Message from the Chair

Above: IJAANZ Chairperson Yoel Samson speaks at IJAANZ’s inaugural ‘Journeys in Watercolours – Synagogues of India’ Exhibition on June 1, 2022.
Above: IJAANZ Chairperson Yoel Samson addresses guests at the inaugural Exhibition in Sydney.

It has been a very eventful few months at IJAANZ, with many more events to come.

There are so many stories of personal and political generosity. We hope this exhibition sends a poignant message of inclusivity and tolerance in these divisive times.

Read more…

Inaugural Sydney Exhibition – a very special night

Above: Guests admire the artworks while enjoying the generous spread.
Synagogues become centres of life and friendships—and perhaps even where spouses were found. It’s much more than architecture…"

- Prof. Jay Waronker

IJAANZ’s inaugural ‘Journeys in Watercolours – Synagogues of India’ Exhibition on June 1 at Sydney’s beautiful Millie Phillips Gallery was a very special night indeed, stirring great interest in Professor Jay A. Waronker’s unique artworks, and about the Jews of India.

More than eighty people enjoyed the ambience of the Gallery’s elegant décor and partook of the generous spread of food and wine. 

Emanuel’s Reverend Sam Zwarenstein opened the evening’s proceedings with a beautiful berachah that set an aura to the spirit, and essential meaning of the  evening.

Mr Sanjay Muluka, Indian Consul (Commerce & Trade) with Rev. Sam Zwarenstein, Clergy Emanuel Synagogue
Above: Professor Jay A. Waronker speaks about the inspiration behind his artworks to the gathering.
Above: Professor Jay A. Waronker speaks about the inspiration behind his artworks to the gathering.

One of the highlights of the evening was when Professor Jay A. Waronker Ph.D. joined the propceedings via Zoom from Atlanta GA at what was a very late hour for him. He shared the inspiration behind his art and the deep emotional connection synagogues have to their congregants. 

Above: Artworks of the synagogues generated much interest and discussion.
Guests engage with questions for Prof Jay Waronker. All images courtesy Emanuel synagogue

Bilingual Haggadahs and Siddurs

Rabbi Shmuel Ben-Shalom (right) showing his bilingual Sefer Tehillim to Maran Rabbi Ovadia Yosef Zatzal
Haggadahs from Indian Judaica

We mourn the recent passing of Rabbi Shmuel Ben-Shalom (Divekar), may he Rest in Peace, and extend our deepest condolences to his family in Jerusalem for their loss.

Just before his sad passing, Rabbi Ben-Shalom sent IJAANZ several beautiful leather-bound bilingual Haggadahs and other publications. He appealed to members of IJAANZ and the larger Jewish community to recognise and appreciate the vital needs of the Jewish Indian community worldwide.

“We strongly believe that publishing these works is a productive opportunity to reach our community and further elucidate our customs. In this way, we hope we will be able to help strengthen our community’s unique Jewish identity. Through these works, it will be easier to build up our community in the future. Furthermore, our publications into Marathi, the local language of Mumbai, have helped open a new understanding of our religious precepts and ideas to our Indian Jewish friends.

“They have also helped to increase the demand for our publications. We genuinely believe these plans and publications will continue to be highly beneficial to our community and help demonstrate the Torah’s splendour and its ramifications and applications by communities in remote corners of the world. They will also serve to show that the Jews of India have been fully practicing Jews for centuries,” Rabbi Ben-Shalom said.

Read more on Indian Judaica and donate generously.

IJAANZ to participate in Limmud Sydney! – UNSW, 11 September 2022

We are excited to share with you that our IJAANZ Sydney team will participate in this year’s Yom Limmud to be held on Sunday 11th September 2022 at the Roundhouse at the University of New South Wales in Sydney.

A 60-minute talk titled “The Jews of India – Not a People Apart” will create a deeper understanding among the broader Australian Jewish communities about the Jews who lived on the Indian sub-continent without persecution, and their significant contributions to Indian life. As well, a stall with select books, fliers and membership forms will inform the community of our aims and objectives, exhibitions and upcoming activities. Limmud (from the Hebrew word meaning “to learn”) was originally a conference in the UK for Jewish educators. It evolved over the years into a community gathering of Jewish learning.

Do attend and support us – we hope to see you there!

Read more, buy your Limmud tickets

Community Centre residents revel, engage in ‘Synagogues of India’ artworks

Tabletop artworks reveal the beauty of the artworks
Members admire and study the intricate artworks

A group of enthusiastic and engaged seniors gathered for a morning activity with a difference at the Burger Community Centre in Randwick in Sydney’s east on 7 July 2022. They were there to view the ‘Journeys in Watercolours – Synagogues of India’ artworks by Professor Jay A. Waronker, Ph.D.

A short talk about the inspiration behind the artist’s inspiration, travel and study of India’s synagogues by IJAANZ Sydney President was followed by what was scheduled to conclude after an hour of viewings. However, the artworks clearly triggered so much interest that the group congregated again for more insightful and engaging questions running – about the spiritual and secular lives, kashrut, migration to Israel and remaining Jewish population in India – running well past the hour.

The overarching sentiment of the morning was incredulity that the Jews had thrived and flourished in India for more than 1,800 years without persecution.

Contribute to the IJAANZ magazine

This is an online e-zine featuring the unique history, rich heritage, beautiful synagogues, art, literature, music, food, culture and customs of the Jewish Diaspora from the Indian sub-continent.

Have a short anecdote, item of interest or photograph to contribute to the magazine? Please email: