In the midst of a mix of rapid urbanization and village economics, in the centrally located Tapalnaka on Mahatma Gandhi Road nestles a small bit of Israel.
The Beth El Synagogue is home to about 20 Bene-Israeli families in Navi Mumbai and the nearby Raigad district combined. It has been around since 1849, and is the only Jewish temple to have been so. Prayer services are held thrice a day, the first being the Arbith (Evening prayer) held after sunset. The Torah/ Sacred book is read every Monday, Thursday, and Saturday or on Sabbath (The Jewish believe God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh, so Sabbath is the day of rest). Though females are allowed entry into the Synagogue, they have a separate enclosure, entry to which is from the outside. The Rabbi leads the prayers on a raised platform facing west towards Jerusalem. Prayer services, held in Hebrew, involve reading from the Torah for which a quorum of 10 witnesses are required.
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