The Jewish Federation of Springfield, Illinois welcomed Rabbi Romiel Daniel to town this past weekend.
Rabbi Daniel was president of the Magen Abraham Synagogue, Ahmedabad, India from 1986-1990. He is currently President of the Rego Park Jewish Center, President of the Minyan Club and President of the Indian Congregation of U.S.A. in New York.
Along with members of the Springfield Indian community, we learned about India and the history of its Jewish community during the weekend events, and enjoyed hearing Rabbi and Cantor Daniel sing Indian Jewish melodies.
With Rabbi Daniel’s visit in mind, we thought it was an opportune time to share the article below about the relationship between Israel and India.
Winter 2010 – By Martin Sherman
A curious Indian stops a passing Israeli backpacker on a New Delhi street. “Tell me,” he asks, “how many Israelis are there?”
“I’m not quite sure,” the backpacker answers. “About six million.”
“No, no,” retorts the Indian, “not just in New Delhi. I mean all together.”
While at first glance the titan subcontinent of India and the tiny micro-state of Israel might appear to have little in common, a closer look reveals significant similarities:
- Both Indians and Jews have ancient, illustrious civilizations which deeply impact their respective national mindsets, and a reverence for their past heritage which is evident in many aspects of public and private daily life.
- Both nations achieved independence from British colonial rule in the late 1940s.
- Both have contended with threats to national security from neighboring countries (India from China and Pakistan; Israel from the Arab states), terrorism, political assassination (Itzhak Rabin in Israel; Indira and Rajiv Gandhi in India), periods of economic hardship, and ethno-religious rivalries (both having significant Muslim minorities which at times have displayed animosity to the non-Muslim majority).
- Both nations—despite these dangers—have never wavered in their commitment to democracy.
- Both are committed to a knowledge-based society emphasizing learning, science, and technological advancement.
- Both have received financial and political support from their highly successful diaspora communities (particularly in the U.S.), which are loyal to their host countries while maintaining a strong affinity with the homeland.
Read full article here.