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TO MARCH 31
Before his spiral into lameness, Salman Rushdie wrote: “They have almost all gone now, the Jews of Cochin. The last bachelors and spinsters sun themselves toothlessly in the childless Mattancherri lanes. This, too, is an extinction to be mourned; not an extermination, such as occurred elsewhere, but the end, nevertheless, of a story that took two thousand years to tell.” For “Cochin Diary: Jewish Life in Southern India,” Maryland-based photographer Joshua Eli Cogan visited the toothless elders (15 remain) who chose not to follow their community to Israel. (His Framers is pictured.) After hobnobbing with the town’s Christians, Hindus, and Muslims, Cogan searched out last century’s Jewish graves, nearly invisible beneath thick foliage, and, through great effort, tracked down the Chendamangalam Synagogue; abandoned for 70 years, it already looks like an ancient ruin. Cogan cheers up, though, with an image of Christian and Hindu kids lighting candles in front of a 16th-century Jewish Kabbalist’s grave, and he reminds us that Cochin was one of the few places in the world where Jews enjoyed a secure home base. The show, sponsored by the B’nai B’rith Klutznick National Jewish Museum, is on view from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays through Fridays, to Wednesday, March 31, at the Sixth and I Historic Synagogue, 600 I St. NW. Free. (202) 857-6583. (Bidisha Banerjee)