The members of this New York-based NGO visited Tripunithura on Thursday to pay their respects to the Cochin royal family, who let members of the Jewish community settle down here and conduct business when they were facing persecution elsewhere. The organisation works for the welfare of the Jewish community around the world.
The team, led by David Michael, vice-president of the organisation, were received by members of the Cochin Royal Family Historical Society (CRFHS) outside the Sree Poornathrayesa Temple in the evening. The team had come to visit New Delhi following an invitation from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
They visited Thattu Malika, the over 100-year-old architectural marvel adjacent to the temple. The group was later given a reception at Kalikotta Palace. Team members complimented the religious tolerance of the city where different communities coexist.
Daniel S Mariaschin, executive vice-president and CEO of the organisation, said, "Kochi is a beacon of tolerance in the world which is witnessing chaotic wars in the name of religion today. After our earlier visit to Kochi, we had conducted a photo exhibition showing religious tolerance back in the US. It was a huge success. This time too, we want to shed light on the cultural coexistence of the city to other parts of the world."
The team learnt about the current situation of the synagogue in Mala and the dwindling Jewish community in Kochi. "Currently, we have not decided on steps to be taken to preserve the synagogue in Mala. A decision will be taken after we return to the US," David said.
The organisation had an office in Mumbai till the 1990s, but it was closed later. Daniel said they want to re-establish the organisation in Mumbai to strengthen the relationship between India, Israel and the US. The team will be here in Kochi for the next three days.
They will visit the Mattancherry Synagogue and other parts of the city on Friday.