- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
Like many far-flung Jewish communities, the community in Kerala in southern India has dwindled to a mere 50 because of emigration since Israel's founding in 1948. British-Indian journalist Fernandes (Holy Warriors) portrays today's Keralite Jews as she relates her efforts to learn their history. There are two groups of Keralite Jews: the "Black," or Malabari, Jews, who trace their roots in India to at least A.D. 70, and the "White," or Paradesi, Jews, who arrived later, perhaps during the Middle Ages. Fernandes doesn't sugarcoat the two groups' embattled relationship. The Paradesi Jews believed their lighter skin showed their racial purity, calling the darker-skinned Jews descendants of slave converts. As late as 1950, marriages between the two communities were highly controversial. Despite the intriguing story Fernandes tells, she keeps readers waiting too long to uncover the history, and she concludes with the story of one elderly Keralite who had moved to Israel decades earlier; disillusioned by the fast-paced, secular life there, he returns to India-an anomalous ending for a book about a community that has overwhelmingly moved in the other direction. (July)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.