Saturday, December 23, 2023

What happened to the Jews of Karachi ?

 The Jewish community in Karachi, Pakistan, has experienced significant decline over the years. Before the partition of India in 1947, Karachi was home to a vibrant Jewish community, with estimates of its population ranging from 1,000 to 2,500 individuals, most of whom were Bene Israel Jews observing Sephardic Jewish rites



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 The community contributed to the city's development, with Jewish architects like Moses Somake designing many of Karachi's landmark buildings
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However, the creation of Israel in 1947 prompted a majority of Karachi's Jews to migrate there. This migration was followed by another exodus in the late 1960s after the Arab-Israel war, and yet another in the 1980s, which was partly triggered by the burning of a central synagogue in Karachi
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 The Magain Shalome Synagogue, built in 1893, was demolished in the 1980s to make way for a shopping plaza, and a Jewish graveyard in the city is now in a poor state
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Today, the Jewish community in Karachi is almost non-existent. Some Jewish families remain but often pass themselves off as Parsis due to the intolerance for Jews in Muslim-majority Pakistan
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 The descendants of those who left for Israel have built a synagogue in Ramle, Israel, named Magain Shalome Karachi, in memory of the original synagogue in Karachi
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Persecution and rising anti-Semitism also played a role in the migration. Many Jews felt compelled to leave due to increasing intolerance and violence against the Jewish community
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 The atmosphere of bigotry and the rise of anti-Semitism in parts of Pakistan's society made it difficult for the Jewish community to maintain their presence
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The decline of the Jewish community in Karachi is a reflection of broader historical and political changes in the region, including the impact of the creation of Israel and subsequent regional conflicts, as well as internal societal shifts within Pakistan itself.




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