23 January 2020 - 26 Tevet 5780 - כ"ו טבת ה' אלפים תש"פ
135-year-old synagogue in Mumbai restored E-mail

After an extensive 20-month restoration effort, the 135-year-old Knesset Eliyahoo synagogue in the Kala Ghoda area of Mumbai, India, popularly known as the Blue Synagogue, was inaugurated in February at an event that underlined secularism and gender equality.

The restored neo-classical structure was inaugurated by Israel’s Ambassador to India, Ron Malka, and the Governor of Maharashtra, C Vidyasagar Rao.

In a first, non-Jews will not only be allowed to take a look at the place of worship but will also be welcomed to take part in the prayers. Sending out a message of secularism, Solomon Sopher, the leader of the Baghdadi Jewish community in Mumbai, said: “Everyone is welcome here. Be it Muslim, Christian, Hindu or any other community.”

Ambassador Malka spoke of the bond between Israel and India. “Many Jews moved to Israel from India, playing an important role in strengthening the relationship between the two countries. I want to congratulate the Maharashtra government for formally recognising the Jewish community.”

Sangita Jindal, chairperson of the JSW Foundation, which contributed towards the restoration, said the message she wanted to give through the restoration was of secularism. “I was told that no woman has ever stepped inside the prayer area from where I am speaking today. It is a privilege that I got the opportunity,” she said.

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