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Jewish Synagogue

Jewish Synagogue is the oldest synagogue in all the Commonwealth of Nations. Located in Kochi, Kerala, the synagogue was constructed in the year 1568, and is one of the seven synagogues of the Cochin Jewish community in the Kingdom of Cochin. It was built close to the Mattancherry Palace Temple on the land gifted by King Rama Varma, a former ruler of Kochi. It is also known by the name of Paradesi Synagogue and Mattancherry Synagogue.

About the Synagogue
As one approaches the synagogue, its white façade begins to appear prominently. A clock tower can also be seen, towering over and close to the façade. Once you step inside the synagogue, your eyes easily goes to the glass chandeliers and blue willow-patterned Chinese floor tiles.

The chandeliers of the synagogue are of Belgian origin. Some major attractions of the place are the scrolls of the law housed here, and several gold crowns received as gifts, along with the brass-railed pulpit.

The synagogue also houses some exclusive pieces from history, like the copper plates of privileges given to Joseph Rabban, the earliest known Cochin Jew, dating from the 10th century, written in Tamil, by the ruler of the Malabar Coast.

When you explore more of this synagogue, you will come across hundreds of 18th century Chinese hand-painted porcelain tiles lay on the floor. The synagogue also houses an oriental rug, which was a gift from Haile Selassie, the last Ethiopian emperor. The outer wall of the synagogue has a tablet from the earlier synagogue in Kochangadi in Kochi, with inscriptions that state the structure was built in the year 5105 as an abode for the spirit of God.

Ceremonies
Services are hard to organise here due to the declining numbers of the community in Cochin. They are only held when the quorum of ten male members is met.

Visiting Time
The Synagogue is open every day except Fridays, Saturdays and Jewish holidays.
Timings: Forenoon - 10 am to 12 noon; Afternoon - 3 pm to 5 pm.
Visitors are expected to enter the Synagogue barefoot.



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