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Governor of the Indian state of Maharashtra proposes Jewish contribution in textbooks
Speaking at the 150th anniversary celebrations of the Ohel David Synagogue, the Governor highlighted the Jewish community's contributions in India.

Mr. C Vidyasagar Rao, Governor of Maharashtra recently suggested that a chapter be dedicated to the Jewish community's involvement in nation-building in the school curriculum.


"A majority of the people in India do not know about the Jewish community's contribution. I think there should be a separate chapter about the Jews in India and their contribution to nation building in the textbooks at the higher secondary level," Mr. Rao said.


He was speaking at the 150th anniversary celebrations of the Ohel David Synagogue - a landmark of the city colloquially known as 'Lal Deval' (Red Temple).


Widely believed to be the largest synagogue in Asia, David Sassoon had laid the foundation of the building in 1863 and it took four years for its completion.


"After he died, his sons finished the remaining work. He was buried within the compound," said Rabbi Yaaqob Menashe, a descendant of Sassoon.

The synagogue in all its splendour greeted devotees from the city as well as Mumbai, who had travelled to the city for the occasion.

"There are so few members of the Jewish community staying in Pune now. Usually on Sabbath, there are not more than 10 or 15 families at the synagogue. But it is nice to see so many people turning up for the occasion today," said Hayim Solomon Pezakar, who refuses to go to Israel where his son stays.

Indeed, the synagogue was packed to capacity with not a single empty chair either on the ground floor or the balcony above.

"I am sure people in Israel will be very proud to see this renovated synagogue as a part of their heritage and tradition," said Mr. David Akov, consul general of Israel in Mumbai, who was in the city for the first time.

The 150-year-old synagogue represents the deep roots that the Jews have in India, he said, adding that it also stood for a continuity with tradition.

Menashe, who described the occasion as an "emotional moment," said everything that the Sassoons have done, including building institutions such as Sassoon hospital, libraries, colleges and public monuments, was meant for India and its people.

Traditional Hebrew prayers were read and the menorah - the seven lamp-stand ubiquitous in Jewish custom - was lit.


Source: Times of India


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