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Jew, South Asian in India

Jew, South Asian

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Jew, South Asian in India map

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Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
7,100 Marathi Ethnic Religions 0.00 % 0.00 %   

Jew, South Asian in India

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Introduction / History
A significant number of Jews live among the growing masses of Bombay, India, and its surrounding areas. They are commonly known as the Bene Israel, or "Children of Israel." The language they speak, Marathi, is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by many other peoples in the region.

According to tradition, Bombay Jews are descended from seven Jewish families who were shipwrecked off the Indian coast around 175 B.C. They lost all the Jewish holy books but retained Jewish customs such as circumcision, observance of the Sabbath, and dietary regulations. They settled in villages along the coast and remained completely unknown to other Jews until the 1900s.

In the following years, they gradually adopted modern Jewish religious customs. Leaving their small villages, most moved to Bombay. In the late 1940s and throughout the 1950s, the great majority migrated to Israel, but some remained in India.

What are their lives like?
At some point after their arrival in India, Bombay Jews were incorporated into India's strict system of social classes, or "castes," and became recognized as a distinct caste. They were eventually subdivided into two sub-groups, the Gora and the Kala. The Gora claimed direct ancestry from the original Jewish settlers in India, while the Kala were the descendants of mixed marriages between Jews and Hindus. Traditionally, the Gora and the Kala never intermarried and even refused to eat together. Today, however, there is little or no distinction between the two groups.

In Bombay, most of the Jewish population live in typical apartment houses. The wealthier people, however, live in private homes. Traditionally, their most important occupation in the villages was the extraction of oil from seed. Today, the few Jews that still remain in the villages work primarily as farmers or in industries that are indirectly associated with oil pressing.

Within the city of Bombay, Jews are employed in numerous professions. Some work in service industries, while others work as clerks, mechanics, white-collar workers, or skilled laborers. A significant number are professionals, such as doctors, teachers, and lawyers. Still others are employed in the armed forces or in the transportation and communications industries.

Most Bombay Jewish families are typical nuclear families; that is, they are composed of a man, a woman, and their children. In order to keep wealth and prestige within the family, the Jews have traditionally preferred marriage between cousins. Divorce is completely unacceptable to them and is a very uncommon occurrence in their culture.

At one time, Bombay Jews practiced polygamy, but now most of their marriages are monogamous (having only one spouse). Children are raised by all the older females in the house, but discipline is carried out by all the older males. Education for the children is highly valued by the parents.

What are their beliefs?
Following the law of Moses, Bombay Jews traditionally practice all of the conventional Jewish beliefs. They observe strict dietary laws, circumcise male children, and observe the Sabbath. In addition, they recite the Shema, the Jewish confession of faith found in chapter six of the book of Deuteronomy. They also celebrate Jewish festivals such as Passover and Yom Kippur. However, a few of their beliefs, especially those pertaining to the afterlife, reflect a Hindu influence.

What are their needs?
Bombay Jews are strongly dominated by tradition. As a result, they are not very receptive to change. In addition, their emphasis on intellectual achievement may prove a stumbling block to their acceptance of the Gospel. The Bible, the Jesus film, and Christian radio broadcasts are all available to the Bombay Jews; nevertheless, if they are to be reached with the Gospel, Christians must commit to fervent intercession for them.

Prayer Points
Ask the Lord of the harvest to send Messianic Jews to share Jesus with the Bombay Jews of India.
Pray that the Jesus film will effectively reveal the person of Jesus to Bombay Jews.
Ask God to open the spiritual ears of the Bombay Jews as they listen to Christian radio broadcasts.
Pray that many Bibles will be distributed among Bombay Jews.
Ask God to raise up prayer teams who will begin breaking up the soil through worship and intercession.
Pray that strong local churches will be raised up among them.

View Jew, South Asian in all countries.

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  Submit Update:
Country: India
Continent: Asia
Region: Asia, South
Persecution Rank:11 (Only top 50 ranked, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
10/40 Window: Yes
Population in Country:7,100
Largest States:
Maharashtra (5,200)Gujarat (400)
Mizoram (300)Kerala (200)
Manipur (200)Rajasthan (200)
Madhya Pradesh (200)West Bengal (100)
Karnataka (90)Delhi (90)
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Ethnolinguistic Map:University of Texas or other map
  Peoples [3]
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People Name in Country: Jew, South Asian
People Name General: Jew, South Asian
Alternate People Names:
Bene IsraelShanvar Teli
Yudanज्यू, साउत एशियन
ROP3 Code: 115649
Joshua Project People ID: 19239
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 7,100
Population all Countries: 8,000
Least-Reached: Yes
Affinity Bloc: Jews
People Cluster: Jews
People Name General: Jew, South Asian
Ethnic Code: CMT35
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
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Primary Language: Marathi (4,400 Speakers)
Language Code (ISO): mar    Ethnologue Listing
Secondary Languages:
English (500)Meitei (400)
Hindi (300)Malayalam (200)
Hebrew (200)Gujarati (90)
Total Languages: 7
Religion [4]
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Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Religion Sub-division:Judaism
Major Religions:
Buddhism0.00 % 
Christianity0.00 %(Evangelical: 0.00 %)
Ethnic Religions100.00 % 
Hinduism0.00 % 
Islam0.00 % 
Non-Religious0.00 % 
Other / Small0.00 % 
Unknown0.00 % 
Christianity Segments:
Anglican0.00 %
Independent0.00 %
Protestant0.00 %
Orthodox0.00 %
Other Christian0.00 %
Roman Catholic0.00 %
(Evangelicals distributed across Christianity segments)
Progress Indicators [5]
Progress Scale[6]   Few evangelicals and few who claim to be Christians. Little, if any, history of Christianity.
Least-Reached: Yes
Bible Translation Status
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Bible Portions: 1807-1957
New Testament:
Complete Bible: 1821-2022
Possible Bible Sources: Forum of Bible Agencies
 World Bible Finder
 World Christian Resource Directory
 Gospel Go
Ministry Resources [7]
Audio RecordingsMegaVoice Audio Bible and Stories
Audio RecordingsAudio Bible teaching
Audio RecordingsOnline Audio Scripture
Audio RecordingsOnline New Testament
Audio RecordingsOnline New Testament
Audio RecordingsOnline New Testament
Audio RecordingsOnline Scripture / Bible
Audio RecordingsOral Bible stories
Audio RecordingsStory of Jesus audio
Film / VideoFollowing Jesus video
Film / VideoGod's Story video
Film / Video / Animation
Film / VideoJesus Film: view in Marathi
Film / VideoLUMO film of Gospels
Film / VideoMagdalena video
Film / VideoMy Last Day video, anime
Film / VideoStory of Jesus for Children
Film / VideoWorld Christian Videos
GeneralBible for Children
GeneralBiblical answers to your questions
GeneralFour Spiritual Laws
GeneralGospel resources links
GeneralZume Resources
GeneralZume Training
Mobile AppDownload audio Bible app as APK file
Mobile AppDownload audio Bible app from Google Pla ...
Mobile AppDownload Bible from Google Play Store
Text / Printed MatterBible: Marathi
Text / Printed MatterChildren and youth resources
Text / Printed MatterJesus Messiah comic book
Text / Printed MatterLiteracy primer for Marathi
Text / Printed MatterLove letter to you from scripture
Text / Printed MatterOnline New Testament (Bibles India)
Text / Printed MatterThe Ancient Path
Text / Printed MatterTools for faith conversations
Text / Printed MatterTopical Scripture booklets and Bible stu ...
Ministry Activity
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Data Notes
Data Sources

Jew, South Asian in India

Global                 Global
  Affinity Bloc             Global  
People Cluster
    Jews     Asia, South    
      Jew, South Asian India    
            People-by-Country (Profile)          
            Jew, South Asian in India          
      Religion Language  
      Ethnic Religions     Marathi  
    All Religions                              

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