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Encyclopedia > Pakistani Jews

Prof. Adil Najam of The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University has written a short history of Jews in Pakistan in the Lahore, Pakistan based newspaper The Daily Times. Professor Adil Najam, from Pakistan, teaches international negotiation and diplomacy at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (Tufts University, Massachusetts, USA). ... The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (also called the Fletcher School) is the oldest graduate school of international relations in the United States. ... Tufts University is a private university located in Medford, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston. ... South section of the Hazuri Bagh, looking south towards the Roshnai Gate The Minar-e-Pakistan, south-side view Lahore (لاھور) is a major city in Pakistan and is the capital of the province of Punjab. ...

According to his research various estimates suggest that there were about 2,500 Jews living in Karachi at the beginning of the twentieth century and a smaller community of a few hundred lived in Peshawar. There certainly were synagogues in both cities, and reportedly the one in Peshawar still exists but is closed. In Karachi, the Magain Shalome Synagogue was built in 1893 by Shalome Solomon Umerdekar and his son Gershone Solomon (other accounts suggest it was built by Solomon David, a surveyor for the Karachi Municipality, and his wife Sheeoolabai, although these may be different names for the same people). The synagogue soon became the center of a small but vibrant Jewish community, one of whose leaders, Abraham Reuben, became a councilor on the city corporation in 1936. There were various Jewish social organizations operating in Karachi, including the Young Men’s Jewish Association (founded 1903), the Karachi Bene Israel Relief Fund, and the Karachi Jewish Syndicate which was formed to provide homes to poor Jews at reasonable rates. Karachi (كراچى) is the largest city in Pakistan and the capital of the province of Sindh. ... Peshāwar (translates to City on the Frontier from Persian; known as Pai-khawar in Pashto; in ancient times known as Purushapura in Sanskrit) is a city in Pakistans North-West Frontier Province (pop. ... Karachi (كراچى) is the largest city in Pakistan and the capital of the province of Sindh. ... A synagogue or synagog (from Greek συναγωγή, transliterated sunagoge, place of assembly literally meeting, assembly) is a Jewish house of prayer and study. ...

Some Jews migrated to India at the time of partition but reportedly some 2,000 remained, most of them Bene Yisrale (or Bene Israel) Jews observing Sephardic Jewish rites. The first real exodus from Pakistan came soon after the creation of Israel, which triggered multiple incidents of violence against Jews in Pakistan including the synagogue in Karachi being set to fire. From then onwards most Pakistanis viewed all Jews through the lens of Arab-Israel politics and the wars of 1956 and 1967 only made life more difficult for Jews in Pakistan. The Karachi synagogue became the site of anti-Israel demonstrations, and the Pakistani Jews the subject of the wrath of mobs. Ayub Khan’s era saw the near disappearance of the Pakistani Jewry. The vast majority left the country, many to Israel but some to India or the United Kingdom. Reportedly, a couple of hundred Jews remained in Karachi but out of concern for their safety and as a reaction to increasing religious intolerance in society many went ‘underground’, sometimes passing off as Parsees. According to a website on Jewish history, many of the Karachi Jews now live in Ramale and have built a synagogue there called Magain Shalone. The Magain Shalome synagogue, in Karachi’s Rancore Lines area, became dormant in the 1960s and was demolished by property developers in the 1980s to make way for a commercial building. Reportedly, the last caretaker of the synagogue, a Muslim, rescued the religious artifacts (bima, ark, etc.) from the synagogue but it is not clear where he or those artifacts are now. The Bene Israel (Sons of Israel) are a group of Jews who, in the mid-twentieth century, lived primarily in Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi and parts of Pakistan. ... In the strictest sense, a Sephardi (ספרדי, Standard Hebrew Səfardi, Tiberian Hebrew Səp̄ardî; plural Sephardim: ספרדים, Standard Hebrew Səfardim, Tiberian Hebrew Səp̄ardîm) is a Jew original to the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal: ספרד, Standard Hebrew Səfárad, Tiberian Hebrew Səp̄áraḏ / Səp̄āraḏ), or whose ancestors were among the Jews expelled from... Muhammad Ayub Khan (May 14, 1907 – April 19, 1974) was a Field Marshal during the mid-1960s, and the political leader of Pakistan from 1958 to 1969. ... A Parsi is: A person from Pars (the middle-Persian word for Fars), a region now within the geographical boundaries of Iran, and is roughly the original homeland of the Persian people. ... A Muslim (Arabic: مسلم) (sometimes also spelled Moslem) is an adherent of Islam. ...



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