Thousands of Indian origin Jews drawn from four different communities gather for national convention in Israe
Thousands of Indian-origin Jews from all four major communities descended on this northern Israeli city on Thursday evening to participate in the sixth national convention of Indian Jews, celebrating the occasion with a whole range of cultural display, including food, music, dance, cultural exhibits, yoga workshop, etc.
The enthusiasm in the community was such that the allotted number of registrations was filled up within a few days after the event was announced.
The community organised the event with the active support of the Indian mission in Israel and the municipality of Petah Tikva which was very generous in providing the necessary support for the event.
Rami Greenberg, the Mayor of Petah Tikva, applauded the role of the Indian Jewish community in Israel saying ''they have contributed to the development of the country in every possible way. It also includes the strong strategic relations Israel has with India in the field of defence, polity and economy''.
''It is great to see how the Bnei Menashe, Bene Israel, Cochini and Baghdadi Jews from India have managed to keep in touch with their roots, even those that are third or fourth generation here'', Greenberg added.
Charge d'affaires at the Indian mission, Rajiv Bodwade, described the convention as ''an acknowledgment of the rich diversity and the unique traditions of the four major communities of Indian origin Jews''.
''Until recently the Indian Jewish communities had largely remained confined to themselves and held exclusive events and functions celebrating their Indian origins and culture. Through the Government of India's endeavour, the four communities came together and jointly organised five national conventions of the Indian Jews in the last decade'', Bodwade pointed out.
The sixth national convention this year was celebrated after a gap of five years which includes the period of restrictions due to COVID-19.
''We hope that this convention will act as a cultural bridge between the peoples of India and Israel'', the diplomat stressed, noting that India and Israel mark thirty years of upgradation of bilateral ties to full diplomatic relations and 75 years of Independence.
''Further we are proud of the fact that India, given its unique tradition of co-existence, is one of the few places in the world where there has never been any anti-semitism in history,'' Bodwade emphasised.
Touching upon a well-known fact that the older generation of Indian Jews in Israel still maintains a ''deep bond'' with India, he said that ''the national convention provides an engaging platform for the younger generation to cherish and better understand their unique culture''.
There are about 85,000 Jews of Indian origin living in Israel who continue to maintain their distinct cultural practices. The national convention of the Indian Jews in Israel also helps display a part of the Indian diversity with Bene Israel coming predominantly from the Maharashtra region, the Baghdadis from the Kolkata area, Cochinis from Kerala, and the Bnei Menashe from Manipur and Mizoram.
Ricky Shay, a prominent member of the Indian Jewish community, also proudly spoke of the Indian spirit of co-existence and how the Jewish community never felt any trace of anti-semitism in India.
An elder member of the community, Nissim Moses, a historian well known for his research of Bene Israel Genealogy, was felicitated at the event with two books by community members released.
The India Cultural Centre in Israel organised a Kathak performance led by Ritusri Chaudhuri. She will also be performing with her team in Jerusalem on Friday.
Well-known Israeli singer of Indian origin, Liora Itzhak, who has had a brief association with Bollywood and sang the national anthems of both countries during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Israel in 2017, also enthralled the crowd with some popular Hindi songs.
Several local artists, mainly from the Indian Jewish community, performed on stage.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)