book notice

Nathan Katz, University of South Florida NKATZ at CFRVM.EARN
Wed Mar 31 12:01:10 EST 1993


*** Resending note of 03/26/93 11:21
To: INDO    --CMSNAMES
 
From:  Nathan Katz, University of South Florida
 
Nathan Katz and Ellen S. Goldberg, THE LAST JEWS OF COCHIN: JEWISH IDENTITY IN
HINDU INDIA, University of South Carolina Press, 1993.
 
>From THE CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION (March 24, 1993): NOTA BENE As in
making a good kosher curry, the Jews of Cochin, India, blend two cultures in
their city on the Malabar coast. Their community, now greatly diminished by
emigration, is the subjectof THE LAST JEWS OF COCHIN: JEWISH IDENTITY IN HINDU
INDIA (University of South Carolina Press; 352 pages; $39.95) by Nathan Katz,
a professor of religious studies at the University of South Florida, and Ellen
S. Goldberg, editor of The Jewish Press of Tampa. The book recounts the
history of Cochin's Jews, who trace their arriva l in India to the Diaspora
that followed the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in A.D. 70.
The authors then draw on observations from a one-year stay in the communityto
show how the group has absorbed Hindu symbols of purity and nobility into
their culture, holding such "borrowings" to the standards of Halakhah (Jewish
law).
    Those Halakhic stanbdards broke down in a particularly sad way when,
centuries ago, the community divided itself into Hindu-style,
non-intermarrying subcastes, some of which were denied certain privileges in
the synagogue. Resentment of the subcastes even gave rise to a "Jewish
Gandhi", Abraham Barak Salem (1882-1967), who emulated the Mahatma in his use
of civil disobedience to challenge the divisions.
 
off.: 813/974-2221; FAX: 813/974-5911; res.: 813/837-4600
mail: USF, Religious Studies Dept., 4202 E. Fowler Ave., CPR304
Tampa, FL 33620-5550 (USA)
 
 




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