Here's a great tip:
Enter your email address and we'll send you our weekly magazine by email with fresh, exciting and thoughtful content that will enrich your inbox and your life, week after week. And it's free.
Oh, and don't forget to like our facebook page too!
A new online course
Starting January 22nd
Register »
Contact Us

India TV: The Muslim Caretakers of Historic Indian Synagogue

India TV: The Muslim Caretakers of Historic Indian Synagogue

Finding common ground in a holy place

 Email
Jews and Muslims attend the rededication of a 161-year-old synagoge in Kolkata, India. (Photo: NDTV)
Jews and Muslims attend the rededication of a 161-year-old synagoge in Kolkata, India. (Photo: NDTV)

Muslims have been taking care of Kolkata’s historic Beth El Synagogue for much of its 161 years. It’s a story of co-existence and co-operation that locals say captures India’s spirit, especially at a time when religious tensions grip many parts of the globe.

The current caretaker, a Muslim man named Gurfan, inherited the role from his father, who tended to the house of worship for more than four decades. During that time, he watched the Jewish population in the city dwindle from a high of several thousand strong to just a few dozen. Yet the caretakers remained dedicated to the sacred site.

The synagogue was recently refurbished and celebrated as part of an event attended by the handful of Jews there, as well as many non-Jewish well-wishers, including mostly Muslim students from the Jewish Girls School Kolkata, founded in 1881. Since the 1960s, however, it has been been catering to a mostly non-Jewish student body.

The rabbi of the synagogue, Rabbi Tzvi Rivkin, co-director of Chabad-Lubavitch of Bangalore some 1,200 miles away, told Chabad.org: “It is fitting that the children of Abraham—Jews and Muslims—have found common ground in a holy religious place.”

A New Dehli news channel, NDTV, visited the Beth El Synagogue to share this story, which was broadcast to its national audience and published on its website.

RELATED


© Copyright, all rights reserved. If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to distribute it further, provided that you comply with Chabad.org's copyright policy.
Join the Discussion
Sort By:
1 Comment
1000 characters remaining
Afshin LOS ANGELES January 12, 2018

Wish everything was like this Reply

Connect with us
RSS
In the Media
Find A Chabad Center Near You
Chabad-Lubavitch Directory