Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Jews of India - their stories on paper

The Jews of India are comprised of a number of small communities of quite distinctive character. There are older settlements and there are the later arrivals from the Persian community. Below are a few works dealing with these distinctive communities. The first item is a notable book and quite uncommon. All of these are available via the Hollander Books website at the moment unless marked as sold.

Erkulkar, D. S., editor. The Israelite. Isarayala. Vol. 1, January 1917 - Tebeth 5677, No. 1. through Vol. 1, December 1917- Kislev 5678, No. 12. Bombay, India, R.J. Ezekiel, 1917. Octavo, light blue cloth with gold lettering, tear to the cloth at the head of the spine, minor worming to the boards, approximately 240 pp. with the original wrappers bound in., advertisements, yellowed paper with water-staining to the first page of the first issue, some mild worming internally. Hardbound. Good. Text is in Hebrew and Maranthi. This is the first year of eleven. The journal ceased publication mid-year on 1917. The National Library in Israel and the Klau Library at Hebrew Union College hold complete runs. A few institutions have volumes 6-8 which seem to be slightly more common or may simply be a copy cataloging phenomenon that masks the actual holdings of those institutions. The Hebrew Union College set is not listed via OCLC. I know it from direct examination.
English language articles in No. 1 are "Ourselves," the Editor, "Economics of a Bombay Bene-Israel Life," the Editor, "The Bene-Israel," K.B. Jacob B. Israel, "The Future of Our Community," A.S. Erkulkar, "The Community's Appreciation, Mr. Samson. English language articles in No. 2 are "The Needs of our Community," the Editor, "The Bene-Israel," K.B. Jacob B. Israel, "The Study of Hebrew among the Bene-Israel," H.S. Rubens, "Our Yellow Cover," R.J. Ezekiel, "Three Sisters," X, "Young men's Hebrew Association Poona," our correspondent. English language articles in No 3. are "The Needs of our Community," the Editor, "The Law of Inheritance and Succession among the Bene-Israels," I.J. Samson, "People Will Talk," a Lady Friend. English language articles in No. 4 are "The Needs of our Community," the Editor, "The Bene-Israel," D.J. Samson, "A Jewish Library," B.D. Shahapurker. English language articles in No. 5 are "The Needs of our Community," the Editor, "The Bene-Israel," D.J. Samson. English language articles in No 6. are "The Needs of our Community," the Editor, "The Bene-Israel," D.J. Samson. English language articles in No. 7 are "Lest We Forget," the Editor, "Marriage and Divorce among The Bene-Israel," D.J. Samson, "Poona New Synagogue Fund." English Language articles in No. 8 are "The Torah - Our Greatest Benefactor," W.M. Haffkine, "Marriage and Divorce among The Bene-Israel," D.J. Samson. English language articles in No. 9 are "Thoughts on Yom Kippur," the Editor, "A Page from the Past," S.D.A. Rohekar, "The Free Ophthalmic Hospital," "An Appeal to the Public." English language articles in No 10 are "What is a Conference," the Editor, "The Phrase 'an Eye for an Eye' and the Question of Reprisals," Herbert Loewe, "Queer Beliefs of the Arab Jews," I.A. Isaacs, "Stray Thoughts on Jewish Religion," G. Lewis, "The Israelite League." English language articles in No. 12 are "Communal Conference Contre-Temps," the Editor, "The Phrase 'an Eye for an Eye' and the Question of Reprisals," Herbert Loewe, "Rules and Regulations for the Conference.
Each issue includes News & Notes, Correspondence and some contain gleanings. Each issue has a section in Maranthi equal in size to the section in English which sadly your cataloger cannot read or explicate. One more item for the linguistic bucket-list. (78221)
Indian Jewish imprints are hard to come by. Printing arrived in Goa in the 16th Century but the number of imprinted produced by the various Indian Jewish communities is not large. The Israelite comes from a period of some comfort and success for the Bene-Israel community.    Sold

Ahva: Registered under the Bombay Public Trusts Act, 1950. (Regd. No D 247). Report and Statement of Accounts for the Years 1975 to 1979. Bombay, India, Ahva, c/o Mr. Samuel Hannock, 1979. Octavo, stapled paper covers, 40 pp. Softbound. Very Good.  (40426)   $30.00

Astren, Fred. The Printed Book in India: Imprints of the Blumenthal Rare Book and Manuscript Library. Berkeley, CA, Judah L. Magnes Museum, 1992. First Edition. Small octavo, stapled paper covers, 46 pp., b/w illustrations, bibliography, index. Softbound. Very Good. A catalog of 141 items in the collection with short physical descriptions and with illustrations of some title pages and plates from the items. (29386)     $14.95

Congregation BINA: Rosh Hashana Special Issue. New York, September 29, 1981. New York, Congregation BINA, 1981. Royal octavo, paper covers creased across the horizontal center, 8 pp. Softbound. Good. A Bene Israel [Indian Jewish] New York synagogue community bulletin. (68576)   $10.00

Fernandes, Edna. The Last Jews of Kerala: The 2, 000 Year History of India's Forgotten Jewish Community. New York, Skyhourse Publishing, 2008. First Edition. ISBN: 978-1-60239-267-0. Octavo in dust jacket, xxii, 228 pp., b/w photos, references. The Kerala community traces its roots to the time of the destruction of the second temple but it has faded now to just a few dozen. It was comprised of the White Jews of Mattancherry and the Black Jews of Ernakulam. Hardbound. Very Good.  (66842)     $3.95

Isenberg, Shirley Berry. India's Bene Israel: A Comprehensive Inquiry and Sourcebook. Berkeley, California, Judah L. Magnes Museum, 1988. First Edition. Octavo in dust jacket, xxxii, 443 pp., b/w photos, three fold-out maps, statistical tables, glossary and historical notes for Indian Terms used in the book, glossary and notes for Jewish terms used in this book, bibliography, index. Hardbound. Very Good. A thorough scholarly study of the largest of India's three major Jewish communities. What began for the author as an anthropological work expanded to include a clear exposition of the Indian environment and of the history of the community. The Bene Israel lived largely in the area of Bombay and in the adjacent Kolaba district along the western coast of India. A thriving community that peaked in the 1940s, the Bene Israel are now a very small remnant.  (29383)     $30.00

Judah, Aaron. Clown on Fire. New York, The Dial Press, 1967. First Edition. Small octavo in dust jacket, xx, 211 pp. Hardbound. Very Good.  (22613)  A young adult novel with a Lithuanian-Iranian heritage boy growing up in India. The story features all sorts of troublesome young people's behavior in the company of Jews, Muslims and Hindus. The book won The Dial Press Fellowship Award for fiction for 1967.    $9.00

Judah, Sophie. Dropped from Heaven: Stories. New York, Schocken Books, 2007. First Edition. ISBN: 978-0-8052-4248-5. Octavo in dust jacket, x, 245 pp. Hardbound. Very Good.  (66144)  Nineteen interconnected stories set in the mythical village of Jwalanager among the Bene Israel.    $8.00

Sargon, Joe I., editor. The Jewish Tribune: India's Leading Jewish Paper. Vol. I-No. 4m June 1st 1933.-Sivan 5693. Shabuoth Number. Bombay, India, 1933. Small quarto, stapled paper covers, 38 pp., ads. Softbound. Good.  (39065)      $25.00

Sargon, Joe I., editor. The Jewish Tribune: India's Leading Jewish Paper. Vol. I-No. 6, August 1st 1933.-AB 5693. Bombay, India, 1933. Small quarto, stapled paper covers, 34 pp., ads. Softbound. Good.  (39066)     $25.00

Silliman, Jael. Jewish Portraits, Indian Frames: Women's Narratives from a Diaspora of Hope. Hanover, New Hampshire, Brandeis University Press, published by University Press of New England, 2001. ISBN: 1-58465-305-1. Octavo, paper covers, x, 198 pp., b/w photos, references, index. Softbound. Very Good.
Jewish Portraits, Indian Frames offers a personal and social history of the author's foremothers -- Baghdadi Jews who lived most of their lives in the Jewish community in Calcutta. Jael Silliman begins with a portrait of Farha, her maternal great-greandmother, who dwelled almost entirely within the Baghdadi Jewish community no matter where she and her husband traveled on business (Calcutta, Rangoon, Singapore). Next is her maternal grandmother, Miriam (Mary), who was much more Anglicized than Farha and deeply influenced by British colonial practices. The third portrait, of Silliman's mother, Flower, reveals a woman in a double transition: her own and India's. Flower grew up in colonial India, witnessed India's struggle for independence, and lived her middle years in an independent India. The final sketch is of Silliman herself. Born in Calcutta in 1955 in the waning Jewish community, Silliman grew up in a cosmopolitan and Indian world, rather than a Baghdadi Jewish one. Silliman's own travels have taken her to the US, where, as a teacher and scholar, her primary identification is with the "South Asian intellectual and professional diaspora." These rich family portraits convey a sense of the singular roles women played in building and sustaining a complex diaspora in what Silliman calls "Jewish Asia" over the past 150 years. Her sketches of the everyday lives of her fore-mothers -- from the food they ate and the clothes they wore to the social and political relationships they forged -- bring to life a community and a culture, even as they disclose the unexpected and subtle complexities of the colonial encounter as experienced by Jewish women. (41826)      $12.50
Sofaer, Pearl. Baghdad to Bombay: In the Kitchens of My Cousins. Eastsound, WA, Paper Jam Publishing, 2008. ISBN: 978-1-888345-24-7. Octavo, glossy paper covers, 238 pp., b/w photos, recipes, Hindi terms, errata sheet. Softbound. Very Good. "Pearl Sofaer was born and grew up in Bombay, India. Her large family originated in Baghdad and Kirkuk, Iraq, before migrating to Burma and India during the latter part of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th. After the partition of India in 1947, most of her family moved to the four corners of the globe to become a living collage of many nations. One of the results of their rich heritage and embrace of their new cultures has been an expanded repertoire of cuisine, grounded, of course, by the traditional foods of Iraq and India. Food continues to be the centerpiece of celebrations hosted by members of this vast clan, many of who generously opened their kitchens to their cousin." from pearlsofaerdotcom (49383)     $19.95

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