Make India Your Next Destination
Our November 2023 group enjoyed India's vibrant culture, its warmth and its hospitality.
In Agra, we marveled at the Taj's graceful beauty, "a teardrop on the face of humanity," in the words of India's poet laureate Rabindranath Tagore.
In Calcutta, we were awed by the dazzling Diwali celebrations and the riot of people at the Flower Market. Like Hanukkah, Diwali celebrates the triumph of light over darkness, of good over evil.
In Jaipur, following a scrumptious meal at the home of a chef, we climbed into auto rickshaws to safely negotiate the throngs of people preparing for Diwali. It was worthy of an amusement park ride.
In Mumbai, we participated in Shabbat services at the Knesseth Eliyahoo Synagogue and were warmly welcomed by the community.
In Cochin, we watched the sun set over the spectacular Chinese fishing nets and were astonished at the 700 students who visited the Paradesi Synagogue on their school holiday.
In Delhi, we marveled at the Sikh Temple's community kitchen that probably fed 50,000 on the day we visited, rich and poor alike, without distinction.
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India and Israel have had a deep connection since ancient times, when traders as far back as the reign of King Solomon may have made their way to the south of India. The Bene Israel Jews say they escaped the Hellenist persecution that caused the Maccabees to rebel. They were shipwrecked off the coast of Bombay and found refuge in the local villages.
The Israeli stamp above, issued in 2012, recognized the ties between the two countries. Today, in these troubled times, India's government and its people support Israel.
I am happy to report that our November group enjoyed a safe and successful tour. We loved the light and warmth of India during very dark times for the Jewish people and our beloved State of Israel.
In each and every synagogue and sacred space we visited, we prayed for the release of the hostages seized by Hamas and the safety of the soldiers and people of Israel. We said kaddish for those who were murdered. Descendants of India's Jewish communities—today numbering almost 100,000 strong in Israel—now serve in the IDF and were among those who were brutalized and lost their lives. We sang wherever we went: Hatikvah, Am Yisrael Hai, Kol Ha-olam Kulo (in Hebrew and Hindi), the Prayer for the State of Israel, and more. Above is a display of hostage posters poignantly displayed in Calcutta's Beth El Synagogue.
Give Yourself a Hanukkah Gift!