Message from the Chair

Dear Friends,

I hope the new year has started on a high note for you all.

We have planned an exciting year ahead for you, with our ‘Journeys in Watercolours – Synagogues of India’ travelling exhibitions, talks and education initiatives. You can expect more on our Exhibitions very soon, so watch this space! 

Our exhibitions will give Jewish, and the wider Australian communities, an opportunity to view and appreciate the history, art, and architecture of India’s beautiful synagogues. 

I invite you to engage with the community and support this fledgling organisation as we grow.

Yoel Samson, Chair, IJAANZ 

Donate to the first Heritage Center for Indian Jews in the World

“It is in the Negev that the creativity and pioneer vigor of Israel shall be tested.” — David Ben-Gurion

The Nevatim Heritage Center is a place where Indian Jews from the diaspora will help to bring peace, tolerance, tranquility and a healthy way of life to the people of Israel and the world.

IJHC’s project aligns with the mission of the Jewish National Fund (JNF), Australia to ensure that the people of Israel who live in the underdeveloped periphery of the country, particularly in the Negev, can also share in the Jewish State’s success story and ensure its ongoing sustainability.

JNF has helped Israel for the past 120 years. In recent years, JNF has contributed towards building a reservoir on the border of Nevatim of recycled waste water from the surrounding areas. This has transformed the harsh desert conditions of Nevatim and its surroundings to become lush, aided the environment and facilitated agriculture.

The Indian heritage has centuries of expertise and wisdom to offer in the fields of health, sciences, history, social structure and culture.

Donate generously to IJHC today.

'Synagogues of India' artworks lend an ethereal feel at 'Light after Lockdown' in Sydney

The ‘Journeys in Watercolours –  Synagogues of India’ artworks lent an ethereal atmosphere at our inaugural exhibition at the NSW JBD's 'Light after Lockdown' event in Sydney.
"The Indian Jewish communities are truly the bridge between our two worlds." - Lesli Berger, President, NSW JBD

The ‘Journeys in Watercolours –  Synagogues of India’ artworks lent an ethereal atmosphere at IJAANZ’s  inaugural exhibition at the ‘Light after Lockdown’ Hanukkah event organised by the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies (NSW JBD) on 2 December 2021 in Sydney.

Professor Jay A. Waronker’s evocative images of his original  watercolours depicting the synagogues of India lined the windows of the hall . The images were received with immense interest and admiration by the approximately 70 people who attended the joint Hanukkah-Diwali celebration.

Lesli Berger, President of NSW JBD, said, in his opening statements of his speech: “The Indian Jewish communities are truly the bridge between our two worlds.” He commended IJAANZ and Professor Waronker on bring the exhibition to Australia for the first time. Darren Bark, CEO and Lynda Ben-Menashe, Head of Engagement, NSW JBD also spoke at the event.

Artworks against the glow of the evening sun. Text panels (on table) had further information about the synagogues of India (see story below) and the artist, Prof. Jay A. Waronker, PhD.

Evocative traditional singing and music by Kim Cunio, activist composer and performer, and Head of the School of Music at ANU, enhanced the event. 

Above: Lesli Berger, President of NSW JBD, makes his opening address at 'Light after Lockdown' Hanukkah event in Sydney.
'Journeys in Watercolours - Synagogues of India' Exhibition artworks flanked both walls of the NCJWA Hall.

Attendees lit and coloured candles on miniature menorahs placed at each table and enjoyed the generous, delectable spread of kosher foods afterwards. 

The uplifting messages lauded the resilience of theJewish spirit  and the victory of good over evil, further illuminating the event.

Visit our Facebook page for more event images…

'Kirtans' enjoy a revival, preserve Jewish identity

Kirtans, or traditional devotional songs with storytelling from the Torah—first performed in 1880 as a tool to teach first and second generations of Bene Israel Jews about their scriptures—fell into obscurity decades ago.

However, in the last five years, Jewish women had the foresight to transcribe these songs into notebooks. They have become the domain of women since the 20th century. Shoshanna Kolet, 75, said: “This is our traditional culture. We are passing it on to new generations. That’s why we are writing kirtans,” she said. Kirtans are believed to be also adopted from zemirot,  Sephardic Jewish tunes for Shabbat.

Above: Kirtankars Ruby Moses (Rivka Moshe), Diana Korlekar, and sisters Shoshanna and Hannah Kolet from the Bene Israel community sing kirtan or devotional songs at a South Mumbai synagogue. Photo & Story Courtesy: Times of India.

The Bene Israel songs include Hebrew words and extol great figures of the Hebrew Bible, such as Moses and Jacob.  Read More...

Distinguished visitors at iconic Ohel David, Pune

Naor Gilon, Ambassador of Israel, and Kobbi Shoshani, Consulate General of Israel visited Ohel David Synagogue Pune on 15th February 2022. Image Courtesy: Renee Moses, Sydney, Australia

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: