Yerucham, Israel, May 5, 2015 (please revisit this post for photos to be added soon!)
Cinco de Mayo and we were the guests of the Indians.
No John Wayne – this congregation is the real thing.
Formed in 1962 by settlers from Bombay (Mumbai), Yerucham is home to approximately 200 Indian family members.
We arrived after minion and were greeted warmly. I suddenly remembered that today is my Grandmother’s yahrtzeit.
We discussed the similarities and differences of Indian Jewish customs and American Jewish customs. Our guide was on his toes as he was peppered with questions.
The synagogue was described by fellow volunteer, Lynne Elster, as having the nicest women’s section she had ever seen.
The Bimah is towards the center-front of the room facing a wood ark decorated with carvings. The ark opens to reveal a collection of sephardic style Torahs. These Torahs, different from the European style most of us are used to is in a hard case and the Torah is read while the scrolls are in the case, rather than being unrolled on a table.
We were treated to a presentation of traditional Indian drumming. Each of us took a turn at a drum while the leader directed our “band.” Jackie & Joe Koptowsky kept the beat and showed us all how to do it.
Earlier today I put my business hat on and was given a tour of the park which Yerucham wants to turn into a tourist attraction. They have built a temporary structure which will house events such as weddings, Bar (Bat?) Mitzvahs, corporate meetings and concerts.
Like many of the sites of Yerucham, it is construction in progress.
As I have been asked by my hosts for my honest assessment I pointed out that the trash and litter need to be placed under control. In discussion with the group this seems to be a common observation.
In contrast to the above, I ran into Dr Dan Sapir and his wife who spent their day painting the city’s fire hydrants. Where else would you see ordinary citizens volunteering to paint fire plugs.
But then, We are in Israel.