Siona Benjamin: Jewish Indian Artist

“Siona Benjamin is a painter originally from Bombay, now living in the US. Her work reflects her background of being brought up Jewish in a predominantly Hindu and Muslim India. In her paintings she combines the imagery of her past with the role she plays in America today, making a mosaic inspired by both Indian miniature paintings and Sephardic icons.”

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Siona Benjamin Website


Sinoa Benjamin



Siona Benjamin Art 2


Siona Benjamin art




Jews of Bollywood (Asian Jewish Life)

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This is the story of the rise and fall of Jews in the world’s largest film industry. Bollywood produces a thousand films annually, three times more than Hollywood does, in twenty different languages, which are seen by three billion people across the world.

Few realise that Jews played as important a role in Bollywood as they did in Hollywood, even if the roles differed in nature. Almost all of India’s earliest female stars were Jewish. The introduction of sound brought an abrupt end to many of their film careers for they were incapable of delivering dialogues in Indian languages as they had never mastered any. The few who were quick to learn survived.

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BINA Congregation


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A marked increase in Jewish immigration from India to Canada began in the early 1960’s. Most families settled in Toronto; some settled in Hamilton, Montreal and a few in other parts of Canada. Many of these families, who had settled in Toronto, did not attend High Holiday services at the local synagogues because of high fees. In 1970, a couple of families managed to arrange affordable High Holiday services for the Bene Israel community. For some families it was the first High Holiday services they attended since leaving India. As more Bene Israel immigrants from India settled in Toronto, they felt the need to get together socially, to be supportive of each other and provide opportunities for their children to get to know each other. In 1978, several families made a concerted effort to organize a social event. Letters were sent out and a potluck social was held in a local public school in Scarborough in November 1978. It was a great success! The organizing group was encouraged by the response and the participants expressed a need to get together as a community and have some fun. After a few successful functions, such as a Purim social in 1979 and a picnic in July 1979, some families expressed the desire to organize High Holiday services according to Bene Israel tradition. Continue reading