Karachi synagogue in the 1970s
The history and plight of Pakistan's vanished Jews has elicited much interest on this blog, especially from Pakistani Muslims. Point of No Return was therefore excited to hear from Yifa Yaacov, the great grand-daughter of a Karachi Jew called Rachael. But we were also sad to learn from Yifa that their specific culture has been lost to Jews like herself. Yifa invites comments from interested readers:
"I am the great-granddaughter of a Karachi Jew named Rachael. Her father was a jailer in Karachi. She moved to Mumbai and Gujarat and died in Ahmedabad in 1973. My great-grandfather, a Maharashtran Jew, died in Israel. I visited her grave this past summer. It touched me deeply and I started to learn Urdu (maybe I will get to Marathi someday). I only wish I could visit Rachaelbai's birthplace in Karachi. What kind of a world is it where a great-granddaugher cannot see the birthplace of the great-grandmother after whom she is named.
"The family today is scattered between southern Israel, the East coast of the US, Dubai and Mumbai. Our Indian Jewish culture is almost completely lost to us. Over 50 years after my grandfather sailed for New York from Bombay's Sassoon Docks (named, of course, after a Baghdadi Jew, two of my other grandparents were these), all we have is threads of the culture of our forefathers.
"It seemed hysterical to the point of sadness to me that my Indian relatives would refer to the synagogue as both "mandir" and "masjid." So lucky to have ended up in a territory characterized by a confluence of Hindu and Muslim cultures, so unlucky to have been encouraged to leave, hide, intermarry or die out.
You are welcome to share your thoughts with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.