Show Menu

21 From the Outside In: Recollections about Jewish Community of Calcutta

Respect for Customs

It was totally fine for my family for us Jews and Muslims to mix. We thought Jews and Muslims were same because we follow the same customs. Sometimes they wanted chicken biryani and so we would go to their home to cook it and we would followed their traditions and knew what pots and pans etc we had to use so as not to mix up milk and meat etc. We have had Jewish food during the festivals. Every year we get our share of Halek and Mussa, and dried fruits and suji halva with puri for Shavuoat...Only the skull-cap distinguished them, and on festivals after the lamp was lit, when Jewish people wore the skull cap.  Uncle David wore a black skull cap with a star of David.  I knitted a couple for him. -Abeda (Muslim, 1976)

We were aware of difference but we knew that inter-mixing was fine but there were limits especially around religious observances where one did not intrude. We did not go to Jewish homes for festivals. But they also would not go to Christian homes for festivals unless invited.  We had the best Christmas in our own home. All the best food would come home. -Anuradha (Brahmo, 1954)