Friday, November 16, 2018
Religion

JUDAISM

Judaism is the religion of the Hebrews. It is a religion older than Christianity. Moses was the first prophet and law giver of the Hebrews.

In order to save the Hebrews from the cruel Pharaohs of Egypt, Moses led them to the promised land of God. On the way, at Mount Sinai, Moses received the 'Ten Commandments' from Jehovah, the Supreme God. Thus around 1000BC the Hebrews established themselves in Israel.

Holy Books of the Law, the Prophets and the Psalms were put together and came to be known as the 'Hebrew Bible' or 'The Old Testament'. The 'Talmud' is the collection of detailed laws for the guidance of civil, domestic and social life of the Hebrews.

According to Judaism right conduct is more important than right belief. Judaism does not believe in self imposed suffering or asceticism. 

In India there are two ancient indigenous Jewish communities - Malayalam speaking Cochinites and the Marathi speaking Bene Israel (children of Israel). Ancestry of  Cochin Jews dates back to the period when King Solomon's merchant fleet began their trade. As per scholars the Jewish settled along Kerala's Malabar coast soon after the Babylonian conquest of  Judea in 586BC. They were well received by the rulers and granted a small Principality to Joseph Rabban, a Jewish leader. Their Synagogue at Cochin is one of the oldest in India and its interior is worth visiting. 

Today migration to Israel and other countries has considerably reduced the Indian Jewish population. Now, only a few of them remain in Cochin.