Kochi hosts Jewish wedding after 15 years, the first to be held outside a synagogue

US national Richard Zachary Rowe married Racheal Malakhai at a private resort in Kochi on Sunday.

BySreerag PS

Published May 22, 2023 | 12:53 PMUpdatedMay 22, 2023 | 2:03 PM

Kochi hosts Jewish wedding after 15 years, the first to be held outside a synagogue

NASA scientist Richard Zachary Rowe stomped on the glass as he embarked on a new journey with his bride, Racheal Malakhai, at Kochi in Kerala on Sunday, 21 May.

Breaking the glass is a Jewish ritual that tempers the joyous wedding mood and allows for a moment of recalling the destruction of temples, one of the tragic events in Jewish history.

The wedding, held at a private resort, was the first to be held in the city outside a synagogue — and the first after 15 years in Kochi.

Rabbi Ariel Tyson, who flew down from Israel, officiated the wedding under a canopy, called huppah — or chuppah.

Data scientist Rachael is the daughter of Benoy Malakhai, former superintendent of Crime Branch police, and Manjusha Miriam Emmanuel.

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Rituals based on Hebrew Bible 

Speaking to reporters on Monday, Rabbi Ariel Tyson said the Jewish weddings are based on the rules set in the Hebrew Bible, the Torah, and it is rich with Jewish traditions being performed for the past 2,000 years.

“The Jewish tradition is based on the rules of the Jewish Bible. It is about the promise by the bride and groom according to the rules laid by God in the Bible. This would be a short description of a Jewish wedding,” the rabbi said.

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First Jewish wedding outside synagogue

The wedding is also significant as it is the first Jewish marriage in the city to be conducted outside a synagogue. The last Jewish wedding in Kerala was in 2008, after a gap of nearly two decades, at the Thekkumbhagam Synagogue in Mattancherry.

Mattancherry Synagogue was built in 1568 (Supplied)

Since the synagogue could hold only a limited number of attendees, the latest ceremony was held at the private resort to allow other family members also to attend.

According to some historians, the first Jews to reach Kerala were traders and they arrived during the time of King Solomon, more than 2,000 years ago.

The number of Jews residing in the state has drastically reduced after most of themmigrated to Israel. Only a few families are now left in the state.

Jew Town, the area where most of the Kerala Jews resided, and where the synagogue is situated, is today a popular tourist destination for its quaint houses and old-world charm.

(With PTI inputs)