Monday, February 3, 2014

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

My Rosh hashannah gift to Jews of Cochin

It is written שנה טובה לכל חברי קהילת יהודי קוצ'ין, which means "Happy new year to all members of Cochin Jewish community.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

New title for my blog "Jews of Malabar"

Its been a long time i have not done any Hebrew calligraphy for any specific use but now i had done it for myself. It was for my blog, recently changed its name and address for a widened perspective. Former name "Relics of Cranganore" was confined to a narrow perspective. Now I had changed it to "Jews of Malabar", it became more simple. 

I had used different font styles, small variations of letters like ל (lamed) used in two different form for two different alphabets ie, S and B, similarly for English alphabet J, i had used נ (nun) of sfaradi font, a mirror image of פ (Peh) for e, ש (sheen) for w, ס (samech) for o, ץ (Tzadik sofit) for f, a combination of ת (Tav) and ו (vav) for M, ה (heh) for a, ן (nun sofit) for l, ו (vav) and י (yud) for r. I used Tag (Literally means crown, decorative crowning for letters like  ג ז ט נ ע צ ש ) to ornamate it.

I wanted it more of Hebraic but equally simpler and readable. My task was success i made many of my friends and colleagues to read it to check how can an Indian read Hebrew, to be very honest the result was 100%. 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Reminiscence of a syrian wall hanging.

Hailing from Malabar, I am very much fascinated by the history of my place. The centuries old traditions and different communities dwelling in Malabar is really a phenomenon. Apart from widely spreading Arabic and less known Hebrew, the Syrian language is another Semitic language still found in Malabar. Widely known as St. Thomas Christians, the significance of this sect is that they kept the Syrian language alive in the land of Malabar until recent years, due to the persecution of Portuguese and modernism relatively reduced the popularity of the language. But this is still used for sermons in some of the Syrian churches in Kerala.

 Photo courtesy

There were many Syrian manuscripts in Kerala which were burned during the reign of Portuguese and some are in museums around the globe ( most are found in Cambridge university library, UK. most were procured and submitted to library by Claudius Buchanan) and some are still preserved under the Syrian churches in Kerala.


There are many ancient engraved stones and crosses in Kerala and other regions touched by Nestorian Christians


The beauty of this language is awesome, the serto – Syriac or the Jacobite script is my favorite than the Chaldean style.My first encounter with this language happened long back in Mattancherry, Cochin nearly eight years back, when i went to an office a wholesale spice merchant who himself was a Syrian Christian. There was a picture of cross and beautifully decorated background with floral designs and syrian scripts in it. He explained to me about the framed wall hanging, and he himself told that he don't know how to read it. 

Looking back to the past I felt recreating it, but way too long. So I had made a simple Syrian calligraphy and it is the first verse of first chapter from bible, in the beginning….

 This image was digitalized and made a custom font and gave a simple background.

I feel this script is some what similar to Arabic and have a lot of possibility of creating a delightful piece, but other than scribing a bible this language didn't attain its prosperity like Arabic to show its beauty to 21st century. Few of calligraphers like Issa Benyamin had attempted to do so but it was to the Chaldean style or the madnhaya Assyrian script. 

Still my desire of recreating that syrian wallhanging is haunting me, so next time when I am back to home I will try to get a picture of it and recreate it.....

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Isaac Ashkenazi, left for his heavenly abode....

A jewel of Jewish community of Cochin, Isaac Judah Ashkenazi, passed away today  (12.40 pm IST, 30 July 2011) at a private hospital. He was a bachelor aged 83. He served as the superintendent of the Cochin electric company (owned and operated by Cochin Jews) and resigned as senior superintendent in 1979, after two years from the company’s government takeover. 

He was Isaac Uncle for me, tolerant and pious by nature and so friendly by behavior. I still remember my first rendezvous with him (23 June 2009). It was from Sarah auntie’s house. On that day he asked me how I learned Hebrew Calligraphy and even I had took a photo with him and Sarah auntie. 

Issac uncle, Sarah auntie and Me (took on 23 Jun 2009)

From there he was very friend to me and he had helped me for my research on Cochin Jewish Cuisine, he used to stand outside Sarah auntie’s house, that is near the front door and always talks about the community's history and some stories related to that and he use to explain about the Jewish festivals and beliefs. His solitude life was not at all a matter for him, always uses to be happy, crack jokes and makes us happy and was a kind of fun loving person.

But when I went to his house for last time (21 June 2011) he was bedridden , but he welcomed me with a warm smile and blessed me, literally that was so touching I saw tears in his eyes and I never thought that it would be the last vale. Today Thaha’s phone call about his demise, made me terribly sad and I prayMay God rest his soul in peace…

The funeral ceremony will be between 11.00 am to 12.00 in the noon at Paradesi Jewish Cemetery (31 July 2011).

Friday, May 6, 2011

Finally it is inscribed Jerusalem stone

This was done for Mr.L from Ukraine, this is " World's first ever Hebrew script written in Arabic floral Kufic style"and it is done in Jerusalem stone. Hope this looks better in the stone than the digital form.


This is the actual picture, its placed near a fire place of a newly build house the Architecture style used is of Magribi, so this was to compliment to the design

Here are links to my earlier post about this work

Friday, April 22, 2011

A Gift to Norene Gilletz

I had promised Norene Gilletz, who is a leading author of Kosher cook books ( She is Canada based International Culinary Professional with the Int'l Assoc. of Culinary Professionals, a food consultant, cooking teacher/lecturer, freelance food writer and culinary spokesperson, she edit cookbooks and do culinary indexes) that I will gift her a Birkat Ha Bayit (House blessing) as she promised to give an article to be put in my college magazine (where I was in-charge of collecting exclusive articles) I had made the birkat and waiting for her reply on the design pattern to be included in it.Hope that she will like this house blessing