Mumbai News

Reliving Bombay –

Sign up for an interesting session to learn about Baghdadi Jews and some previously unheard tales about the city

Bene Israel teachers, Bombay, 1855-1862, William Johnson and William Henderson. Pic/Sarmaya Arts Foundation

Bombay, now Mumbai, has been home to several communities from across the globe, and Baghdadi Jews are one of them. Through the 19th and first half of the 20th century, colonial Bombay witnessed a rise in trade, industry, development plans, and globalisation. 

Sifra LentinSifra Lentin

This Saturday, Sifra Lentin, a city-based writer, will speak at Sarmaya Talks to shed light on the trading diaspora of Baghdadi Jews and the Marathi-speaking Bene-Israelis from the Konkan region. Architect and author Robert Stephens will also speak about the diverse collection of unrealised plans from his Bombay Imagined archive, which will be accompanied by a pop-up of old Bombay photographs from the Sarmaya collection. Lentin, who is a Bombay History Fellow at Gateway House, shares, “Being a Bene-Israel Jew, I have been writing extensively about the Jewish community of India and have also covered them in my recent book, Mercantile Bombay: A Journey of Trade, Finance, and Enterprise. The Sassoon family, who were merchants in their time, largely contributed to the city and, interestingly, most of the civic and community institutions that this family had left behind are functioning even today. The talk will trace how the community arrived here, and how we interpret their contributions in the past in a contemporary context.”

The lecture will revolve around this émigré community and speak about their legacy in the context of the city’s economic, philanthropic and cosmopolitan milieu. It will also underscore why their legacy is so important 
to today’s global Baghdadi Jewish community.

On August 6; 6 pm onwards 
At Pundole’s, Hamilton House, Ballard Estate.  
Log on to Register at [email protected]