Introduction to Jewish Batumi Batumi, the capital of Adjara, Georgia is a city with an intriguing and vibrant Jewish history. Located on the eastern shore of the Black Sea, Batumi has been home to many Jewish families for centuries. From its earliest days as a major trading port in antiquity to its modern-day role as a center for tourism and culture, Batumi's rich Jewish heritage still remains evident throughout the city today. This article will explore Batumi’s historic Jewish quarter and important cultural sites related to Judaism, such as synagogues and cemeteries. We will also look at famous figures from this period who made their mark on the city’s history—from rabbis to writers—as well as contemporary Jews who have lived or died here in recent years. Finally, we will take a look at how Batumian Jews have contributed to local life through their food, music and arts over time. Join us now on our journey through Jewish Batumi! [caption id="attachment_46695" align="alignnone" width="960"] Batumi City | Attributions: Dmitry A. Mottl, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons[/caption] Jewish Culture and History in Batumi Early Jewish Life in Batumi Jews have been living in Batumi for centuries. The earliest known Jewish settlers arrived in the city as early as the 16th century, when it was a major trading port of the Ottoman Empire. These Jews were mainly traders and merchants who came to take advantage of its bustling economy. Life for these early Jewish inhabitants was difficult but also full of opportunity; they had access to education and religious freedom, yet faced discrimination from local authorities due to their religion. Despite this, many Jews prospered in Batumi during this period and made significant contributions to the city's culture and economy. Jews in Batumi were mainly traders and merchants who took advantage of the city's bustling economy. They also contributed to local life through their skilled crafts, such as goldsmithing and carpentry. In addition, they were involved in banking and moneylending, providing vital financial services to the community. Furthermore, Jewish culture had a strong influence on the city's art scene—from theater performances to music—and many Batumian Jews became famous writers, poets and musicians during this period. All these contributions helped make Batumi an important cultural center for centuries. Recent and Contemporary Jewish Life in Batumi Jews have a long and storied history in Georgia, with records of Jewish settlements dating back to the 6th century. The first known Jewish communities were established in Mtskheta and Tbilisi during this time. Over the centuries, more Jews migrated to Georgia from other parts of Europe and the Middle East, with many settling in Batumi by the 16th century. These early settlers mainly traded goods and provided financial services for their neighbors, as well as contributing to local culture through music, theater performances and literature. Today there is still a strong presence of Jews living in Batumi who are proud to be part of its vibrant cultural heritage. Today, Jews living in Batumi enjoy the same religious freedom and economic opportunities as other residents. The Jewish community is well-integrated into everyday life, with many of its members involved in business, politics and culture. In addition to celebrating traditional holidays like Passover and Hanukkah, there are also a number of organizations dedicated to preserving Jewish culture in the city such as the Batumi Jewish Heritage Center. This center works to promote awareness about local history through exhibitions, lectures and workshops on topics related to Judaism. Furthermore, it hosts various cultural events throughout the year which bring together people from different backgrounds for music performances, art shows and more. Iconic Attractions and Events in Batumi The Jewish Quarter in Batumi The Jewish Quarter of Batumi, Georgia is a charming and historically rich neighborhood that dates back to the 19th century. This neighborhood was once home to a thriving Jewish community that played a significant role in shaping the culture and economy of the city. The area's architecture is a beautiful blend of European and Oriental styles, which adds to the neighborhood's unique character. Visitors to the Jewish Quarter can explore its fascinating history, stroll along its narrow streets, and take in the stunning buildings that adorn the area. The synagogue located in the heart of the neighborhood is a must-see attraction and serves as a testament to the community's enduring heritage and culture. Batumi Synagogue Jewish people arrived in Batumi after the Russian-Turkish war in 1877-1878. In 1899, Emperor Nicholas II of Russia granted permission to the Jewish Diaspora to construct a stone synagogue in the city, which was named the "Ashkenazi" synagogue. The construction began in 1900 and was completed in 1904 under the supervision of architect Semion Vulkovich, who was inspired by the synagogues in Amsterdam and The Hague. The Batumi Synagogue served Ashkenazi Jews until 1923 when it was closed down by the Soviet Government and used for sports organizations. However, it was returned to the Jewish community in 1993, restored to its original function in 1998, and renovated the same year. In 2011, it was granted cultural heritage status. The synagogue is currently attended by about 70 Jews, and it is also visited by many tourist groups from Israel. Beit Chabad Batumi, which is located nearby, offers kosher Georgian and Israeli dishes and is particularly active during the summer influx of Israeli tourists. [caption id="attachment_46693" align="alignnone" width="2000"] New Jewish Synagogue in Batumi | Attribution: AEPJ[/caption] Jewish Graveyard in Batumi The Jewish Graveyard in Batumi is situated in the Beenze district, adjacent to the Georgian cemeteries. The graveyard is a significant historical and cultural site for the local Jewish community. It has been in use since the late 19th century when Jewish people settled in Batumi after the Russian-Turkish war. The graveyard is a reminder of the Jewish presence in the city and contains the graves of many prominent members of the community. Despite its historical and cultural significance, the graveyard has suffered from neglect over the years, and many of the graves have fallen into disrepair. However, efforts are being made to restore and preserve this important site for future generations. [caption id="attachment_46694" align="alignnone" width="2000"] Batumi Jewish Cemetery | Attribution: AEPJ[/caption] Popular Hanukkah Celebrations Hanukkah is an eight-day Jewish holiday that celebrates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem by the Maccabees. During this time, Jews around the world light a menorah and exchange gifts to commemorate the miracle of Hanukkah. In Batumi, Hanukkah celebrations are marked with special events throughout the city such as parades, concerts and parties. The highlight of these festivities is the annual lighting ceremony that takes place on Beach Boulevard where people gather to sing traditional songs and watch as hundreds of candles come together to form a giant menorah. Other popular activities include visiting local synagogues for prayer services, playing dreidel games at home with family and friends, eating traditional foods like latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (jelly donuts), exchanging presents among loved ones, and more! Iconic Personality of Batumi Mr. Rafael Wilschanski Rafael Wilschanski was born in Radom, Poland in November 1924 but spent his formative years in Batumi. His parents came from the Lubavitch community in Ukraine, and due to their religion, they frequently moved to avoid arrest and Siberian exile. Rafael did not attend a Jewish school but instead went to an underground one in Kursk, Russia, where he remained for six years. During the German occupation of Russia, many Jews were arrested and killed, but Rafael managed to keep in contact with his family, who eventually reunited in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. They then moved to Poland, where Rafael learned about the extermination camps. The family escaped through Czechoslovakia to Vienna and then went to a displaced persons camp in Germany. Later, they moved to Paris, where Rafael lived for 25 years and assisted the Lubavitch office. He eventually got married and continued to practice his religion. Despite facing many challenges due to his Jewish faith, Rafael remained committed to his beliefs and worked tirelessly to preserve the memory and heritage of the Jewish community. Summary of Batumi's Jewish Story Batumi is an ancient city with a rich Jewish history and culture. From the early days of settlement to modern times, Jews have been an important part of Batumi's development and growth. Although it has experienced periods of decline, today there are many places where you can explore its unique Jewish heritage including synagogues, cemeteries, popular Hanukkah celebrations and iconic personalities like Rafael Wilschanski who proudly held on to his faith throughout turbulent times. Whether you’re looking for religious or cultural experiences in Batumi or simply want to take a walk back through time, this beautiful coastal town offers something special for everyone!
Jewish Heritage Tour of Kolkata includes visit to the most fascinating three synagogues viz. Magen David, Neveh Shalom and Beth-El. At the Beth-El Synagogue gallery there is an exhibition of the Kolkata Jewish Heritage giving the history of the Jewish Community of Kolkatta and the many events that glorified the community over the last Century. We shall arrange your visit to the Jewish Girl's School of Kolkata where you will meet with the Adminstrator of the School and the Jewish Community. You will be invited to the Nahoum's Bakery in the New Market of Kolkata where you will see a variety of Confectionery and can order a Challa Bread for the Shabbath. The last stop in the Jewish tour of the Kolkata is at the Cemetery where you will observe one of the most unique Geniza which is located at the Centre. While returning back via Park Street you will see some of the former homes of the Sassoons' or Elias or Meyer families who dominated the Jews of Kolkata.
The Hebrew word Mishpachah means family – we invite you to join ours. The day-long Mishpachah Festival will celebrate and explore Jewish genealogy, heritage, and immigration with JewishGen, the Museum’s genealogy arm, and other partners. Overlooking the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, the stories of Jewish families and experiences around the world through time will converge in New York City at the Museum of Jewish Heritage. The festival will feature music, activities for kids and families, Jewish genealogy lectures, cooking demonstrations, Jewish heritage panels, and more.
Ambuja Neotia is one of the most prominent and respected corporate houses headquartered in Kolkata, with its forte in real estate and recent forays into hospitality, healthcare and education. The company, under the stewardship of Harshavardhan Neotia, has been responsible for landmark projects in and around Kolkata. Udayan, Kolkata’s first condo villa built on the PPP (Public-Private Partnership) model, made good living ‘affordable’ for the first time in the country and earned Harshavardhan Neotia the Padma Shri in 1999. Upohar~TheCondoville, one of the largest residential projects of Ambuja Neotia, brought together efficiency, comfort and luxury, transforming dreams into reality. With City Centre Salt Lake, the mall concept was revolutionized. Leisure destinations like The Fort Raichak and Ganga Kutir were created along the river Ganges. The Group also forayed into healthcare with the setting up of Bhagirathi Neotia Woman and Child Care Centre. Ecospace Business Park was developed to give the city smarter, greener workspaces for better work-life balance. The Conclave revolutionized the way business clubs were perceived; it’s the first of its kind to blend fine dining, decor and personalized service. With the vision of imparting education that transforms students into leaders for a global society, the Group embarked on a new journey with The Neotia University. The Group continues to launch strings of projects across Real Estate, Hospitality and Healthcare to add to the experiences and keep making a difference to the way people live.
Housed in a 1783 building with a colonial-era vibe, the memorabilia-filled iconic heritage hotel has been shaped by the hands and minds of generations of families whose memories and influences have contributed to the unique heritage. Since 1783, The Elgin Fairlawn has stood on the junction of Madge Lane and Sudder Street. This is the heart of the most cosmopolitan and vibrant part of the city. It is within two minutes walk from the famous New Market area, a 100 years old market. Heritage buildings like the Indian Museum, Victoria Memorial and the enthralling Park Street are just beyond. Park Street Metro Station is a few hundred meters away. The Hotel has received several awards that include Six National Awards from the Ministry of Tourism and the Green Hotelier Award. In an attempt to blend historic grandeur with contemporary class, The Elgin Fairlawn will undergo restoration for the next two years. Your stay will now be even more enhanced by upgraded guest rooms, lobby and the lounge area. Whether you are traveling for business or for leisure, we are excited to give our guests a better experience than ever before.
Nahoum & Sons is an Indian bakery shop situated in West Bengal. It is one of the oldest surviving shops in Kolkata owned by a Jewish family. The products of Nahoum & Sons at Christmas are a part of the culture of Kolkata. Various famous personalities of India have eaten this foods of this bakery. Nahoum Israel Mordecai was a Baghdadi Jew who was the founder of the shop. It was founded 26 years after the establishment of New Market in the city. The Hog Market could be seen from the front of the shop. He changed the location of the shop 14 years after the establishment of the bakery. His son Elias took the responsibility of the shop from second generation. After his death in 1964 his son David Nahoum from third generation of the family took up the responsibility to manage the shop. His brothers Norman and Solomon had the responsibility of store at various times. After death of David in 2013, his brother Issac took the responsibility.
Haji Syed Mohammad Kalim built a small eatery more than 40 years ago to provide lip-smacking Mughlai dishes at pocket-friendly prices. The place garnered immense popularity in no time because they delivered palatable delicacies consistently at a very reasonable range. Today the proprietors of India Restaurant, Syed Anwar Azeem, Syed Misbah Kalim, and Syed Shahmeer Kalim, took forward the legacy of their father to a different dimension. They have collected their father’s dream and changed it into a beautiful reality. The India restaurant currently provides a delightful and vibrant ambiance having a seating arrangement for 300 people. The restaurant now has added heterogeneity in its menu with Indian and Chinese cuisine. This place still holds its roots and swears by serving the best biryani in town. It is also exploring and experimenting with other flavours and cuisines to give new aspects to the place.
For over a decade Koshe Kosha (KK) has strived to bring back the authenticity of Bengal’s culinary heritage whilst bringing the cuisine to a more contemporary palate. As a unit of Proem Hospitality, KK was created with the single vision to promote the flavours that form this unique cuisine, to a wider audience. With multiple restaurants across India, the food at Koshe Kosha is known for its distinct “Bangaliana”*. Our signature dishes Kosha Mangsho, Chingri Malai Biryani and Bhekti Paturi have brought a smile to thousands of patrons. We are on a quest to bring this same smile and gastronomical experience to the world. Our original menu was limited to the age old “Kosha Mangsho and Basanti Polao” combination. The roots of this confluence originated from North Kolkata but its authenticity was on the verge of extinction. Therefore in the summer of 2007, KK was born with a small space in Hatibagan, Kolkata with the drive to bring this classic back. Over the years, we have added to the menu in order to represent the larger vision of taking this cuisine to new heights. KK has been able to add numerous restaurants in our portfolio and gained years of experience under our belt however, “Kosha Mangsho” will always remain our favourite and most popular dish! *”Bangaliana” – Although definitions can typically vary and be quite abstract, we regard this term as being associated with providing a true reflection of the traits that defines being a Bengali. A projection of the energy, sentiments, culture, thoughts & habits that originate from this historic region.
India is a vast country of dramatic contrasts, extraordinary cultural richness, and religious diversity. Any visitor to India can choose from a wide array of tours. What distinguishes ours is its "insider's perspective." I was born in Calcutta to a family with Baghdadi roots; I live in the United States today and speak widely about the Indian Jewish communities--always adding music wherever I go. My tour partner, Joshua Shapurkar, is a member of the Bene Israel community of Bombay and has been leading general and Jewish tours for twenty-five years. Together we have an intimate knowledge of the Indian Jewish communities and close relationships with its members. You, too, will be treated as part of our broader family. You will meet and interact with community members, enjoy local hospitality, experience India's magnificent cultural tapestry, and enjoy its rare Jewish treasures. We will attend Shabbat services together in Bombay and Calcutta. I will lead services in the Baghdadi-Indian tradition in the Maghen David Synagogue, where my father was rabbi, and share my memories with you as we walk together through streets and bazaars. Our accommodations are deluxe--and you won't have to worry about meals or transportation in India: almost everything is included. Please join us on this unforgettable adventure!
Kolkata's Jewish Synagogues sum-up as the important architectural heirlooms from the colonial period in Kolkata. IF you are really looking forward for an historical and cultural treat then include this astonishing tour on your must-visit list right away! We visit below historic and beautiful synagogues in Kolkata: 1. Neveh Shalome Synagogue: The first Baghdadi prayer house in India was formed out of a converted residence. It was Built in 1831, later in 1912 the synagogue was rebuilt again, with fairly simple interiors. 2. Maghen David synagogue: Believed to be Built in 1884, this is in fact one of India’s grandest and largest synagogue whose architectural brilliance will bewilder you, once inside. 3. Beth El Synagogue: Its impressive blue and white interior is lined with imposing columns, decorated with stained-glass clerestories, intricate wood work and antique glass chandeliers.
Enjoy a guided tour of Kolkata’s historic Synagogues. Learn about the history of the ancient Synagogues that have stood tall for so long in Kolkata. Stop at 115 year old Jewish Bakery. Don’t miss Jewish Heritage tour of Kolkata.
Neveh Shalom Synagogue was the first synagogue ever to be built in Kolkata by the Baghdadi Jews. The synagogue was originally built in the year 1831 to meet the needs of growing Jewish population in Kolkata. Originally designed as simply a prayer hall, after about sixty years it was found to be too small and so was demolished. In it’s place came up the magnificent Magen David Synagogue, which is currently also one of Asia’s largest synagogue. Though the Neveh Shalom Synagogue got replaced by another bigger synagogue, people were still nostalgic about it and in the year 1911 it was rebuilt right next to the Magen David Synagogue. Much simpler in design, the synagogue is more like a prayer hall and is literally a catalogue of Jews in the city. The population of Jews in the city is close to nil, so the synagogue is hardly ever used for prayers now, except on special occasion when Jews often come from Israel to offer prayers. It’s actually the funds from these patrons which keeps the place alive even today.