The Publisher – Rabbi Shmuel Ben-Shalom

I would first like to take this opportunity to introduce myself. Before coming to Israel, I worked voluntarily for many organizations in India, including as a founding member and Joint Secretary for the All India Jewish Federation, as an executive committee member for the Bene Israel Conference Education Fund, and for the United Synagogue of India. I was also a Torah Study Director for the Organization of the Army of Hashem and served a number of years as Honorable Secretary and Honorable Hazzan (Cantor) under the spiritual leadership of Mr. Binyamin Shlomo Dighorkar ז”ל for the Kurla Bene Israel Synagogue of Kurla, Bombay. The history of this great prayer hall commenced in 1915 at the residence of the late Mr. Itzhak Moshe Jhiradkar ז”ל, and prayers were subsequently organized by my great grandfather, Mr. Ya’acov Shalom Divekar ז”ל, in a rented hall.

Since my immigration to Israel in 1995, I have been studying Torah in several Yeshivot in Jerusalem. Yet, I feel duty bound to continue to render my services to the worldwide Indian Jewish community, particularly in Israel, India, Britain, Canada, and the United States. After learning and growing in Torah for a number of years in the Boston Kollel, I was instructed by the Rosh Kollel, Rabbi Shlomo Ashkenasy Shlita, and by Rabbi Avraham Hayyim Carmel Shlita to establish an organization in Jerusalem called the Binyan Israel Institute to aid and assist our Bene Israel brethren and to raise the level of awareness of their religious heritage.

In due time, we hope to establish a community center in Jerusalem in order to serve the needs of our brethren. Presently, however, the primary aims of our educational undertaking are as follows:

* To inculcate an awareness of Judaism and to transmit knowledge of the Torah and its teachings.

* To transmit and instill the moral and ethical values of the Jewish heritage.

* To create a strong sense of identification with, and a concern for, all Jewish people.

* To deal with halachic advice, check religious articles, supervise seminaries and camps, and provide religious guidance and counseling.

* To publish a monthly journal on halacha and a Torah anthology on the weekly Torah portions.

* To reprint Siddurim and other religious books written by our community members.

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Your efforts on behalf of Indian Jewry are significant and cherished. As you know, we are currently the only organization in the world providing bilingual and trilingual publications to the Indian Jewish (Bene Israel) community. We aim to continue to help our brethren by strengthening their Jewish identity and augmenting their Torah knowledge.