Friday, June 24, 2016

Jews of Pune happy with minority status


PUNE : The Jewish population in the city welcomed the State Cabinet’s move of granting minority status to the Jews in the state on Tuesday. While the total population of the Jews in the city is around 4,400, the city has nearly 200 Jews.

Yoses Nowgaonkar, secretary of Succath Shelmo Synagogue, said, “The entire community is very happy with the decision of the government. We will now be able to get holidays for our festivals which we did not get earlier. Our contribution is finally being recognised.”

Nathan Aston, former principal of is also ecstatic with the news and said Jews will now be able to enjoy the benefits of a minority community. “Maharashtra is not the first state to do so, West Bengal had done it earlier. Although small in numbers, Jews are spread all over the country,” added Aston.
According to Marcelle Samuel, who is the HoD of Economics and Banking at the Symbiosis College of Arts and Commerce, the minority status will benefit the students of the Jewish community as they will be able to apply for various scholarships in their respective courses or streams.

There are also a few who are questioning the need for a minority status. “More than 4,000 Jews are living in India and since we all are hard working and are well off, many of us felt that it would be seen as an act of disrespect or dishonor. However, we had an hour-long long discussion at our Synagogue over this and we concluded that this will be a good opportunity for our community to be recognised and for our future generations as well,” said George Judah, a retired pilot from Indian Air Force, who is now the director of the Management School in DY Patil University.

Judah added that Jews as a community in the country have never faced any kind of harassment from any other community or individuals. “We have asked for such a recognition keeping in mind our future generations, large numbered communities like those of Christians or Muslims have minority status but us being such a minuscule community in the country, find it only fair to have such a status granted to us,” he said.


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