Jewish Life in Kerala India

David Mandelbaum, an anthropologist, made this documentary in 1937 in Kerala, India. He was a cultural anthropologist that performed ethnographic research in India and traveled to Kerela, India to a Jewish neighborhood, where he stayed for two weeks. He performed his research during the Jewish High Holidays and documented and filmed many of the locals’ customs and traditions, and collected information that was later published in “The Jewish Way of Life in Cochin.”

The documentary shows many proud Jews. The children are seen playing outside with their chickens and roosters, and the women are seen cooking and doing the laundry. This documentary was taken in September, the time when Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur usually occur, and on these High Holidays the women are seen wearing long dresses and head coverings, and the men are seen wearing suits, ties and kippot. There is footage of the men carrying several Torah’s through the streets, in addition to women, men, and children carrying siddurs and praying in the streets.