The influx of Sephardim into the ancient Jewish community of Cochin, in south India, resulted in a pattern of social organization unique in the Jewish world: the infamous white Jew/black Jew/brown Jew system. The Jews of Cochin organized themselves in patterns derived from their Hindu social context, a system known in the West as the caste system.
One Shabbat in July 1987, for the first time since the synagogue was built 419 years ago, there was no minyan in the fabled Paradesi Synagogue of Cochin. Since the beginning of 1987, the population of Jew Town, once about 300, has diminished from 33 to 29 due to immigration to Israel. Similar forlorn scenarios are being repeated throughout India.