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

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Chosen

A couple of month before i had received a mail requesting me for my work, Menorah shalom. To use it as the poster for a De La Salle high school's,  Theater group, La Troupe De La Salle.  Br Michael Livaudais the director of the play "The Chosen," a fabulous themed novel by Potok, Chaim.


I had granted the permission to use my work as it is a non profit organisation. and happy to see the work, and think i could have done it much better that it is, but looks cool.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Jewish Breads...

I had recently tried to made some Jewish breads like Challah, Matzoh and Bagels...


Bagels - traditionally made on Saturday evening by some Jewish family at the conclusion of the Sabbath

Challah - it is also a sabbath bread , on Sabbath every Jew is commanded to eat three meals (one on Friday night and two on Saturday). In Judaism, a "meal" includes bread. Hence, Jews will traditionally eat challah at the beginning of their Shabbat meal. As with any other type of bread, the blessing "Baruch atah Adonai, eloheinu melech ha'olam, hamotzi lechem min ha'aretz" is recited before the challah is eaten. Translated, it means "Blessed are you, Lord, our God, king of the universe, who brings forth bread from the earth."

Matzoh -  is a cracker-like unleavened bread made of white plain flour and water. The dough is pricked in several places and not allowed to rise before or during baking, thereby producing a hard, flatbread. It is similar in preparation  Indian chapati. Its traditionally consumed during the Passover Seder.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Samaritan Hebrew Language

I use to scribble the Samaritan alphabets quiet often but not tried to write it as a calligraphic piece. After having an acquaintance with the language recently by seeing an article in the net about the language I thought of putting it up in paper using my pen.


It is written “Bereshit”( which means “In the beginning”) in Samaritan Hebrew language, as it is a beginning of  Samaritan Calligraphy, Bereshit is the most apt word. The Samaritan alphabet is the dialect of Old Hebrew or so called Paleo Hebrew, the alphabet was derived by the Samaritans. The characters or the alphabet, according to scholars is similar to the alphabet used for Torah before square Hebrew or Assyrian characters were introduced. The Samaritans themselves claim descent from the northern tribes of Israel. 
The Samaritan alphabet is still used by a few Samaritans in the city of Nablus and in the Samaritan quarter of Holon. This is a consonant alphabet, and vowels indicated with diacritics. And it is written from right to left in horizontal lines like Arabic and Hebrew.  Samaritan, an extinct Semitic language which is no longer a mother tongue, But it is still used to a limited extent as a liturgical language.The language is similar to Hebrew, but the pronunciation of Samaritans doesn’t give stress to the letters א, ע,ח , ה they uses only the letter ש as “sheen” and not “seen”. And some more difference like this do exists.
Hope i can go with more of Samaritan Calligraphy.and i will be coming up with more different calligraphies.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Cochin Jewish Cuisine - I tried out some

It was my academic research which put me in touch with the Cochin Jewish Cuisine, unto me its a cuisinette rather than a cuisine and I had a chance to prepare some of the Cochin Jewish dishes, last week.The menu which i chose was :

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Mutta Salade

In picture a unleavened bread is given as a cracker 

  • Plav ( Yellow rice )

It is a Yellow rice, made with Basmati rice ( Indian long grain rice ). Rice is cooked in chicken stock with spices and then shredded chicken pieces is added. Turmeric is used for colouring agent. Its garnished with fried cashew nuts and raisins.

  • Mulagirachi ( Capsicum Chicken ) 

Its a hot and spicy chicken dish with lots of capsicum, green chillies, chilli powder and mint/coriander leaf . Its a bit tangy because tomatoes and tamarind pulp is even used in it. 
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In picture the egg salade is used as a topping for rice pudding with lots of  dry fruits and nuts.

  • Mutta salade ( Sweetened noodle made of egg yolk )

Its actually a noodle shaped sweet dish made of simply egg yolk. its made to flow in a sting to simmering sugar syrup flavored with Cardamom powder. There is a same or exact similar dish for Malabari Muslims but named Mutta Maala ( Literally means " Egg necklace " )

These authentic recipes were presented in my own way to make it more acceptable for westerners. I hope it will work. There are more recipes with me which will be put up I need some rest after a heavy dinner.

Courtesy to : Mrs Queenie Hallegua, wife of Late warden of Cochin Pardesi synagogue Mr Samuel Hallegua. for providing the above mentioned recipes.