Indian Judaic Traditions

Shalva Weil

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The chapter opens by explaining the basic tenets of the Jewish religion and stating that Judaism has never been a significant religious force in South Asia. Nevertheless, three distinct Jewish communities were found in India: The Bene Israel of Maharashtra, the Cochin Jews of Kerala, and the “Baghdadi” Jews of Calcutta and Bombay. Today, an estimated 3, 500 Jews remain in India, while larger Indian Jewish diasporas flourish abroad, predominantly in Israel. The chapter surveys the cosmos and history of these three communities, pointing out that today other groups are also claiming to be “Lost Israelites” and in the process of Judaization. It is pointed out that the Jews of India never suffered anti-Semitism (except at the hands of the Portuguese for a brief period in history).

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReligions of India
Subtitle of host publicationAn Introduction, Second edition
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9781134791866
ISBN (Print)9781138681255
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2017
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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