Anniversary marked at Mumbai synagogue

By Jennifer Lipman, December 22, 2011

The Jewish community of Mumbai has marked 150 years since the founding of a synagogue by Jews from Baghdad.

The Magen David Synagogue in Byculla was built in 1861 by the former leader of the Baghdadi Jewish community and is one of the oldest in the country.

India was once a thriving hub of Jewish life but its population has declined in recent decades. There are now an estimated 4,000 to 5,000 Jews left in India, the majority of them in Mumbai, with tiny communities in towns like Mattancherry.

Dignitaries from Israel, the US and France were at the synagogue for a ceremony in celebration
David Sassoon, the synagogue founder, fled to India in 1828 to escape persecution. He and his eight children were key figures in building Jewish life in what was then Bombay, setting up synagogues, hospitals and schools.

Last updated: 11:39am, December 22 2011