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!