divided and diminshed

In Kerala, south India, there have been descendants of Jews who fled Israel for almost 1000 years. In the 16th century, European Jews fleeing the inquisition joined them. India, being generally religiously tolerant, welcomed both groups. 

However, within the Jewish communities, this mix created a racial divide in the state, between so called “white Jews” (the Europeans, also known as Paradesi Jews) and the “black Jews” (also referred to as Ernakulam Jews, due to the location of most of their homes in a part of town called Ernakulam). Even though it is historically proven that the Ernakulam Jews arrived before the Paradesi Jews, the Paradesis still claim 'firstness'. They also accuse the Ernakulam Jews of being descendants of slaves, and thus not religiously pure. The Paradesi Jews went so far as to bar the Ernakulam Jews from praying in their synagogue, and outlawing intermarriage. 

This divide has lasted until this day. Although the Ernakulam Jews were finally allowed to pray in the Paradesi synagogue as of about fifty years ago, the groups-made up of 29 jews in total– are still very much separate; coming together only to pray at major religious events. Like in other parts of india, most of the population has left for Israel.