Attraction of the town: The oldest living Jew of Fort Kochi has her safest haven with a Muslim

March 17, 2017, 12:04 pm
Attraction of the town: The oldest living Jew of Fort Kochi has her safest haven with a Muslim
STORY PLUS
STORY PLUS
Attraction of the town: The oldest living Jew of Fort Kochi has her safest haven with a Muslim

Attraction of the town: The oldest living Jew of Fort Kochi has her safest haven with a Muslim

In the twilight of her life, like many Sarah Cohen has become more religious. She recites Teillim (Jewish Prayer)from prayer books every day. But she could do it only with the help of others since she can't hold the prayer books in her hand. And for this and many more other spiritual and physical needs Sarah has Thaha Ibrahim a middle aged Muslim man. At a time when even mere friendship across religions makes news, the camaraderie between a Jewish and an Islam is invoking tremendous interest in the tourist town of Fort Kochi in Kerala. Believe it or not the lives of these two wonderful humans and their antique embroidery shop is the talk of the town now, even to the point of attracting the tourists.

Sarah is one of the very few Jews left in the town once which housed hundreds of them. It is believed that they came to Kochi some 2000 years ago. Now what is left is a synagogue and some antique shops that sell their traditional artifacts and buildings carrying jewish imprints and of course cemeteries.

Sarah Aunty’s Embroidery Shop is perhaps one of very few business enterprises owned by a Jew.

Years ago when Cohen and his young wife Sarah reached Kerala, Thaha was acquainted to the couple. “Before he passed away, Cohen told me that Sarah Aunty doesn’t have any children and that I should take care of her,” says Ibrahim as he stitches kippahs, a brimless cap traditionally worn by Jews that are sold in antique shop. “We are supporting Sarah Aunty so that she can follow the Jewish way of life like she always has”. And her learning experience is creating invaluable lessons for society where religious schism is taking a heavy toll.