ERNAKULAM (formerly Angicaymal), town in Kerala, India, about 5 mi. (8 km.) from *Cochin. A community of "black Jews" is known to have existed there since the 15th century. Moses *Pereira de Paiva (1687) lists it as the second largest Jewish settlement on the Malabar Coast after Cochin, with 150 families. In 1970 "Jew Street" contained two large synagogues, Theckoobagam (said to have been built in 1625) and Kadvoobhagam (1150), formerly containing valuable liturgical objects; services were held in them alternately on the Sabbath and festivals. Two old cemeteries lie some distance from this street. In 1922, the elders of the synagogues wrote to the British Zionist Federation expressing their desire to settle in Palestine. In recent years the community has declined, mainly because of emigration to Israel. None of the Ernakulam synagogues function any more.
Bar-Giora, in: Sefunot, 2 (1958), 214–45; Fischel, in: Herzl Yearbook, 4 (1961/62), 324–8. ADD. J.B. Segal, A History of the Jews of Cochin (1993).
[Walter Joseph Fischel]
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.