Jefe's House

Tag: judaism

Remnants of Jewish Kolkata

by on Jan.31, 2015, under On the Road, Shaheb Cafe

shahebcafe

 

 

 

 

A Shaheb’s Guide to India

shaheb – (India; also saheb, sahib; from the Hindi and Urdu sāhab, master; from Arabic ṣāḥib, companion; participle of ṣaḥiba, to become friends) 
1. formerly, a term of respect for any  male landowner
2. formerly, a term of respect for white European men during the British colonial era
3. (modern) any white man
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Temple Beth-El built in 1856.

Kolkata’s oldest synagogue, Beth-El, built in 1856.

There only 25 Jews left in Kolkata but three large, old synagogues speak to their former vast numbers. They were Baghdadi Jews from the Middle East. Getting into these synagogues as an outsider is no easy feat. The Kolkata cabbies haven’t a clue nor do most native Kolkatans you ask.

You have to go to a certain bakery on the first floor of the historic New Market bazaar, get a phone number and call it, speak to a certain Jewish woman who’ll give you directions, then you go to the sites and mention her name to the groundskeepers so they know you’re legit, then they let you inside where you must be accompanied by a guide at all times. Suggested donation is 100 rupees (about $2.00).  I jumped through all of these hoops and it was well worth it.

We first step inside the Magen David (slideshow) synagogue built in 1884 and the guide, a slight Indian in his 30′s with a boyish face, sticks a yarmulke on my head. He barely speaks English. I barely speak Bangla. It goes like this: (continue reading…)

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Beth-el Synagogue, Kolkata, built in 1856

by on Jan.31, 2015, under The Truth Is In Here

About half a mile from the Magen David and Neveh Shalome synagogues is Beth-el Synagogue.

Full story here on Kolkata’s handful of remaining Baghdadi Jews. Photos taken January, 2015–>>

(continue reading…)

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Neveh Shalome Synagogue, Kolkata

by on Jan.31, 2015, under On the Road, Shaheb Cafe

Next door to the Magen David Synagogue is the “Old Synagogue,” official name Neveh Shalome. In 1825 a house was bought on this site and made into Kolkata’s first synagogue. It was demolished and rebuilt as the present one in 1911.

Full story here on Kolkata’s handful of remaining Baghdadi Jews. Photos taken January, 2015–>>

(continue reading…)

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The Magen David Synagogue, Kolkata

by on Jan.30, 2015, under On the Road, Shaheb Cafe

The Magen David synagogue built in 1884.

The Magen David synagogue built in 1884.

Full accompanying story here on Kolkata’s handful of remaining Baghdadi Jews. Photos taken January, 2015.

Magen David
Magen David
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Magen David main entrance
Magen David main entrance
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Looking up at the ladies' gallery
Looking up at the ladies' gallery
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View from the ladies' gallery
View from the ladies' gallery
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Ladies' gallery
Ladies' gallery
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My Muslim guide
My Muslim guide
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My Way or the Yahweh

by on Jul.23, 2013, under On the Road, Shaheb Cafe, The Press, The Sixth Boro, The Truth Is In Here

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On Faith

A Jewish-Hindu connection

Jeffrey Stanley, 7/23/13

Talk about a crazy commute. After a spiritual encounter, a stranger and I spent the next 90 minutes discussing the nature of the universe.

Not so long ago after nearly 25 years as a hidebound New Yorker I moved to Philadelphia for my wife Pia’s career needs, inadvertently becoming part of a popular regional migration known to urban statisticians as the 6th borough phenomenon. She’s Indian-American and we’re raising our child in a bilingual home. I’m a writer and professor. She’s a scientist by day and an Indian classical dance professional by night. Religiously we are at best agnostic but culturally we are Hindus, and will identify ourselves as such when pressed, like on the hospital intake form the first time we took our baby in for a routine doctor’s visit.

This identification sits well with me. Despite growing up Nazarene in the Bible Belt I had long ago developed an affinity for Hindu philosophy—ever since I’d come across a used copy of the Bhagavad Gita at a flea market in high school and realized how similar it was to the New Testament. I still remember the perplexed look on my Sunday school teacher’s face the morning I brought the Gita to church. I had marked the sections that reminded me of Christ’s words in the Sermon on the Mount with an orange highlighter and asked him why Hindus were all going to Hell and we Christians weren’t. Suffice it say I quit going to church not long after that. Christianity just wasn’t speaking to me. When I met my wife-to-be years later while canoeing in Brooklyn’s fetid Gowanus Canal I fell in easily with her cultural worldview. We were a match made in moksha.

Imagine my surprise when, on a recent Friday afternoon while returning to Philly on a crowded New Jersey Transit train out of Manhattan’s Penn Station I came face to face with the power of YHWH.  (continue reading…)

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Which Religion is the Most Violent?

by on May.01, 2013, under Politics, The Truth Is In Here

Outstanding article here that I urge you all to read. The kicker is at the end where in the author ID we learn the writer, Chris Ladd, is a Republican activist. If more Republicans were like this, there’d a little more hope on the mainstream political landscape. Or perhaps he’s a closeted liberal. Terrific piece regardless–

by Chris Ladd, Washington Times

April 30, 2013 ― The Boston Marathon attacks have revived old claims that Islam is inherently violent and all Muslims should face heightened scrutiny. When a Lutheran kid shoots up a movie theater or a Norwegian fundamentalist describing himself as a “modern-day crusader” slaughters kids at a summer camp, we take it in stride. When someone with a connection to Islam commits a crime, every Muslim faces suspicion.

Perhaps this is a good time to investigate the question: Which religion is the most violent?

The analysis presents some challenges. Should the answer be based purely on a body count? Professor Juan Cole casually estimates that Christians chalked up roughly 50 times more violent deaths than Muslims across the past century. That, however, doesn’t necessarily prove that Christianity is more violent. It just demonstrates a high level of efficiency. To answer the question we need more than a raw death toll.

When measuring violence, should grievances count as mitigating factors? When a Christian Lebanese militia spent two days in a besieged Palestinian refugee camp raping and slaughtering civilians under Israeli supervision, ought they be excused by the previous Muslim slaughter that inspired it? And should the Muslim slaughter be excused by the Christian slaughter that inspired it? Who is guiltier, the chicken or the egg?

A look at each religion’s holy books won’t provide much guidance. CONT’D AT >>>

http://c.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/just-enough-city/2013/may/1/which-religion-most-violent/

 

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