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Shabbat Scholar - Synchronicity and Shehekeyanus in Kerala

Saturday, March 2, 2024 22 Adar I 5784

12:30 PM - 2:00 PM

Thirty years ago, Frank learned about a state in India called, Kerala--where education was valued, and health care provided. He was intrigued.  Twenty years later Frank and his wife Linda were matched for a summer with Yale student Greeshma, whose family was from Kerala.  Synchronistic!  Greeshma shared about the mix of religions in Kerala: Hindu, Muslim, Christian and Jewish.  

Ten years later, Frank and Linda were invited to her Hindu wedding. Engaging Kabani Community Tours and Services, an ethical, sustainable tourism non-profit and spent 15 days in Kerala—celebrating, exploring Jewish heritage sites, meeting elementary school students, and celebrating Onam in a tribal village. Staying in homestays and guided by Christians, Hindus, and Muslims, the travelers immersed in conversations--upon the beach of Arabian Sea with a Hindu secular Hindu, with a teacher on Hindu reincarnation, proposed comic-al STEM education with a bronze artisan, and many more vignettes. Melanie Hughes accompanied Frank Schwartz and Linda Leeser on this adventure and all three will share their impressions.

Photo #1: Artist KKR Vengara painted for us from memory Judah Kulam or The Jewish Pond, explains Frank. Left to right: Melanie Hughes, Wife of KKR, Vengara, Linda Leeser and Frank Schwartz. 

Photo #2: Paradesi Synagogue, built in 1568. The 1,100 tiles from Canton, China, each unique and hand painted were for the palace of the Rajah of Cochin. A story tells us that the Hindu Rajah, learning that the composition of the tiles included an element of the forbidden blood of a cow, gifted the tiles to the Paradesi Synagogue. [See An 800-year old synagogue restored in Kochi.]

Also of interest, Judah Kulam - The Jewish Pond, Kannur, Kerala, India on YouTube.

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Tue, April 16 2024 8 Nisan 5784