anthropologising: “Scenes of Jewish Life in Kerala, India (1937)”

by tobybee

“Documentary footage made by anthropologist David Mandelbaum in September, 1937.

David Goodman Mandelbaum (1911-1987), who taught at the University of California, Berkeley from 1946 until his retirement in 1978, was one of the first cultural anthropologists to undertake ethnographic research in India. In 1937, he visited Kerala during the High Holy Days, and spent two weeks with the Jewish community there, documenting many of their customs, taking photographs and a short film, and collecting materials he published in “The Jewish Way of Life in Cochin” (Jewish Social Studies 1/1939) and in several later articles. Mandelbaum served in the U.S. Army in India and Burma during the Second World War, and taught at the University of Minnesota before coming to U.C. Berkeley. His many publications included the authoritative two-volume “Society in India” (1970). His analysis of the social structure of the Kerala Jews had a significant influence on subsequent scholarship about them.”

from the David G. Mandelbaum collection, The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life
via Bint Battuta

But, also, “Life at Jew Street today is much quieter.” (this community has mostly moved to Israel. a reminder that we lose something when people leave a space.)