Shai and Maayan Ben-Eli traveled the farthest – 5,863 miles from Yerushalayim – to attend the STAR-K Food Service Kashrus Training Seminar, held in the agency’s Baltimore offices, August 5-7. The Ben-Elis are being groomed not only as STAR-K mashgichim for their upcoming move to Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), India, but as the agency’s emissaries to the once-thriving Jewish community.
There has been a Jewish presence in Kolkata since 1798, when a Syrian jewel trader, Shalom Cohen, migrated there. Other Jews followed, mostly from Iraq and Syria, who opened businesses and exported silk, indigo, and opium. By the last half of the 19th century, the city was bustling with 3,000 Jews. During World War II, the Jewish population peaked with those seeking refuge. The community teemed with Jewish amenities for its nearly 5,000 Jews until that number rapidly diminished when India gained independence from the British in 1947 and, again, with the […]