Judaism in Kerala

Death and Mourning

In death too, the religious customs are meticulously followed.  The dead are cleaned, dressed in white, laid in the coffin, taken to the graveyard in a procession, eulogized by friends in the congregation, and finally lowered into the grave.  The coffins of the Jews of Kerala are generally buried along with a handful of soil from the Promised Land, Israel. The details of the departed are engraved on their tombstones in Hebrew, the language of the Jews, and English. Seven days of mourning called Shivah are observed, and after thirty days, the bereaved family is expected to resume normal life.  Thereafter memories of the dead are ritualistically recalled and observed on the anniversary called Yahrzeit.

After the migration of Jews to Israel in the 1950s and 1960s many of the Jewish cemeteries in Kerala are presently in a state of disrepair. The Archaeological Department of Kerala is looking at conservation plans for the Jewish cemetery in Market Road as part of a drive to preserve the rich Jewish heritage of the state.