Video courtesy of jn1.tv
Charles and Camilla attended a special prayer service at the Pardesi Synagogue, one of the oldest synagogues in the British Commonwealth.
The British royals were shown historical artifacts from the medieval Jewish synagogue and following the birthday ceremony the royal couple walked through a nearby Jewish street in an area where the local Malabari Jews established a prosperous trading community in the Middle Ages.
At that time they controlled a major portion of world-wide spice trade and by 1568, the Jews of Kerala constructed the Paradesi Synagogue; which has stood to this day.
Today, in conformity with the Hindu and Islamic traditions of Kerala, worshippers are required to enter the Paradesi Synagogue barefoot. Other cultural facets which are unique to Kerala’s Jewish community, and which are results of Hindu influence, include special colors of clothing for each festival, circumcision ceremonies performed at public worship, and distribution of grape-soaked myrtle leaves at certain festivals.
Thousands of Indian Jews have made aliyah and migrated to Israel since the Jewish state’s creating in 1948. Indian Jews today make up about 1% of Israel’s total population, that’s close to 70,000 people. There are thought to be around 5,000 Jews still living in India.
The British royals are coming towards the end of their nine-day trip to India. Their final leg of their tour will take in Sri Lanka.