Global India: Kerala, Israel, Berkeley

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Torah Ark from the Tekkumbhagam Synagogue (Mattancherry, Kochi, Kerala, India)
Global India: Kerala, Israel, Berkeley

September 10th, 2013 - December 13th, 2013

East Bay
Tuesday-Friday, 11am-4pm
The University of California, University of California Berkeley
sculpture, photography, mixed-media, installation
Free to the public


Global India: Kerala, Israel, Berkeley unveils the extensive holdings of The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life documenting the history of the Jewish community in Kerala, South India. The exhibition will include over one hundred individual items, many of which were never catalogued before.

Through an active collecting campaign conducted in the 1960s and 1970s, The Magnes became one of the most extensive repositories of materials about the Jews of Southern India in the world, along with historic sites in Kerala and national and private collections in Israel. The Magnes Collection includes hundreds of ritual objects and textiles, Hebrew books, photographs, archival records and manuscripts in Hebrew, Aramaic, Malayalam, English, and Judeo-Spanish. These materials illustrate the history and the customs of one of the oldest communities in the Jewish Diaspora, following its development until its immigration to Israel in the 1950s. One of the most notable items is a 17th century Torah Ark from the Tekkumbhagam synagogue in Mattancherry, Kochi.

The exhibition focuses on the global ties of the Indian community, highlighting its connections with other Jewish groups across India, the Middle East, and Europe, as well as its full participation in the richly diverse culture of Kerala. The project will serve as a catalyst in engaging the scholarly community on the UC Berkeley Campus and beyond, intersecting Jewish and Asian Studies.

--Francesco Spagnolo, Curator

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