From: Anya Bernstein
Subject: Fieldnotes on the go
   Date: August 8, 2005 1:22:04 PM CEST
     To: Undisclosed recipients

Kochi is the largest city in Kerala, which has for centuries been the center for spice trade on the Malabar coast. Kochi is also home to the so-called "Cochin" or "Malabar" Jews - the oldest of the three ancient Indian Jewish communities (other two are Bene Israel and "Baghdadi" Jews). Cochin Jews themselves belong to several different immigration waves, the earliest believed to be traders from Palestine around 2,500 years ago, later joined by Middle Eastern and European Sephardic Jews. Today, most of Cochin Jews have immigrated to Israel, and the Jewish part of town has a ghost town feel to it. Despite the popular synagogue and occasional shops with names like "Sara's embroidery," it looks like this chapter in the history of the Jewish diaspora has been permanently closed.
Update 2007: In fact this shop was perhaps the only one we saw. Sarah Cohen has become a bit of a local celebrity, featured in multiple publications as the "last Jew of Kochi", most recently, Washington Post.

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