In addition to the difficulties detailed above, the Bene Ephraim are forced to leave their village during the year to look for work elsewhere as seasonal farm work migrants. The Chief Rabbi has to recognise the community as being of Jewish descent. Asian Folklore Studies
Chanukah was marked with an additional festive event — the installation of a replica Torah scroll donated by Rabbis Bonita and Gerald Sussman in the village synagogue. Bene Ephraim descended from the tribes of Israel, who in The objective of these conversions was to liberate these BCE were exiled from the ancient kingdom of Israel communities from the stigma associated with their status by the Assyrians.
To visit the two Bene Ephraim synagogues, it is most reasonable to travel to Vijayawada, the largest city in the Andhra Pradesh state. Photo by Bonita Sussman.
Wooden doors, also painted, lead into the prayer space, which is a rectangular shape. In my discussions with him, I must say he was cagey and not forthcoming with evidence for these claims.
Once introduced to the Bible at the end of the 19th century, these communities found parallels between ancient Jewish customs and their indigenous traditions. They are also referred to as the Telugu Jews because they speak the local language of Telugu.
All the community members have unequivo- programme into English. The ritual continued with a kosher luncheon organized by the community. Although other tribes who adopted Christianity bury their dead in a north-south orientation, those of the Mala and Madiga tribes of any faith bury their dead only east-westward in the Jewish tradition, towards Jerusalem. I was shown no Hebrew Torah or distinctively Jewish ritual objects, and am under the impression that these have not survived.
Posted by: JoJotaur | on October 2, 2012
Their Judaism is virtually devoid of Talmudic and rabbinic influences. Hanging from the roof trusses are ceiling fans. Whereas the other more active Bene Ephraim has a guest room available to visitors, it is quite basic.
Acknowledgements Special thanks to Shmuel, Sadok and Miriam Yacobi, who have been extremely helpful, accommodating and patient with us. In addition to the difficulties detailed above, the Bene Ephraim are forced to leave their village during the year to look for work elsewhere as seasonal farm work migrants. She is the author of Jews and India:
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