Magen David Synagogue is amongst the well known buildings standing till date. Build in the year of 1884, by Elias David Joseph Ezra in memory of his father David Joseph Ezra. He is also associated with other prominent buildings such as Esplanade Mansion, Ezra Mansion and Chowringhee Mansion.
History of Jews in Kolkata
The synagogue was built for the Jews of Kolkata who migrated to this part of the country from Baghdad (Iran) at around 1798 for trade. At that time more than 5000 Jews settled in Kolkata. Today the count has decreased to only 28 left in the city after the formation of Israel. The first recorded Jewish Immigrant was Shalon Cohen from Aleppo in present day Syria. Today one of the most influential Jews in the city are the descendants of Ezra. They founded Jewish Girls School and have five independent synagogues out of which only two are operational till date, Beth El and Magen David. As the Jews left the city, the structure is now declared as a heritage site and being under Archeological Survey of India. The caretakers are mostly Muslims hailing from coastal Odisha mainly Puri.
Note :- Nowadays permission is not required as the caretakers do keep track of the visitors visiting here.
Interiors of the synagogue
The Magen David Synagogue is approached through an arched door, containing the hexagonal “Star of David” and Hebrew inscription. The altar of the Magen David Synagogue is crowned with an Apse studded with stars which represents The Heaven. The large plaque in the middle contain the “Ten Commandments.” It also contains other Hebrew inscriptions engraved in the walls. Two sets of stairs from either side of the hall leads to the upper balconies, reserved for women.
Picview of Little Synagogue
Jew cuisine in Kolkata
The Jewish confectioner Nahoum's in the New Market holds a special place in Kolkata confectionery. David Elias Nahoum started the confectionary famous for crunchy brownies, delectable cheese muffins and delicious pastries. It's incomplete without their plum cakes and rich fruit cakes specially on Christmas eve. The legend lives on as the shop is being taken care by his brother Isaac Nahoum.
Other Notable Jews in Kolkata
Jael Silliman is the person behind collecting Jews records and storing them digitally. Her debut book "The Man With Many Hats" gives a glimpse of Kolkata from a bygone era.