Sunday, March 23, 2008

The untold story of the Jews of Pakistan

It might come as a surprise to many readers of this blog that the articles that have attracted the most comment have been about the Jews of Pakistan. The vast majority of comments are from Muslims who regret the loss of Pakistan's Jews, or who hark back to an earlier, more tolerant age.

Although Pakistan has never been at war with Israel, it has, a Muslim state, shown a tragic solidarity with its fellow Muslim Arab states by 'ethnically cleansing' its Jews. These numbered several hundred - or even a couple of thousand at the turn of the last century - depending on which estimate you believe. Now the few that remain are terrified of revealing their identity.

Point of No Return received this email from Deborah Dorrian, whose family managed to leave after the 1947 Partition into India and the Muslim State of Pakistan, and who now lives in Australia.


Here is her story:

"My father was born in Karachi in 1927 to Jewish parents. He went to the Karachi grammar school. They all fled Karachi and Pakistan. Why does no one know that there were Jews for centuries in the carpet business living in Karachi?

"An article two years ago featured the woman who was the last custodian of the Magen synagogue. Rachel Joseph was my father's teacher. Rachel still holds the keys to the last synagogue, which was pulled down to make way for a shopping centre. My father was so distressed to read articles in the Indian newspapers and on the Internet describing her fight with developers for compensation.

"We now live in Sydney, Australia. A mother I know and her son fled Karachi when India was partitioned in 1947. Five brothers could not get out: they left in 1960 as they could not sell their property. The Pakistani government insisted that they leave without compensation. All money left behind had to be ploughed back into the Islamic community.

"Only two years ago, General Musharraf became the first leader of Pakistan to recognise the Jews of Karachi on his trip to New York City."

91 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Bataween ,

How did you come up with this JEWS OF PAKISTAN STORY it is true if only the Govt would give or recognise us for a part of their lives of all people of Pakistan once upon a time.

I'm Deborah Dorrian whose Father was born and went to Karachi Grammar School during the Time of Haskel .
Your article you attached in the Dawn which I went to threw new light it is indeed a journey a very personal one for me. I have just discovered the article mentions Joseph Eprahim Awaskar now that is non other than uncle Joseph. It is indeed sad how things are turning out he is my uncle little did I imagine that I would only read of the news of his death like this how would any decent human being ever imagine such sadness as I have just experienced tears fall to know that Rachael Joseph this supposedly school teacher of my father.... who was so terrified to tell us the truth is now non other than my grandmothers sister why did he hide was it so painful to him or would he give them away and The Pakistan Govt would pursue them what a day for the humanity. Who in Pakistan Karachi can make it possible for me to contact her or to at least know her voice.. I cannot believe this so there are so many good souls still around in Karachi.
She is indeed the last living custodian of the Jewish people in Karachi can any one help? My grandmother was also an Awaskar my father always deflected questions. Each of us have a right to know where we come from and who we are this is indeed a profound moment in my life.When I compare their suffering for no reason and my life style I am filled with remorse the mother I spoke of and her son who fled Karachi is non other than my grandmother and the school teacher I now realise is her sister of Rachael if Joseph. is her brother then Joseph is my uncle whom we lost contact with in Karachi.

Regards

Deborah Dorrian

Dan said...

Hello Deborah Dorrian:

I was touched by your comments. I wish the Pakistani Government would be helpful to the tiny Jewish community in Karachi and especially Rachel Joseph.
I was born in Karachi adn am trying to contavt the Jews of Karachi, any age.or gender.
I also want to see the Jews of Pakistan/Karachi to go abck adn visit their family's garaves. By the way, theer was an article about an old Jewish Grave yard in Karachi, which really moved me. I would really like to meet Jewish people from Paksiatn/Karachi.
Peace to you all.
I now live in Canada.
Best regards
Dan

Anonymous said...

Hello Deborah: I was also born in Karachi-now lives in canada. Its a shame that jews were treated so badly in Pakistan. I would love to know Jews from Pakistan and know which part of Karachi or any other city they lived in.There was an article in "Dawn " newspaper of Karachi about a Jewish graveyard. I hope the Jews who have migrated return to Karachi to visit thier loved ones' graves! God Bless you!!! A few years ago BBC Urdu Service ahd a documentary on jews who were from Karachi and now live in Israel-it was very emotrional adn interesting for me. God Bless you all! From Dan

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Magain Shalome Synagogue


















View Daudpota's mapTaken in a place with no name (See more photos or videos here)Karachi. From Naveed Riaz. Nov 2007. Read Comment 1.
Comments
Daudpota says:
From Naveed Riaz of Lahore

Jews in Karachi lived mainly in the Ranchor Line and Ramswami areas and Jewish graves are present in the Katchi Memon graveyard behind Timber Market.

There is a Star of David on Mereweather Tower.

The Magain Shalome Synagogue at the corner of Jamila Street and Nishtar Road was demolished in the 1980s to make way for a shopping plaza. Here is a photograph of the interior.

According to some sources there are almost 200 Jews still in Karachi but they prefer to pass themselves off as Parsis.
Posted 8 months ago. ( permalink )

toti tayar says:
i used to pass by this synagogue two or three times a week from 1982-1985 on my way to kumbhar wara Lyari ; but it had a big chain and padlock even then ; my ex-husband may still have some slides i took of the exterior ...wish i could share them ; willl ask him if he remembers..
Posted 8 months ago. ( permalink )

Environmentalist says:
"fake mothers of Pakistan" have looted every thing
Posted 8 months ago. ( permalink )

zeeque (away) says:
isn't it amazing how tolerant we call ourselves and what we really are...
Posted 7 months ago. ( permalink )

realactionman says:
1. Wonder where were save Karachi folks then ??
2. At the time of its sale and demolishment, a munafiq was ruling
and it was proved the way he died which he deserved because
even Allah dislikes muafiqs most as very few know that his govt
also facilitated the escape of the Iranian jews thru Quetta and
Karachi after the revolution there and the World Jewish Council
had an office and staff in Karachi for coordination purposes.

3. Want more views and truth about the last para comment of Riaz
pl ?

4. It will be a wonderful research to find out the reasons how / why the carpenters made a star of David in most window panes / stain glass in buildings built upto 80 yrs ago in Peshawar and Rawalpindi including the Islamia College Peshawar built in 1913 !!!!

5. Can anyone advise about such similarities in Karachi and Lahore also ??
Posted 7 months ago. ( permalink )

Commoner28th says:
please check this from Dr Kazi's photo stream.

www.flickr.com/photos/pimu/1257611489/
Posted 7 months ago. ( permalink )

Commoner28th says:
also interesting is following article.

www.moshiach.com/features/tribes/pakistan.php
Posted 7 months ago. ( permalink )

Maz-Hur says:
There used to be a Jewish graveyard behind Dilpasand Sweet Mart near Bunder Road, Eidgah, Karachi, where I used to play cricket with friends in my early childhood. Dilpasand was a samll mithai shop in a kutcha jhuggi (slum) whose back door ooened into the graveyard. Most oi the graves had been demolished and their stones stolen. However, there still existed 6 or 7 beautiful stone graves at that time. Later someone bungled away the plot and built the existing Iqbal Centre there to the utter loss of that great treasure and public inconvenience

just adjacent to the graveyard was the elegant and well-maintained Baloch park where I first learnt to catch butterflies ! Around the park were dirty and filthy Jhuggis / encroachment erected by Muhajirs
from India who knew no way of living. there was no sanitation and they just dug a hole in the ground for running out effluent. Once or twice my foot fell into them and to this day I abhor the feel of that degradation. Also, there used to be a Kohlu or a camel driven oil extraction ''mill' from which I would buy pure mustard or copra oil . Another such mill was opposite Raja Mansion. There also used to be a Bara at Aslam road from where I would fetcfh pure fresh milk when I was just 3 or 4 ! the soap factory 505 was also situated on Aslam rd and when I was little my mother sometimes used to send me there for buying washing soap !
Posted 7 months ago. ( permalink )

Maz-Hur says:
I lived in Ranchore Lines from 1964 till 1973 and visited the place till 1976 but I never found or met any Jew in that area ! My father's old house/building is still there lying vacant . I like to go there but all seems to have changed .No old faces to see. Just MQM all around flying its flags, fear of getting shot and getting killed ! it is now MQM's great stronghold.

There was a Parsi compund behing NJV School ( which was the First sindh assembly of Pakistan) where only Parsis lived . There is till one Parsi bakery adjacent to the Parsi Compound and near the entrance of Dhobhi Ghat near Saeed Manzil or on the Marston Road.
The road on which the ex-jubilee cinema stood (it has been demolished this year !) was previously called Barness Street. (I think its new name is Razia Sultana Rd) . Parallel to that is Gidwani Street. If we go further down across the Nala adjacent to Jubilee cinema begins the Marwari Lines which ends up at Choona Bhatti where there was a well (both are now gone !) , Across the Nala is Jinnah Chhwk and further down is Noor Masjid, Police Head Quarters, Ramsawami etc. Poona Bai tower
/market is also along the way. What a compact city Karachi used to be !! One could visit all places on foot or maximum on a bicycle. There was no pollution, no corruption , no hooliganism. Life was simple and good.
Posted 7 months ago. ( permalink )

camber2k7 says:
Nice photo of Pakistani heritage. Now that you have disclosed the location of this place of worship, kabza group is likely to flex its muscles. Good to read history by Maz and Maz..
Posted 7 months ago. ( permalink )

Doc Kazi says:
Maybe we should wait for the kabza group and send them to hell when they arrive!
Posted 7 months ago. ( permalink )

Daudpota says:
Camber2k7 & Doc Kazi: See caption. The building is no longer available for 'kabza'!
Posted 7 months ago. ( permalink )

Environmentalist says:
One can see unique architecture and lot of historic items in this photograph and this massive arch is particularly unique which I never saw any where else.

We feel robbed and helpless.
Posted 7 months ago. ( permalink )

camber2k7 says:
Thanks Isa - I have one less worry today... There was a synagogue in Peshawar sadar area. I do not know if it exists now.
Posted 7 months ago. ( permalink )

joegor says:

Posted 7 months ago. ( permalink )

ParvaizNaim says:
Long ago, a visiting Prof from Tel Avive Univ told me, "amazing similarities between Israel & Pakistan" - ideoloical states, made for people of a certain faith; scores of people displaced (you kicked out them Indians, we the Palestinians), your book and my book carry almost the same stories - in fact your book even talks about my prophets etc..), but then we worked hard to build our land, perhaps harder than you folks.... if I had known about that synagogue, I could have told him.. "No, WE worked harder, and demolished what your cousins built on our land.."
Posted 7 months ago. ( permalink )

saul benqish says:
Please add to Jews and Judaism around the world AND to synagogues.
Posted 7 months ago. ( permalink )

tango 48 says:
sadly, another one for the history books, wonder what happened to the library and other artifacts in there?

i was in karachi during 1977 when bhutto slapped his mini-martial law on karachi, hyderabad and lahore, followed by zia's take over.
the synagogue was one of the places that i recceed for a listing of non-muslim places of worship, i recollect there were 75, temples, churches, ghat, temple of silence, and such.

in hind sight - had i known then it would end like this, i wish i was a camra person then, and not a family outings photographer !

i wonder if the parsi temple off elphy still stands, with its pure white cow in residence?

Anonymous said...

Reading all the comments above,it gives the impression that jews have suffered in Pakistan.

This is not true at all.A couple of years ago Tufts Univ.Boston Professor did a reaserach assignment on the subject and came up with a surprising find.
About 70 jewish families still live in Karachi and most are involved in trade and business.
Years ago,they were offered Israeli immigration by the government of Israel and they refused to leave.Infact one of the community leaders actually sent a letter to the Jerusalem Post saying that they are happy to be living in Pakistan,they have never suffered discrimination and would not leave the land of their ancestors just as Iranian jews have refused to leave Iran.This letter could be found on the web.

In the last general elections in Pakistan,the same jewish community leader fought for local bodies election and narrowly lost although still enjoying prominence.

Having said all that do not forget that Pakistan is a 98% Muslim state and officially an Islamic Republic but the country has seen Christians,Parsis and hindus rise to prominent positions.The last chief Justice of the country was a hindu.
It is surprising so much attention is being paid to those 70 jewish families in Pakistan who live well and practice their faith with full liberty while millions of Muslims in Europe are being hounded after,mosques are being banned,scarves are being banned and at airports and everywhere they are singled out for racial profiling.
So much for "freedom of expression".

bataween said...

...And denial is a river in Egypt
Bataween

Anonymous said...

I am a Muslim in Karachi Pakistan. Jews and Christians are our brothers by faith. Any educated and intelligent Muslim would never discriminate against a Jew unless this specific Jew supports Zionist ideology or what Israel has done to Palestinians. We Pakistanis do not accept Zionism but we do not reject Judaism.

May all Muslims, Jews and Christians stand up against Zionism and its evil influences around the world.

Peace!

bataween said...

If you believe that you can divorce Jews and Zionism, anonymous, then you are wholly mistaken. 90 percent of all Jews are Zionists. Zionism simply means supporting the idea of a Jewish state.
Imagine Indians kicked out of Pakistan want to return there. In fact they do not recognise the right of Pakistan to exist. They want to turn the clock back to 1947 before the partition. This is what the 'Palestians' want. Who can blame the Jews of Israel for not agreeing to these impossible demands?

hassan145 said...

It hurts me to read about the rising intolerance. The 70 families are talked about but look at the numbers in 1947 - 2500. Further,they identify themselves as Parsis. As a Pakistani, the puritanical brand of Islam let alone any other religion scares me. I wish a time comes when a Jewish community who wants to return to Pakistan is able to do so and the Jews living in Pakistan are able to live their lives openly.

Anonymous said...

wow I am amazed that this site has attracted so much of good will I would love to see pictures of karachi grammar school were my father studied under Haskell The jews not only live in karachi they prayed and their doors were guarded by muslim gatekeepers they went to school.danced . buried their dead and in the end fled leaving all those beautiful memories behind hope one day pakistan will cum full circle and embrace its past,

deborah

Anonymous said...

Hi Deborah: Good to hear form you. Yes it is an interesting topic , especially for non-biased people like myself who do not believe in any prejudice. I wish to see Jewish people living normally in Pakistan which had no political problem with Jews. I also want Pakistani Jews to visit Karachi and visit their old MOHALLAH(nieghborhoods) and graveyards and meet friends.

Anonymous said...

Hi again Deborah:

Were you born in Karachi ? And what part of city did your family live in ? Do you still speak Urdu/Gujrati?Do you know anyother Karachi Jews ? I would love to be in contact with them. As said earlier, I am a Muslim and without any pejudeces against any religion, I now live in Canada and miss my Karachi like some Karachi Jews. Take care-SHALOM

Anonymous said...

Theer aer quite a lot of pictures on the NET of Karachi Grammer School. You just have to Google "Karachi Grammer SChool " and you will find tons! good luck!
Bye

Anonymous said...

Hi to all: I have not seen any message from anyone on this forum-is all well ? Why is everyone so quiete?

I would love to hear from any Pakistani Jewish person. Please ???

take care

Anonymous said...

I am so touched with all the warmth .. The man who sent me on this journey was Abraham " Freddie" to friends my father who passed away 3yrs ago... I wanted to know about him I loved him and spent many a childhood day listing to his beautiful life and fun in Karachi were he grew up... and his stories of his dear Aunty Racheal and Uncle Jospeh..... as you all know I only new Uncle Joseph who visited us twice in bombay... and that was the end communication stopped ...Finding Racheal is a good question where to start I dont know ... Just knowing she was alive inspires a generation to find who they really are...and where Joseph is buried puts a closure on his story not only for me but for my dear father ...one day I can see his grave site on line,,,This is in memory of my Dear father....Deborah Dorrian

Anonymous said...

Hi debra: Glad to hear from you after a long time. But I did'nt understand your last e-mail very well. Would you please clrify as follws;

1. Your dad was Abraham? Freddie ? did he pass away in Karachi 3 years ago?
2. Does your Uncle Joseph still lives in Karachi?

2. Is your Aunt Rachel still in Karachi? (By the way, there is an old Jewish Lady Rachel Joseph who still lives in Kaarchi, though in terrible conditions and in powerty?

As for you finding the wareabouts of your aunt rachel, you can write to the English newspaper of Karachi DAWN-they have in the past printed articles on jews of Karachi, the jewish graveyard in Karachi and about Ms. Rachel Joseph. I am pretty sure they will be abel to help you.

You still didnt inform us where in Karachi was yoru family living? I am originally from Karachi and haev seen the only Synagogue of Karachi as a child. If you have lived in Karachi then which scholl , college did you go to adn do you have any memories of Karachi, your friends etc? take care bye now


I am so touched with all the warmth .. The man who sent me on this journey was Abraham " Freddie" to friends my father who passed away 3yrs ago... I wanted to know about him I loved him and spent many a childhood day listing to his beautiful life and fun in Karachi were he grew up... and his stories of his dear Aunty Racheal and Uncle Jospeh..... as you all know I only new Uncle Joseph who visited us twice in bombay... and that was the end communication stopped ...Finding Racheal is a good question where to start I dont know ... Just knowing she was alive inspires a generation to find who they really are...and where Joseph is buried puts a closure on his story not only for me but for my dear father ...one day I can see his grave site on line,,,This is in memory of my Dear father....Deborah Dorrian

12:23 AM, April 02, 2009

Anonymous said...

Hi debra: Glad to hear from you after a long time. But I did'nt understand your last e-mail very well. Would you please clrify as follws;

1. Your dad was Abraham? Freddie ? did he pass away in Karachi 3 years ago?
2. Does your Uncle Joseph still lives in Karachi?

2. Is your Aunt Rachel still in Karachi? (By the way, there is an old Jewish Lady Rachel Joseph who still lives in Kaarchi, though in terrible conditions and in powerty?

As for you finding the wareabouts of your aunt rachel, you can write to the English newspaper of Karachi DAWN-they have in the past printed articles on jews of Karachi, the jewish graveyard in Karachi and about Ms. Rachel Joseph. I am pretty sure they will be abel to help you.

You still didnt inform us where in Karachi was yoru family living? I am originally from Karachi and haev seen the only Synagogue of Karachi as a child. If you have lived in Karachi then which scholl , college did you go to adn do you have any memories of Karachi, your friends etc? take care bye now


I am so touched with all the warmth .. The man who sent me on this journey was Abraham " Freddie" to friends my father who passed away 3yrs ago... I wanted to know about him I loved him and spent many a childhood day listing to his beautiful life and fun in Karachi were he grew up... and his stories of his dear Aunty Racheal and Uncle Jospeh..... as you all know I only new Uncle Joseph who visited us twice in bombay... and that was the end communication stopped ...Finding Racheal is a good question where to start I dont know ... Just knowing she was alive inspires a generation to find who they really are...and where Joseph is buried puts a closure on his story not only for me but for my dear father ...one day I can see his grave site on line,,,This is in memory of my Dear father....Deborah Dorrian

12:23 AM, April 02, 2009

Anonymous said...

I saw this on another blog discussing the Jews of Karachi. This si written by an old Karachite. Best

Anonymous said...
This is a lie that the jewish temple in Karachi was burnt. Since 1950's up untill 1970's the synogogue was in perfect shape. if there was ever any agitation in Karachi, I have seen the Karachi police surrounding the place day and night so no harm would be done to the place. this Jewish Sysnagogue was in Ranchore Line in Karachi near where my step mother used to live. It had a sign which read something like "Bani Israel Masjid" and also something like, " Only jewish people are allowed to enter this place". Also there was a stage dancer who used to come and dance on occasions like some one's birthday or a variety show. Her name was Lilly Soloman and she used to come accompanied by her father Soloman. I have seen the father and the daughter when she came in my neighborhood in a variety show to dance. She was very beautiful and danced pakistani traditional dances very well. no one bothered her because of her jewish origin and she socialized with the Pakistanis very freely without any fear. If some cheap hudlum had ever tried to bother her it was not because she was a jewish but in Karachi there were all kinds of people in such variety shows and few were jirks and they would bother any girl regardless of what her religion was. hell! they never even bothered to know what Lilly's religion was any way.
Also I worked with a company and we purchased aflat from an old jewish couple accross from preedy police station near Regal Cinema in Saddar Karachi. The old couple was living among the Muslim as they were one of them and I am sure that the maiman community living around them treated them very well because I have seen the young and old people around them all the time, calling the old man "Uncle". I used to hang around there a lot and never saw any one harrassing them or even care to know anything about them. The owners of my company gave them very good price for there flat. I remember, the old man told me that his son was in Germany and they also were thinking to go live with him in Germany. Every thing was just normal there.People tretaed them just as they treated all their other neighbors. By the way, about Lilly Soloman, I heard lately that Lilly had married and converted to Islam, but I wont bet on it because I only heard about her and am not sure so don't quote me on that. Bottom line is that yes there were jews living in Karachi at least as late as 1973. now if they, the jews, were not comfortable living there then it was there problem. May be they were feeling guilty conscious for what their brothern have been doing with the Palestinians in Palestine. But rest assured that the Muslim living there around them would not let anyone harm them if some one would even thinkd to harm them. I can say that with 100% ceratinty.

AWP

Anonymous said...

Hello Deborah Dorrian. I have not heard from you for a long time now. I hope you are well and will keep posting your messages. Deborah, if you have Google Earth, then you can type "Synagogue in Karachi", and it(Google Earth) takes you to a building which it says is a Sysgogue called "Mount Sinai Synagogue". This building is in old Karachi area. If you know any ex Karachi Jews now, they may remember this building. I look forward to hearing from you.

Dan

Best regards An ex Karachite Moslim

Anonymous said...

Hi I have tried to contact Rachel you say that there is an old woman living poverty can you connect me some how with her/ I contacted the Dawn but they dont know where this old lady went

Anonymous said...

Hi this is again Deborah can any one get in touch with lily solomon its my last hope to getting informatin of the jews in karachi


deborah

Aleem said...

Jews from Pakistan have all the right to live there, and anybody who has a problem with it can go rot in Saudi Arabia for all we care...we are NOT Arabs that's for sure. We aren't racist and we're not brought up to hate people based on religion, even Hindus!

Tolerance and respect for all peoples is our REAL Pakistani culture.

Jews of Pakistan should live in PAKISTAN openly and freely. Our government should take this matter seriously...not only for Jews, but for the overall country!

How long are we going to sit around as a nation quarelling over religous beliefs, we have other issues to look after like healthcare and education and social services.

It's time to change Pakistan!

ERNEST said...

HI DEBORAH DORRIAN
MY NAME IS ERNEST BOWEN I AM A PAKISTANT CHRISTIAN I LIVED IN MANORA ISLAND I WENT TO ST PATRICK'S HIGH SCHOOL KARACHI I DID MY APPRENTICSHIP FROM KARACHI PORT TRUST MANORA MY CHIEF MICHANICEL ENGINEER AND ASST M E WERE BOTH JEWS BY THE FAMILY NAME BENJIMEN AND THERE WAS MR LOBO HE WAS A DISEL FITTER AND I WAS A APP I STILL REMMEBER HIM THESE JEWS LEFT AFTER THE 1967 WAR I LEFT PAKISTAN IN SEP 1967 I LIVE IN SYDNEY AUSTRALIA
IT WAS SAD TO READ THAT THE SYNOGOGE HAVE BEEN DIMOLISHED
MAY BE WE CAN CATCH UP SOME WERE IN SYDNEY

Anonymous said...

Hi Deborah Dorrian:

I read your last post very late, therefore my apologies for the delayed comments regarding your enquiry about Lilly Solomon. I clearly remeber Lilly Solomon way abck in mid sixties, but has no re-collection or contact with her or her family.

About Karachi Jews, a few years ago I read in Karachi's Dawn News paper an Article by Mr. Kanwar Khalid Younus, who is an MNA(Member of national Assembly) from Karachi and belongs to MQM Party. Mr. Younus mentioned about a Jewish lady called Rachel Joseph, who still lives in Karachi adn is old and suffering now. Mr. Younus was apealing to the government of Pakistan to help this lady. You can contact Mr. Younus at mankato-76@hotmail.com adn reqeust him to provide you Rachel Joseph's whereabouts. You can aslo Google his naem adn go to Wikipedia and get all information about Mr. Younus even hsi cell adn hoem phoen numbers and if required give him a call.
In the end, I must say taht Deborah you aer our Apakistani Jewish sister-adn I really feel that you should be in Pakistan with your kith and kin. I would love to keep in contact with you sicne you aer a fellow Karachite, over e-mail, if this is not a problem with you. By the way, I just heard from a freind that in Karachi there are about 250 Jews still living.
Good Luck with your qeust to find Jews of Karachi-Please if you know anyother Jewish people of Pakistan origin, then please let me know.
Please let me know which part of Karachi did you live in ? I grew up in Saddar. Frere Road area and later moved with my parents to PECH Society. I now live in Canada. Take care. Shalom

Anonymous said...

Hi Mr. Ernest Bowen:

I am also from Karachi now living in Canada and am a Moslim. Your post reminded me of my childhood-I never lived on Manora Island but sued to go there on Holidays as I had a cousin living there-he was also in KPT. I still remeber the old Christain cemetary and and the impressive Church there along with the beautiful Light House. I will neevr forget those memories. I know Manora is a small Islan-where did you live there? Did your Jewish collegues live on the Island? I would really like to keep in contact with you by e-mail-if you dont mind. I am now living in Canada with my family but reallly miss my Karachi, my friends and my early school teachers who were all Goans and best people I have ever met. Take Care Khuda Hafiz-dan

Anonymous said...

Hello again Ernest Bowen Sahib:

I would really like to communciate with you and hear from you about your life in Karachi. Have you ever gone back after leaving Pakistan? Do you still have relatives there ?

Best regards

Dan, form Canada

Anonymous said...

Hi Deborah Dorrian:
Hope you are well. Were you able to get in contact with Mr. Kanwar Khalid Younus about Rachel Joseph? Knawar Khalid Younus ie the person who met her and took her(Rachel Joseph's0 case to the government and tried to help her. He(Mr. Younus) wrote a detailed article in Dawn, English newspaper of Karachi some years ago. Please see my last post on this matter. I hope you succeed in contacting Rachel Josep.

Best regards
Shalom
Dan from Canada

Anonymous said...

Hello Debra Dorrian: How are you ? I have not heard from you since I posted my earlier messages. Please contact Mr. Kanwar Younus who would be able to help you to contact Rachel Joseph. I am also reqeusting some friends in Karachi to find her and get her contacts.
Best

Dan from canada

Mohammed said...

hi Bataween and Deboarah,
This is Mohammed . I am an independent film maker from Karachi. A friend visited karachi and we went to the Karachi Bene isreal( jewish)Cemetery. I also spoke to a person who might be in touch with the current jewish community. I am in the process of a historical making a film on what use to be healthy jewish community in Karachi. I every now and then see signs and images in the city scape of Jewish influence and past. I could not find Rachel. I am need of contacting a production company in Israel so that I can get some interviews and research done.
Well I am at it and will someday complete this project of mine. By the way please contact me @ manwerzada@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

Hi I still have never heard from Racheal may be it is too late but you have to feel the emptyness that one feels knowing shes out there but where regards

Deborah Dorrian

Anonymous said...

Incredible stuff, very moving. Such a shame that we Muslims share so much with Jewish people but cannot be brave enough to say "ENOUGH"

I want to live in a World where Jews & Muslims coexist with mutual respect and affection (If that isnt too strong a word)

Not anonymous: saf0113@yahoo.co.uk

Wishing everybody here good health, long life and peace

bataween said...

Amen, and wishing peace, heath and long life to all people of good will
bataween

A.B.M. Shamsud Doulah said...

I RESPECT JEWISH FAMILIES OF SOUTH ASIA

I read several notes in the blog. I am surprised to learn that at present there was no synagogue in Karachi. I am a Bangladeshi and I do not know if any Jew is living in Bangladesh. But having known many of the Jews in Calcutta, Boston-Cambridge (during my summer programme at Harvard University, and several in Lahore and Karachi many years back, and having read the glorious history of the Jewish Peoples, I deeply respect them.

I shall be delighted to know more about them, even cooperate with them. I wish to visit Karachi and meet some of them if I can get contacts. I shall really appreciate if I get the contacts of the Karachi and Calcutta Jews.

I am a Bengalee Muslim national of Bangladesh and aged about 69 years. I have been very active in practicing in various areas of Intellectual Property laws in Bangladesh.

This is 21st century. We should be more scientific and pragmatic. It is very important today that we must think afresh of the glorious tradition of the Jews and try to develop their status in this part of the world.

I am looking forward to hear from the friends of the Jews from anywhere in the world having interest in the Jewish families living in Karachi and Calcutta.

A.B.M. Shamsud Doulah
Advocate, Bangladesh Supreme Court
G.P.O. Box 351, Dhaka-1000

Email: shamsuddoulah@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

Hi,

I am from Karachi and have known 3 Jews in my lifetime. The first one in 1954, a Mr. Soloman who was the water-pump man at the Morning News office. The second was Mr. Benjimen who served the St. John's Ambulance Association in Saddar. Another is a Jewish lady who married a Christian.

I last read an article in the Dawn a few weeks ago on the Jewish graveyard and its Muslim caretakers. It is believed that the last know-practicing Jew was a lady by the name of Rachel Joseph. She was living in an apartment in the Ranchore Lines area.

There could be others still in Karachi.

I live in the UK now and would love to be in contact with Jews of Pakistani/Karachi origin.

Anonymous said...

I would like to thank the poster and readers for the interesting comments. I am the great-granddaughter of a Karachi Jew named Rachael. Her father was a jailer in Karachi. She moved to Mumbai and Gujarat and died in Ahmedabad in 1973. My great-grandfather, a Maharashtran Jew, died in Israel. I visited her grave this past summer. It touched me deeply and I started to learn Urdu (maybe I will get to Marathi someday). I only wish I could visit Rachaelbai's birthplace in Karachi. What kind of a world is it where a great-granddaugher cannot see the birthplace of the great-grandmother after whom she is named. (And the same goes for a Palestinian refugee in Lebanon denied even a passport.)

The family today is scattered between southern Israel, the east coast of the US, Dubai and Mumbai. Our Indian Jewish culture is almost completely lost to us. Over 50 years after my grandfather sailed for New York from Bombay's Sassoon Docks (named, of course, after a Baghdadi Jew, of which my other grandparents were two), all we have is threads of the culture of our forefathers.

It seemed hysterical to the point of sadness to me that my Indian relatives would refer to the synagogue as both "mandir" and "masjid." So lucky to have ended up in a territory characterized by a confluence of Hindu and Muslim cultures, so unlucky to have been encouraged to leave, hide, intermarry or die out.

You are welcome to share your thoughts with me at yifa.yaakov@mail.huji.ac.il. Bahut shukriya.

bataween said...

Yifa - I hope you don't mind my giving your very interesting comment special prominence:

http://jewishrefugees.blogspot.com/2011/03/our-culture-is-lost-says-pakistani-jews.html

Are you a lecturer at the Hebrew University?

Yifa said...

No, I am a student there. :) (of Indian Studies, Middle Eastern Studies and Comparative Religion.)

Anonymous said...

Yes, I am aware of Jews families living in Karachi. I think there are very few of them still there since my late father were in touch with them till he died in 2002. Their family was in carpet business but then they switched to some other trade. As far as I know they practice their faith secretly but the families that know them for long time. My dad came to Karachi in 1949 and rented a room from this family and ever since they were friends. They were living in and around bambino cinema. I've living in US for a long time, but I remember it was in late seventies.

tara said...

My mum is from Karachi(Muslim) but now lives in London. She said that when she was young(teens), in the 60's, she was best friends with a Jewish girl called Lily Solomon (may be spelt Salomon). Lily had very beautiful green eyes and was a dancer. Lily's dad would accompany her when she danced at parties and she had a brother.

Lily started dancing in clubs around the time my mum lost contact. She may have married a Muslim man and converted and might be a stage actress. My mum talks about Lily all the time, if anyone knows what happened to Lily, or even better what she is doing now, please reply. Thanks, Tara

Maham said...

Hey, my Jew name is Abia but my family has given me the name of maham. i was born in karachi in a jew family in 1989 but we moved to multan. My family is not very much practcing jewish family and we know less about our religon but still are jews. we all have one local name and one official muslim name but we dont usually tell anyone that we are jews and we love pakistan but want to die as jews.i know couple of more families like our family and some times we have get together seceretly and almost all of the jews in pakistan whom i know are living with muslim names. my elder brother is serving in pakistan army as an officer and i know an other jewish relative of mine same with a muslim name who is major general in pakistan army. so dont get surprise of the factthat jews are still there in pakistan. if any jew like me is there in pakistan and reads this you may contact me on mahamkhan46@gmail.com NOTE: please dont be offensive. all jews living in pakistan love pakistan

Anonymous said...

Hi all there,
I am a Pakistani Jew, left Pakistan
in 1970 at the age of 11. Well all those who wanted to know about Lilly, she did marry a muslim and has 4 children.
Sorry to inform all those who were interested to know that she passed
away in April 2011 by having a sudden heart attack. Her family is still living in Pakistan.

Anonymous said...

Hi Anonymous.
Thanks for your post. I am really sorry to hear about Lilly, as I remember seeing her as a child in one of the birthday parties/functions in Karachi. If I am not wrong, she did come to our house on one or two occasions. May God bless her soul. I wonder what her children are ? As I know children of Jewish mothers are Jewish. Are you in contact with them?

By the way, where abouts in Karachi(I presume you were in Karachi) did you live? Which school did you go to ? Do you still speak any Urdu or Sindhi? And where are you settled now ? I am settlled in Canada and would love to be in contact with any of my Pakistani/Indian Jewish borthers/sisters.
With warm regards.
Sholom and Salams
Dan from Canada

Anonymous said...

Hi there,

Yes I use to live in Karachi Nazimabad,and I studied in Jufelhurst High School. I am settled in Israel.
I can still speak Urdu, read and write too. In fact I also translate to my Indian freinds heavy Urdu words when they fail
to understand in the Indian movies and serials. Nice to know that some one far away is still interested in Paki Jews.
With warm regards.

Anonymous said...

Hi there my Karachi friend!

Shalom and Salam to you!Thanks for your response and I am really glad to know about you. Yes I do remember your school(which was near Gurumander) where one of my very good friends was also a student. I am sure you know him, as he has mentioned about a Jewish boy that was with him in the class and studied with him.
How do you rad or wirte Urdu ? Do you ahev any books/magazines that you get in Isreal ?

Have you ever been back in in Karachi since you left? I would love to talk to you in Urdu some day or atleast exchange e-mails. Do you have other Pakistani/Karachi people in your city ? By the way were you ever in BBC Radio's documentary where Mohammad Hanif of BBC Urdu service interviewed Karachi Jews in Israel ?

I do care a lot about minorities of Pakistan who have sufferred and are still suffering from fanatics. I have special place for Jews of Pakistan in my heart and I do care about them and want to meet them and tell them that all of us are not fanatics!!!! I wish you could all go back to your houses, mohallas and streets and graveyards and be yourself!

Take care and Sholom

Khuda Hafiz

Anonymous said...

Hi Dan,

Shalom to you too,
Thanks for reminding the place Gurumander which I have forgotten completely. Well I am a female and I cannot remember any boy besides my cousins and my brother who were in same school.
To read Urdu was only possible for me to buy the books and magazines in England when I visited there.
We cannot go back to Pakistan as we are holding Israeli passport.
I know many Jews from Pakistan here, some of them are staying in the same city of mine and the rest are scatered all over the country.
once a year We have get to gather all Pakistanis spending weekend with our families in the Hotel
and we share the old memories with each other. There we get to see most of the Pakistanis who are scatered all over the country. The new generations learn from the older ones the history of Pakistani Jews and we have good time all togather.

Take care and Shalom.

bataween said...

Dear Anonymous (last commenter)
Is there an official organisation representing Pakistani Jews in Israel. If so could you kindly sent me the details?
Thanks
bataween@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

Hi Bataween,

No, we do not have any such organisation.

Thanks

Adhi said...

I feel very sorry when people say that there are no jew in pakistan.I am jew living in Peshawar and our family and other jew faimly are living here in peshawar from the last many year.if any one want to know more about us contact me at erogant09@gmail.com

bataween said...

thanks, Adhi. We will contact you

Anonymous said...

Hi Adhi:
Sholom:

Great to know that there are still Jews living in Pakistan. I am also originally from Pakistan and have been to Peshawar a few times. DO your nieghbors and friends know about your Jewish faith ? And how do you handle the religious fanaticzm in Peshawar?? Are you a Pashto speaker or Hindko ?

Take caer and Sholom

Dan from Ontario




Good luck to you and I look forward to your next post. Sholom and take caer Khuda Hafiz

yishmael said...

i think i can say that im one of the only kashmiri jewish people left on earth lol.
theres only around 800 of us.
my family lives safely in england but
the rest of us still live in azad kashmir ,theres alot more than 70 families beleive me.

Heck i still speak urdu and potwari
i know how it is in kashmir for jewish people.
trust me its not good at all lol,
we can barely buy food.
so we grow our own, we have around 15 farms back at azad.

luckily thank g-d their are some people around azad that accept JEWISH PEOPLE!
so were not insulted because of our faith.

we have a small synagogue in the form of an old converted house.

need more details?
contact me at agslord55@yahoo.co.uk

shalom al-ei khem
my brothers and sisters

Anonymous said...

Salam to all, This is Faisal here, a Muslim from Rawalpindi. I just request to all Pakistani Muslims to tolerate Jews in Pakistan, and I also request Jews not to support Zionism and establishment of Israel because a true Jew must know that Jews are not allowed, by their religion, to have their own state, so please follow your religion and there will be peace all around.

bataween said...

Salam Faisal, thanks for your message of tolerance. However you must understand that the vast majority of Jews support Israel, only a very few religious crackpots believe it is against Judaism. I would never ask you not to support Pakistan, and I would never dream of saying that Pakistan has no right to exist, or is against the religion of Islam.

Anonymous said...

From a Pakistani muslin in USA, who have few Jew friends, I feel sad and ashamed at what happened to Jew community in Pakistan. Our found Great Quaid would be sheding tears on what has my country has become. I was very intolerant (in my views only) when I was living in Pakistan, because our textbooks and culture only teaches us that. Only when I migrated to USA and roles were turned, I started to feel that how intolerant we are in Pakistan.
Someone just put this youtube video of Jew graveyard. (please also ignore the video poster comments, he does not know better) This videos might give you guys a brief glimpse of Jew ancestary.

Anonymous said...

Sorry forgot to paste link

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KCwb6cIBZmg&noredirect=1

Sayed Athar Husain said...

Jewe are a passive people. All tye time they are occupiedd protecting and expanding their state.They have bt and large earned a bad name for themselves, and cannot draw a working relationship with thePalestinians who were at one time Jews themselves. The jews should make peace with Paletinians and thereafter obtain international guarantee from people of the world for teir recognition and protection.They have right in this planet as everyone else, only the rule is mutual respect.
I was once walking on the side road of the Zoo in Karachi about 1954 and was pointed at a dusty windowles building on whose door a lock was hanging. I was told this was synogogue. There was no individual in Karachi who identified him he was Yahoodi, although we would much like it. This was a romantic word in our language. And the culture of the Muslims is that as long as their faith is not abused they are all a harmless, adorable, hospitable and caring individual.Even today a Yahoodi can go and claim his possession in Karachi, he will be welcome there.

Samir S. Halabi said...

What a load of lies, by this Muslim, Jews certainly won't be welcomed in Jew-hating Pakistan. Pakistan has the temerity to argue for the Palestinians to return to their homes in Palestine, which is Israel today and has been since 1948, yet they deny the rights of the Jews, Hindus Bhudists, Bahais and other non-Muslims forced out of Pakistan at the time of partition in 1947 with nothing but the shirts on their backs. Every day these Pakistanimuslim fanatics are preaching hatred towards the Jews and other non-Muslims, but this Muslim blogger insists that the jews are welcome, welcome to what? another de-capitation like Daniel Pearl perhaps!

the lost said...

B'H
To All my Jews Family/friends who read this blog.
yes we Jews living in Pakistan and not openly Jews but as muslims I knew two families in Hyderabad Sindh until year 1987 and i have no idea if they are still there the life for many Jews those left in Pakistan is very hard and living a life of great sufferings.
i dont know much about my Jews faith but i keep Shabbat as well my family who live in another country in Asia,i have one daughter and i want for my wife and daughter to be a good Jew and i want for her a Jews education
Im apply for refugee status with UNHCR recently in Cambodia but i want a Jews education for my child and i would like any of you who can assist me and guide me for the learning of my faith and for the education for my daughter.
before i stop i would like to know if there is any Jews family from Hyderabad Pakistan in Israel who left in end of 70's or early 80's?
And if some of you from Hyderabad may you know the Mushtaq seth the Teali Oiler?

Anonymous said...

can you give me your details so I can get in touch with you

bataween said...

email me at bataween@gmail.com

Rehana said...

HiMy name is Rehana I am a Muslim Pakistani .Lily was my friend.she was older then i.My daughter Tara tryed to find her address,but the person posted Sad news about Lily must knew her,but was not kind enough to give her address.I am so so sad, I do miss her she was not only my friend,she was my sister.My mum loved her and her Mum loved me. i was only allowed to go toLily's house.She has two brother Isaac and Laamec and one older sister called Elizabeth. I gace them My Puppy dog. Lily and I
went to same school Green Home School.Lily always wanted to change her religion to Islam she used to talked about it even when we were in the school. i am sure her 4 childrens are Muslim.Ilove to meet them and if they need any help i would love to do so.People are saying that Jewish are not welcome in Pakistan should read about posted information that a jewish brother is in the Pakistani Army as an officer.Idon't think Israel will allow any Muslim to be in there army. Please Please if any one know Lily's home address help me to find them. I am crying for her I am in pain coz i lost my sister and her name is Lily

bataween said...

I'm sorry to hear that Lily Solomon, your childhood friend has passed away. If anyone knows where she lived, please let us know.
It is heartbreaking that during her lifetime Lily wanted to convert to Islam. This means that she was not comfortable as a Jew.
I'm sorry to say that a Jew who is forced to hide his identity to serve in the Pakistani army does not show tolerance, quite the opposite. For your information there are 100s of Muslims (and Christians) serving in the Israeli army and the numbers are going up all the time.

Rehana said...

Hi This ia Rehana again.I feel very uncomfortable that you felt Lily's changing of religion Heartbreaking! May I ask Why?
You are saying that Jews do not live in fear I do agree. But why you felt Heartbreaking when Lily converted into Islam?My understanding is you expect others to be tolarating towards Jews ,but Jews can not be tolarating to others.My feeling was and is exactly the same about Jews. I have a best friend and she is Jewish.Between Israel and Plastine, can not be about religion. It is about the Land.Before israel and Plastine problem, Jews were living very freely and openly in Pakistan,if this would be religios issues,they would not be living the way they did,acording to some , now its change and they unfortunatly have to hide their real identity.I can only saythat we are living in a sad World

bataween said...

Hi Rehana
To answer your question, I find Lily's decision to convert to Islam heartbreaking because she must have clearly felt under pressure to fit in. Being Jewish, especially as part of a dwindling minority, she must have felt the world close in on her until it was no longer acceptable to be different to her Muslim friends and neighbours. Believe me, there is no similar pressure to convert to Judaism in Israel or anywhere else where there are Jews. In fact Jews do their utmost to dissuade people from converting! You may blame Israel-Palestine or find any number of excuses why Jews are not tolerated in Muslim countries, but there is really no excuse. When a Jew has to hide his or her identity or convert, there is something very wrong with the society he lives in.

Elisha Israel said...

Hi Rehana good to read that Lily was your friend,im 42 years old now and lily was my mother best friend she used to visit my mother in hyderabad once a year and i still remember from my child hood memories that during Shabbat prayer lilly give me the wine and and started gulping and she asked my mother to hold me or i will get drunk ,My mother was a jews and my father was a muslim i we children's have to hear from our father the word yahodi all the time when he got angry.
You said Jews are safe in Pakistan?
please be honest yourself before telling world that Jews are safe in Pakistan if i just tell anybody im jews it take few seconds for your Armey to get me disappear or im sure before that your musllim brothers kill or burn us alive.
As you said that there is a army officer in the pakistan army is Jew?
please dont joke yourself you dont allow christians to join army except to clean toilets how would you allow Jews? may be that your army trick to trap and find if there are any Jews living there in pakistan so they can wipe them out.
remember that G-d fighting for the Jews The Z A Bhuto spoke against Jews and he got hanged in the seventh year and Zia the great satan destroyed the synagogue in karachi on July 21 1988 and in Aug 21 1988 he died in plane crash where his blood dogs licking.
im sure that after reading this post all of you would say it was Jews conspirecy to kill the zia and bhuto.

Rehana said...

Hi Elisha and Batween
I was writing about my and Lily's time in Pakistan.Elisha if you would have read others comments, You would not call it a Joke to my comment that a Jew is an officer in Pakistan Army.His brother gave this information.I am sure ur also using Christian to clean toilts.Just go to Sadder and see all the flats belongs to christians,all the schools including St Patric school (My 3 Nephew whent to that school) which runs by Cathlic Nuns and priests. In any good English schools, to teach English are Christian teachers.If a person Christian or Muslim non educated and choose to clean toilt ,thats up to them.
To Bataween you are very wrong. Lily was not in any presure.Why her older sister and two brothers did not come under presure and change to islam. The truth is you can not eccept that Lily change her religion because she wanted to.You Two sounds very extreme in your openion.Please stop brain washing people against Muslim.There is a different between extemists who go and shoot a 14 year child (MUSLIM) or kill a jews. I have no intention going into debate with you, as you have set your mind against muslims in Pakistan.I only want to know about My Sister Lily if any one decent enough to provide me her address. Good Luck

bataween said...

Hello Rehana
The main point is that the Jew who is an officer in the Pakistani army cannot serve there AS A JEW.
As for Christians, they may be well-educated, but there is no denying their suffering:
http://britishpakistanichristian.blogspot.co.uk/
I'm very glad that you are visiting my blog and wish you success in finding more information about Lily.

Anonymous said...

Bataween and Elisha, Rehana is clearly referring to the time herself a Lily spent in Pakistan - not right now. The post was about getting in touch with Lily's family; the main thing you are focusing on is someone misreading a comment someone else left, instead of the point of the comment to get in touch with Lily's family. Have some humanity and grow up.

You did not know Lily yet assume she must have wanted to convert due to pressure, as opposed to because she wanted to. People convert to different religions all the time, just as people drift away from their religious upbringings, it is human to do so and as mentioned her family remained Jewish.

Elisha, the last few sentences read like the prattlings of a zealot. Implying that someone died as some form of karmic retribution for 'destroying' a synagogue or speaking against jews is frankly disgusting. Not one person said anything about a conspiracy, which is just as absurd as implying it was payback. On wikipedia, information about the synagogue indicated in 1973 only 9 names of Jews left in Karachi. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magain_Shalome_Synagogue so is there not a chance that by 1988 the synagogue was not in use? Does anyone have any information on this? If the synagogue was not being used what, Elisha, do you presume the building could have been used for? So a synagogue that may not have been used and was demolished then caused the karmic retribution of Zia to die in a plane crash. Read how stupid that sounds because that is essentially what you are saying. There are plenty of religious buildings in the UK that when they are not being used are converted for other uses, and some are demolished. Are you saying that everyone that demolishes a religious building gets some form of payback? Absurd.

Being any minority in Pakistan in the last 30 years is beyond difficult and the oppresive treatment of Jews in Pakistan is unforgivable and disgusting. People need to focus on the things that unite us as human beings. Focusing on that and magnifying differences between people, instead of the happy memories you all seem to have of Lily seems pointless. Clearly a lot of people want to pay tribute to Lilly, and it seems she left a wonderful mark on the world, so if anyone does have information, and feels able to share, please let the forum know how they can best pay tribute to her so her families knows she was well loved and remebered fondly.

Anonymous said...

Also Elisha

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noel_Israel_Khokhar

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julian_Peter

http://www.defence.pk/forums/military-history-strategy/12090-gallant-christians-paf.html

This is not me saying Christians do not suffer, all minorities in Pakistan do to some extent (as they do in manhy countries), however, these men are not quite 'toilet cleaners' are they?

Anonymous said...

The lost (and found) Jews of Karachi


From the Newspaper | Peerzada Salman | 28th November, 2012






0


















KARACHI, Nov 27: Why would anyone write a short play on members of the Jewish community that were once an integral part of Karachi’s social fabric? The answer to this question is: to dig out those aspects of our (collective) history which for known or unknown reasons have been swept under the carpet. Jews were once as through and through Karachiites as any other community that to date resides in the city. After the inception of Pakistan things changed, and let’s not delve into that.

A 20-minute play, The lost Jews of Karachi, written and directed by Veera Rustomji and performed at the Alliance Francaise Karachi on Tuesday evening, tried to bring back memories of the Jews who lived in, and loved, Karachi not too long ago.

The drama was one of the three plays put up by the foundation year students of the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture.

Before the performance, the director of the play told the audience that it was a fictional story based on real characters.

The lost Jews of Karachi opens with the voice-over of Daniella (Amal Elahi) who talks about her family and reveals that in the late ‘50s her father died leaving her and her sister Abigail (Muniba Rasheed) orphan. And their mother moved to Israel. The voice-over is run against the backdrop of a screen on which black and white visuals of a household are shown. Next, the drama cuts to the cemetery where their father David (Muddasir Sheikh) is being buried. Those who attend the funeral include the sisters’ uncle, Ezra (Saman Musharraf), and their aunt, Margaret (Tajwar Aziz).

Then the play cuts to the scene where Daniella’s relationship with Malcolm (Sameen Javed) is being celebrated by Ezra, Margaret and Abigail. Their maid, Shireen (Rabia Ahmed), is introduced as a non-Jewish character. The festival of Hanukkah is touched on to impart authenticity to the situation and the changing times are brought to light in the scene when the girls’ aunt hints at a contradiction that was taking root in Pakistani society. She talks about the use of alcohol being looked in unfavorable
light, whereas Yahya Khan dances with a famous showbiz star.

Almost inevitably in the next sequence it is given away that the situation has worsened as Jews are leaving the city. Daniella tries to convince Abigail to move to Israel, which the younger sister resists arguing it’s her ancestral town and that her father wouldn’t have left like that. To which Daniella responds that it’s become increasingly difficult to ‘go unnoticed and unrecognised’ in the city. ‘We can’t recreate Karachi,’ she makes a poignant comment.

In the last scene, Daniella, Malcolm and Abigail are seen at the railway station. Abigail, in a rather filmic way, lags behind and misses the train. In the end her father’s ghost appears (who makes its presence felt intermittently in the play) and sits beside her.

Given that The lost Jews of Karachi was written, directed and performed by students it was a praiseworthy effort in terms of intent. However, it lacked build-up to the scenes and the story moved way too fast to reach its conclusion. The play has the potential for becoming a full-length drama, with a little bit of fleshing-out of characters and proper sequential progress. The
script was good and Veera Rustomji has all the makings of a good playwright. Her dialogue writing is noteworthy; it’s the scene building she needs to work at.

All the actors did a decent job with Muniba Rasheed and Amal Elahi being the standout performers.

Prior to this, a play titled ‘Paan Kahani’ was presented. The last drama of the day was ‘Fasla Rakhein Warna Piyar Ho Jaey Ga’. Both were light-hearted plays.

Rehana said...

Hi This is Rehana. I am still waiting for someone to give me the detail of Lily's family. How could anyone think that I will do something to hurt her children. You does not seam to have any feeling and you call Muslims killers. Elisha you are pathetic and full of hate. My daughter born in England and she knows about Lily. you know how because I told her about our friendship.

Anonymous said...

I was born in Karachi, Pakistan. Was born and raised a Christian (Catholic). Christians are now becoming targets of fanatical muslims. Can we really then believe that Jews would safely be able to practice their religion in that country.? I believe there are Jews there, in hiding.

Anonymous said...

I was born in Karachi, Pakistan. Was born and raised a Christian (Catholic). Christians are now becoming targets of fanatical muslims. Can we really then believe that Jews would safely be able to practice their religion in that country.? I believe there are Jews there, in hiding.

Anonymous said...

I was born in Karachi. In the middle 1950's, in school was a Jewish girl, Kay Issacs or Issacson.

If any one knows where she is please post here. I loved her, she was my dearest friend

Anonymous said...

Hi what was the name of the school you went to and where did your friend kay Isaac live in Karachi ?

Anonymous said...

The school I studied in is St.Joseph's Convent High School. It is still the best school in Karachi.
As to where Kay lived in Karachi, I have no idea.

Where ever she be, I wish her health and happiness.

sami said...

Dear Deborah,

As a Pakistani living in Australia who also went to KGS(Karachi Grammer school) I apologize for the way we treated our Jewish brethren. Karachi's history and architecture is littered with Jewish reminders. I know this message is on too late but I would do anything to get you in touch with your lost brethren or at least their stories. Unfortunately the last i heard Rachael Joseph passed away.

Anonymous said...

Shalom,
i live near gurumandar, tell me if someone there?

Anonymous said...

This massage to catholic people in Pakistan. My aya (Nannie was catholic, I have seen how my parents respect her and how much we loved her ,our teachers were catholic from goa and Pakistan .You may be happened to be catholic what about lot of muslims who have are living in poverty, they can not brag like you, obviously it has nothing to do with your religion. One thing I would like to stress that never we muslims Burned any holy book, but you catholic very quick to burn Quran write rubbish on Mosque. Break the law and prepair to get punishment.

Anonymous said...

to the last person "anonymous" who left a message on Dec.15th. It is Muslims like you who are threatening Catholics, Christians, Jews and other minorities. Yet you people run to our (Christian) schools for education. How come you did not get educated yourself? Many of my good friends were Muslim. Educated Muslims should rise up and end the Fanaticism that exists in Pakistan.

Anonymous said...

In addition to my response to Anonymous of 15th Dec.... It is Christians who are getting blamed for no reason for burning of the Quran; our churches are being bombed and burned. Abolish the Blasphemy laws, because it is only used to persecute innocent minorities. Also, do get an education...

Anonymous said...

Jews have a right to exist; not only in Israel but elsewhere. Israel will never be defeated because they are G-ds chosen people. Surrounded by Arab muslim countries, that have repeatedly tried to wipe her out, with no success, Israel will live on forever. Palestinians have never had a homeland ever. They were nomads, rejected by other arab countries as well.

Anonymous said...

Jews have a right to exist; not only in Israel but elsewhere. Israel will never be defeated because they are G-ds chosen people. Surrounded by Arab muslim countries, that have repeatedly tried to wipe her out, with no success, Israel will live on forever. Palestinians have never had a homeland ever. They were nomads, rejected by other arab countries as well.

Bhenkhald said...

My Jewish grandparents migrated from Iran to Karachi Pakistan during the British rule.
After 1948 when State of Israel was established and Pakistan sideding with Arabs made protests which spread into antisemitic riots causing Jews to flee the country.

The rioters also burned and looted the Synagogue.

My grandparents being Iranian features hide their identity and stayed in Karachi because their ex-homeland Iran was nearby.

I tweet for Jews political & religious rights in Pakistan

Bhenkhald
Twitter: @Jew_Pakistani

Anonymous said...

sIn addition (to the 15th Dec. post) I would like to add that yes, you never burn holy books, just churches, synagogues, behead people like Daniel Pearl (a Jew) in the most cowardly way. Moderate Muslims should rise and take over their country for everyone's sake. It is not too late.

Anonymous said...

Shalom to Bhenkhald, I was in Iran in 1978-79. It was ok during that time until the fanatics took over.

Anonymous said...

I'm a Jewish Pakistani as well. I live in the US. I would love to hear from my school and college friends. Anybody from the class of 1969, who remembers any female Jewish person may contact me on this blog.

I am very eager to hear from my classmates but being all females our last names have changed and some of us have gone out of Pakistan. So go find a needle in a haystack...lol

Anonymous said...

Hi Pakistani Jewish lady. I am not Jewish but very interested in getting in contact with my Pakistani Jewish Sister & brothers and communicating with them.

I am now in Canada.
Which school did you go to in 1969 and in which city ? My cousin went to Mama Parsi Girl's school and had a Jewish classmate/friend(probably around same time as you mentioned)-she may be referring to you. Are you married to a Pakistani Jewish person ? I would love to be in contact with Pakistani Jews. Sholom. Dan from Ontario

Anonymous said...

Hello Dan and Deborah, I have been trying to get in touch with you. I am originally from Karachi and recently got in touch with a Karachi Jew who now lives in the U.S. Please contact me at croningw@mymts.net

thanks.

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh too much heat here. All get cool in their upper chambers and eat Haleem Kebab and Biryani!

Anonymous said...

I am trying to get in touch with Deborah Dorian who posted a comment here...

my email croningw@mymts.net


thanks, pls. write Deborah