Magen David Synagogue today stands in all its glory at JJ Road Nagpada Mumbai next to the Byculla Nagpada Police station
Being born in Mumbai I had often passed this magnificent building every time I visited Mohammad Ali road or VT area towards South Mumbai yet it took me many years and some erudition before I managed to see this splendid place. The tall and Impressive edifice notable for its Gothic character lent by four frontal Pillars towers over all the other buildings in this neighborhood.
This remarkable heritage structures credited to be built with the patronage of famous Sassoon family of the Baghdadi Jews who once were among the well know Businessmen and Philanthropist of the city. The Sassoon’s not only built the Synagogue but among the many other charitable institutions among which stands well known Sassoon hospital in Pune which till date caters to a large section of its population.
Megan David Synagogue was completed in 1861 the synagogue was built with the sole expense of David Sassoon one of the Leading men of Mumbai city of 19th century. There was a thriving Jewish community in India in early 19th century and this synagogue having been found insufficient to accommodate the increasing Jewish congregation was enlarged and renovated by Sir Jacob Sassoon Bart in 1910. The ceiling lights of this synagogue were donated by Eugene Schildkrant of Great Neck New York in 1956.
The Synagogue is a one storied structure has beautiful turquoise colored interiors also has an extensive Prayer hall with upper gallery reserved for Ladies. The Synagogue is today managed by a group of trustees belonging to the Sir Jacob Sassoon charity trust.
It’s interesting to note that the majority of Heritage Jewish Synagogues of Mumbai today stand located in the predominately Muslim section of the city and even today it resonate their past glory as they stand as a reminder to the glorious past of cordial relationship between Jews and Muslims of Mumbai.
After the creation of Israel most of the Jews left for the Promised Land yet there is a small Jewish community in Mumbai that holds on to its tradition and is evident from the daily prayers being held at this historical Synagogue among others in Mumbai.
As you can see in one of the pictures in this blog there is one picture where we see 2 Muslim women in veil and 1 Hindu women sitting on the steps of this Synagogue, they are actually waiting for their children that study in a school that stands in the same compound of this Synagogue. It is remarkable picture as we can see three human beings of diverse religion sitting on the Steps of the Synagogue completely oblivious and antithesis to the racial tensions that marks Middle East
Visit to the great Synagogue was a very remarkable experience indeed