Only synagogue in state enshrined in heritage list
The only Jewish synagogue of Gujarat, the 81-year-old Magen Abraham Synagogue at Bukhara Mohulla in Khamasa in the Walled City, now has the state archaeological department’s nod to be included in the city’s heritage list. The list has been prepared by heritage and conservation committee and INTACH for the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC). In a letter written by the director of state archaeology Y S Ravat, to the heritage cell and the municipal commissioner, Ravat has suggested that the synagogue be included in the category of heritage buildings.
The letter was in response to the representations made by the Bene Israel Jewish community, highlighting issues related to encroachments at its entrance and security of the small 139-member Jewish community. “During important state events we have high profile guests of government of Israel coming to this temple. Though there is a SRP point, the recent clutter of residential apartment buildings around the synagogue has raised security concerns after the Mumbai 26/11 attacks,” says Sahitya akademi award winner Esther David.
This synagogue belongs to the Bene Israel Jewish community of Gujarat and was consecrated on September 2, 1934. Before, it was built, there was a small prayer hall near Pankornaka in the Walled City. This synagogue has an Indo-Judaica architectural form and old religious artefacts. It has Grecian pillars, a triangular roof, a high ceiling; artistic grills, stained glass windows and chandeliers which lend an ethereal glow.