Community of Jews
In the heyday of the Jewish settlement in Kolkata the community strength was 6,000. The community declined in numbers after the formation of the Jewish state of Israel. At present there are fewer than 100 Jews in Kolkata.
British rule in India and Jews
During the British rule in India, Kolkata was a thriving metropolis, the capital of British East India Company and the commercial hub of India. It attracted numerous trading communities including the Jews. The first recorded Jewish immigrant to Kolkata was Shalom Aharon Obadiah Cohen, who arrived in Kolkata in 1798. Cohen was born in Aleppo in present-day Syria in 1762. He arrived in Surat in the year 1792 and established himself as a trader before moving to Kolkata. In 1805, his nephew Moses Simon Duek Ha Cohen arrived in Kolkata. He married his eldest daughter Lunah. In the early nineteenth century the Baghdadi Jews began to settle in large numbers in Kolkata, thus outnumbering the Jews from Aleppo.
The first generation of Jewish settlers in Kolkata spoke Judeo-Arabic at home and adhered to their Arabic style of costumes. The next generation of Jews adopted European dress and lifestyle and English as their language of communication.
Synagogues of Jews
The Jewish community has five independent synagogues in Kolkata, out of which two are in use. The first synagogue, now known as the Old Synagogue, was built by Shalome David Cohen. In 1825, Ezekiel Judah Jacob built the Neveh Shalom Synagogue on Canning Street. It was rebuilt in 1911. In 1856, David Joseph Ezra and Ezekiel Judah built the Beth El Synagogue on Pollock Street. It was rebuilt and extended in 1886 by Elias Shalom Gubbay. In 1884, Elias David Joseph Ezra built the Magen David Synagogue in memory of his father David Joseph Ezra.
West Bengal, Indian State
Tourism in Kolkata
History of Kolkata