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In Kerala, Jewish women sang in Hebrew together with men, joining in full voice to sing in the synagogue, at the Shabbat family table and at community-wide gatherings to celebrate holidays and life cycle events.
In contrast to many other traditional Jewish communities, it was not their custom to prohibit men from hearing women’s voices raised in song.
The literacy displayed in the old notebooks of Malayalam songs and the women’s knowledge of Hebrew is not surprising in the historical context of Kerala, a region of India unique both in its emphasis on literacy in general and in the relatively high status of its women in particular. Several of these notebooks are over a hundred years old and the vast majority of the collected songs are no longer performed or even remembered, since almost all the Kerala Jews immigrated to Israel beginning in the 1950s.
Translation is complicated by the archaic language of many of the songs, the particularity of Jewish Malayalam and the textual transformations resulting from combined oral and written transmission.
In Rabbi Yehezkel’s hand written response , he wrote: "...after the destruction of the Second Temple (may it soon be rebuilt and reestablished in our days! 68 CE, about ten thousand men and women had come to the land of Malabar and were pleased to settle in four places; those places being Cranganore, Dschalor, Indian rulers granted the Jewish leader Joseph Rabban the rank of prince over the Jews of Cochin, giving him the rulership and tax revenue of a pocket principality in Anjuvannam near Cranganore, and rights to seventy-two "free houses".
from Ì¢âÂÒLes femmes chantent, les hommes ÌÄå©coutent.