and carried with them the inscription stone mentioning its year of construction and planted it a wall of the Kadavumbhagam Mattancherry Synagogue at Synagogue Lane, Jew Town. It was re-discovered in 1818 A.D when plaster well from the wall, exposing this inscription tablet.[1][4] Later on, it was inserted into the east wall of the nearby Paradesi Synagogue where it remains till today. The Hebrew inscription states that the structure was built in 5105 (as per the Hebrew calendar) as "an abode for the spirit of God". The tablet is the oldest known Jewish relic from any synagogue in India.[2][9][3][4]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Jay., Waronker (2010). The synagogues of Kerala, India : their architecture, history, context, and meaning. OCLC 671537518.
  2. ^ a b Jussay, P.M. (1990). "The Origins of the Kerala Jews - An Evaluation of their Traditional Sources". Proceedings of the Indian History Congress. 51: 66–74. ISSN 2249-1937. JSTOR 44148189.
  3. ^ a b c d Daniel, Ruby (2002). Ruby of Cochin : an Indian Jewish woman remembers. Varda Books. ISBN 1-59045-649-1. OCLC 1243580690.
  4. ^ a b c d Nathan., Katz (1993). The last Jews of Cochin : Jewish identity in Hindu India. Univ. of South Carolina Press. ISBN 0-87249-847-6. OCLC 246707556.
  5. ^ "Indian Jews: This little known minority community has a rich heritage". Firstpost. 26 June 2016. Retrieved 28 September 2021.
  6. ^ a b S., Koder, S. (1974). History of the Jews of Kerala. [publisher not identified]. OCLC 3415398.((cite book)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  7. ^ Lost Kerala Synagogues, Jay A. Waronker, Friends of Kerala Synagogues, 2011
  8. ^ Katz, Nathan (2013). Indian Jews : an annotated bibliography, 1665-2005. ISBN 978-81-7304-980-4. OCLC 828245962.
  9. ^ Waronker, Jay (20 October 2010). "The Synagogues Of Kerala, India: Their Architecture, History, Context, And Meaning". ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)

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Kochangadi Synagogue
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