What I Learned About San Diego's Jewish Community By Traveling to Jewish India

Dovi, above in the old synagouge in Cochin, was a participant in JDC Entwine's Insider Trip to India in 2013 and is a co-chair for Inside Jewish India: From San Diego to Mumbai on May 8.

As I was walking down the street, I all of a sudden got an amazing feeling when I realized that for over two thousand years, Jews have been walking down those very same streets.  It was a feeling that connected me with the global Jewish community both through time and through space.  It was a feeling that I last felt in the old city of Jerusalem. But this was not Israel, it was India, and I was walking through the Konchin Villages with my JDC Entwine group.  At first India felt so foreign to me, but in the homeland of the B'nei Israel I was suddenly at home.

Before my Entwine experience I knew that there was a community of Indian Jews, but I did not know anything about them.  Their rich history amazes me.  The colors, smells and tastes of their Judaism is a reminder that being Jewish can be a diverse experience.  What amazes me the most is that despite all of our differences, despite the two thousand or so years of separation, our Judaism binds us together.

When I decided to participate in a JDC Entwine trip to India, I did not know what to expect.  My reasons for going were to learn more about Jewish life in India and to learn more about the JDC's work abroad.  Looking back at my experience, the biggest impact it had on me was strengthening my commitment to my community at home in California.  Being around people who are struggling to keep their communities alive, reminded me not to take my community for granted.  An impactful visit to an older adult community in the suburbs outside Mumbai reminded me that it had been too long since I had been to Seacrest Village, a local nursing home in San Diego.  Visiting the home of an elderly man in India who relies on JDC support made me thankful for similar programs run by Jewish Family Services in our community.  Dancing with children from the slums at the JCC with the JDC-supported Gabriel Project Mumbai reminded me that our local Jewish Community has the capacity to make life in San Diego better for everyone.

I am thankful for the opportunity to have an amazing experience in Jewish India, but I am more thankful to be able to bring that experience home and be a better member of my own community.

I hope you'll join me on May 8th for Inside Jewish India in San Diego.

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