Kerala hosts first Jewish wedding in 15 years

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Racheal Benoy Malakhi and Richard Zachary Rowe at their wedding

Ernakulam: Kerala city of Kochi hosted its first Jewish wedding in 15 years when Racheal Benoy Malakhi married Richard Zachary Rowe on Sunday.

The wedding ceremony between Rachael, a US-based data scientist with roots in Kerala's capital city Thiruvananthapuram and Rowe an American NASA engineer was officiated by a Rabbi from Israel and held following Jewish traditions.

Rabbi Aerial Sharon, who arrived from Israel conducted the rituals under the 'chuppah' (a canopy) at a private resort in Kochi.

"I have come here to perform the wedding for this wonderful couple, Rachel and Richard. It will be a wedding according to the Jewish traditions," the Rabbi said prior to the ceremony.

"Jewish traditions are based on rules defined in the Jewish Bible. basically, it is that together with God they (the groom and the bride) promise to be husband and wife. That is what a Jewish wedding is all about," the Rabbi said.

Rachel is the daughter of former Crime Branch Superintendent of Police Binoy Malakhai while Richard is a US citizen who works for the space agency NASA.

The ceremony was attended by family, friends, and community members.

The Jewish community in Kochi that has 25 members, had last hosted a wedding in 2008.

It is also the first Jewish marriage in Kerala that took place outside a Jewish Synagogue.

Once Kochi had a significant Jewish population but that has now dwindled with the members of the community migrating to Israel. Now there are only 25 Jews who are permanent residents of Kerala.

The presence of at least 10 Jews is required by custom for religious ceremonies in the Jewish religion. Only four Jewish marriages have taken place in Kerala in the last 70 years. The last Jewish wedding in the State was held on December 28, 2008 at the Thekkumbhagam synagogue in Mattancherry. (ANI)

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