Maharashtra State grants minority status to Jews

22 Jun 2016 | By Mansi Motwani
Judaism in India

Chairing a meeting of the State Cabinet, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis approved a proposal for acknowledging the Jewish community as a minority.

"This decision will benefit students from these communities to avail scholarships from the state government", the CM said.

This move was announced by then Maharashtra Minority Affairs Minister Eknath Khadse.

It is likely to make the life of Jewish members' more smooth.

In context: Judaism in India

BackgroundJews in India

The Jewish community has resided in the Indian society for more than 2,300 years.

As per the 2001 census, out of the 4,650 Jews living in India, Maharashtra was home to 2,566 of them.

In India, the community is spread across states of Kolkata, Manipur, Mizoram and Andhra Pradesh.

India remains one of the few countries globally where Jews haven't faced harassment or persecution.

22 Jun 2016Maharashtra State grants minority status to Jews

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Oldest Jewish community in India

Also known as Cochin Jews, Malabar Jews are the oldest group of Jews in India. Generations of them have been living on the Malabar Coast in Kerala . The formation of Israel in 1948 led to their migration from Kerala .
What the Jews gain out of this

BenefitsWhat the Jews gain out of this

Because of being recognised as an official minority community, the Jewish can enjoy several community-based privileges.

Registering marriages, setting up educational institutes in order to promote their culture will be much easier.

The minority status will enable them to receive funds for education and to secure heritage synagogues.

The community will be entitled to receive government subsidy to visit Jerusalem for pilgrimages.

Jews no longer 'others'

Until today, documents registering birth dates, death dates, and marriage dates of Jews categorised them as 'others' instead of carrying their religion.

Seventh Community

In the state of Maharashtra , Jews are the seventh community to be bestowed with minority status after Muslims, Buddhists, Christians, Sikhs, Jains and Zoroastrians ( Parsis ).
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LandmarksSites of Jewish heritage in Maharashtra

The Knesset Eliyahoo Synagogue and the Magen David Synagogue are located in South Mumbai.

The Knesset Eliyahoo Synagogue, located in Fort, is 150 years old.

There exists an old Jewish synagogue in Pen, Raigad district, and the Shaar Harahamim synagogue in Thane City.

The David Sassoon Docks and the David Sassoon Library are two other prominent Jewish landmarks found in Mumbai.