CHURCHES & SYNAGOGUES OF COLONIAL CALCUTTA - Neveh Shalom
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CHURCHES & SYNAGOGUES OF COLONIAL CALCUTTA – Neveh Shalom

Naveh Shalom Synagogue, Kolkata

Neveh Shalom, means the oasis of Peace, is notable as the first Baghdadi Jewish community house of prayer in India. It was built by Shalom Obaida-Ha-Cohen in 1831 in the memory of his father Shalom Ha-Cohen. The Neveh Shalom is actually a very simple prayer hall and is not at all ornamented and magnificent as the Magen David Synagogue, which is situated right beside it.

Naveh Shalom Synagogue
Naveh Shalom Synagogue (Pic By Avijit Sarkar)

The original Neveh Shalom synagogue was demolished in 1884 and was replaced by the Magen David Synagogue. But in 1910, Neveh Shalom was rebuilt by the Calcutta Jewish community, by the side of the newly built Magen David Synagogue.

Once, during the heyday of the Jewish settlement in Kolkata, the community was 6,000 strong. But their number declined drastically after the formation of the Jewish state of Israel in 1948. With diminishing numbers, service gradually stopped in the synagogues and they were left in neglect and uncared for. In the 2000, the Beth El and the Magen David Synagogue were declared heritage sites by Archeological Survey of India and were brought under the protective wings of the ASI. But, for reasons unknown, the Neveh Shalom was not fortunate enough to earn the heritage tag and remain neglected. It was later, the Jewish community of Calcutta took the initiative and the responsibility to restore the Synagogue.

Naveh Shalom inside
Naveh Shalom inside (Pic by: visitjewishindia.com)

The Neveh Shalom synagogue, located at the intersection of Canning Street and Brabourne Road, is actually a simple prayer hall with rows of adequate seating arrangements for assembly. Like the other synagogues, it also has an upper floor, complete with an altar for the Jewish marriage ceremony, called Hoopa.

Location Naveh Shalom Synagogue

Location of Naveh Shalom Synagogue

Dibyendu Banerjee
Dibyendu Banerjee
Ex student of Scottish Church College. Served a Nationalised Bank for nearly 35 years. Authored novels in Bengali. Translated into Bengali novels/short stories of Leo Tolstoy, Eric Maria Remarque, D.H.Lawrence, Harold Robbins, Guy de Maupassant, Somerset Maugham and others. Also compiled collections of short stories from Africa and Third World. Interested in literature, history, music, sports and international films.

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