Bangladesh – with Jewish connections

Being a tourist here is a singular experience because the people aren’t used to seeing visitors.

By DAVID ZETLER
April 21, 2011 20:58
Bangladesh travel

Bangladesh_521. (photo credit: David Zetler)

 
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Iwas interested in including Bangladesh in our tour to Asia, but there would be problems involved, the main one being that as Israelis, my wife and I were not allowed into the Muslim country. An Israeli diplomat in Asia told me about Mordecai Cohen, who grew up in what is today Bangladesh. I contacted him in Kolkata, where he now lives, and planned how to get our Bangladeshi visas using our foreign passports. An Asian Bangladeshi mission kindly granted us visas and even warned us about the traffic in Dhaka.

We arrived in Kolkata, where we were made very welcome by Mordy and Jo Cohen. Mordy’s great-grandparents, Jews from Iran and Iraq, settled in East Bengal in the 1800s in what was then India. Very few Jews settled in East Bengal, as opposed to West Bengal, which had a thriving Jewish community of more than 5,000 at its peak in and around Kolkata (then Calcutta).

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