Future vision of India-Israel cooperation is of strong hi-tech partnershipDevdiscourse News Desk | Telaviv | Updated: 10-05-2019 18:55 IST | Created: 10-05-2019 17:58 IST
The 85,000-strong Indian Jews community in Israel is a vital link between the two nations that has seen rapid growth in relations over the years across a broad spectrum of areas, a senior Indian diplomat has said. Speaking at the launch of a book titled "The Synagogues of India," whose first copy of limited edition was presented to Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to Israel in 2017, Counsellor at the Indian embassy in Tel Aviv Muanpuii Saiawi said the future vision of cooperation between the two knowledge economies is of a strong hi-tech partnership.
"The 85,000 strong Indian Jewish community here form a vital and important link between India and Israel. Both nations have excellent relations with over 25 years of full diplomatic relations. Relations have seen rapid growth across a broad spectrum of areas and the future vision of cooperation is of a strong hi-tech partnership as befits two knowledge economies," Saiawi said at the gathering that was attended by hundreds of Indian Jews. The book describes about the richness of Jewish diasporic architecture.
"The more than 45 Synagogues included in my book reveal the richness of Jewish diasporic architecture and more importantly they are a testimony to India's noble tradition of diversity, inclusiveness and tolerance," Prof Jay Waronker, author of the book, told the gathering. "Architecture can serve as a measuring device, as an interpreter, of a given people from a certain time and at a particular location, including at India's synagogues. In the process, these buildings become places where histories are written, life stories are generated, and memories are triggered," the author added.
The book is being seen as an attempt to fill a gap in existing research, literature, and discussion on the Synagogues in India which have not received much attention so far. "That these Indian synagogues and the five distinct communities of Jews who realised them--the Bene Israel, the Cochini, the Baghdadi, the Bene Ephraim, and the B'nei Menashe-- have co-existed alongside a cornucopia of other religious and secular buildings and their users for so long makes their story even more compelling", Waronker, a practicing architect in Atlanta, said.
The Chairman of Indian Jewish Heritage Centre, Avner Isaac, and a researcher at the IJHC, Pinhas Yosef, also highlighted the lack of anti-semitism in India where "Jews felt at home". An announcement was also made by Saiawi regarding the opening of the Indian Cultural Centre in Tel Aviv soon, whose announcement was made by PM Modi during his visit to Israel. Pinhas also distributed the first issue of "Indian Jewish Link", a newsletter highlighting the events and achievements of the Indian Jewish community, during the event following an emotional speech emphasising on how the community preserved its identity and culture in India during its thousands of years of presence there.
Marian Scheuer Sofaer, the editor of the book, who was the director for the Chendamangalam Synagogue exhibition in Kerala that opened in 2006 and also provided assistance to the team which restored the near by Parur Synagogue, not just spoke highly of India's rich culture of diversity, tolerance and co-existence that lacked anti-semitism, but also noted that a lot of Synagogues were protected and preserved by Muslims for generations.