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The Bene Israel, India’s better Jewish community, doesn’t alarm Passover Passover. The chat in their language, Marathi, is “Anashi Dhakaicha San,” which agency “The Anniversary of the Closing of the Anas.”
San is the chat for holiday, and anas refers to a acerb aqueous in a pot.
It makes faculty that the Marathi chat for Yom Kippur is “Darfalnicha San, or “The Anniversary of the Closing Doors,” back Bene Israel fast in their homes abaft shut doors — the aboriginal Bene Israeli abbey wasn’t congenital in Mumbai until 1796.
But the abstruseness abaft The Anniversary of the Closing of the Acerb Aqueous in a Pot takes a bit added explanation.
Image by Shulie Madnick
Magen Hassidim, a Bene Israel abbey in Byculla, Mumbai.
The aboriginal acknowledgment of Anashi Dhakaicha San appears in “The History of the Bene Israel of India,” a book in English by the acclaimed Bene Israeli association baton and historian Haeem Samuel Kehimkar, who lived from 1830 – 1909. This aboriginal actual arrangement about the Indian Jewish association active in Mumbai and its surrounding villages on the Konkan bank was accounting in the nineteenth century. It was kept hidden in the family’s control for 40 years afterwards Kehimkar’s death. The arrangement was accustomed to Dr. Immanuel Olswangner, a researcher of the Indian Jewish communities, and was appear in 1937 in Tel Aviv.
In “The History of the Bene Israel of India,” Kehimkar writes, “From the 14th of Nissan they empiric for eight canicule a anniversary alleged Anasi Dhakacha San i.e. ‘the anniversary of the closing of the A n a s (an earthen chatty, absolute acerb aqueous acclimated as a sauce). They abstained from application the acerb liquid, as able-bodied as any leaven, during the aeon of the feast. On the 23rd of the ages they baldheaded the chatty, and acclimated annual as before.”
Earthen communicative is a adobe pot. That is how Dr. Olswangner referred to Passover as “The Anniversary of the Covered Pot” in “Travel Impressions,” his India biking annual addendum appear in 1936 in Hebrew by now-defunct Israeli advertisement Davar.
The Bene Israel abolish all aureate and annual from their homes, and agnate to added Jewish communities, absorb rice, legumes, and beans on Passover. “Biblical Rituals and Passover Traditions of the Bene Israel, India’s Better Jewish Community,” appear in Haaretz bi-weekly in 2016, explores added the community’s over 2000-year history in India and its different Passover traditions.
By some accounts, the acerb liquid, or the leaven, or both in the adobe pot were again active underground or nestled in coves in a mud bank outdoors.
Perhaps it was a bind or a accustomed aggrandize amateur in the pot? Or a booze acclimated in authoritative booze and sandan, an idli-like hardly sweetened, fermented, and aflame semolina, or a rice block with attic milk.
Image by Yawar Nazir/Getty Images
Indian adobe pot
In an email barter Rabbi Romiel Daniel, a Bene Israeli, and the Rabbi at Rego Park Jewish Center, an Ashkenazi Conservative abbey in Queens, NY, he declared that it was “a appropriate adobe pot for absolute a acerb liquid, a affectionate of yoghurt culture.” Noreen, the Rabbi’s wife, relayed that the pot with the yogurt ability was angry and abeyant from the beam on the porch.
Yogurt was abhorred by the Jewish communities beyond the apple due to cooler until Kosher for Passover became available.
In an commodity “Don’t canyon over a Persian Passover,” appear in The Jerusalem Post in 2019, Jacqueline Super writes: “Persian Jews mark the end of Passover, accepted as Shab-e Sal, with a meal composed of dairy articles featuring a array of yogurt and assemble dishes.”
Suppose the Bene Israelis had a agnate tradition? Each ancestors possibly kept any annual they had in their homes in the adobe pots. The yogurt ability was absolutely continued asleep at the end of the Passover. Its abatement into the pot, in the aboriginal place, ability accept been a allegorical hametz abatement ritual.
However, Kehimkar accurately wrote that it was a acerb aqueous acclimated as a sauce.
The one booze or acerb additive Indians use with abounding foods is a tamarind chutney. It is usually attenuated out with baptize to abstract its essence.
Another souring abettor archetypal in the Konkani littoral cuisine in the villages south of Mumbai is kokum, agnate to mangosteen, usually acclimated in angle curries. A Konkani Hindu woman aggregate on Instagram that her mom accumulated kokum with amoroso for candied and acerb syrup. It was “canned” in a adobe pot or a bottle jar for a ages and acclimated in sherbet and kept in the kitchen, out of the absolute sun. It’s the Indian kombucha.
A sweet, salty, and acerb tamarind soda is additionally an acutely accepted auspicious cooler in the Konkan region, area seven Bene Israeli men and seven women aboriginal done aground afterwards beat animality in the Galilee aloof afore the phenomenon of Chanukah.
Some bookish works accounting in the 19th century, yet to be translated from the Marathi, ability afford added ablaze on this about abolished and, for the best part, abandoned attitude of the covered pot. Revisiting the baby actual Bene Israel association associates in the villages south of Mumbai ability additionally booty the assumption out if any are still practicing this ritual.
So what’s in the adobe pot at the centermost of the Marathi chat for Passover, acerb chutney or yoghurt? Aloof back this animal detective assignment has hit a wall, I begin a advertence to the acerb aqueous in Shirley Berry Isenberg’s “India’s Bene Israel; A Comprehensive Inquiry and Sourcebook,” appear in 1989.
In it, she wrote: “A appropriate adobe pot for absolute a acerb aqueous a affectionate of yoghurt culture. The Bene Israel abstained from application this substance, as able-bodied as from application all added forms of leaven, during the eight canicule of this holiday.
The ability of answer acicular to the tamarind sauce, but the access in Shirley Berry Isenbeg’s book accurate Rabbi Daniel’s yogurt ability account. Abstruseness solved.
You can acquisition the columnist on Instagram at @foodwanderings.
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