Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue is the second oldest Sephardic synagogue in Mumbai. Constructed in 1884, the synagogue was designed by Bombay architects Gostling and Morris and was paid for by the Sassoon family, who were prominent philanthropists in Bombay in the nineteenth century. It was built in the classical revival style and originally had Minton tile floors imported from Stoke-on-Trent in England. The synagogue’s decorative interiors featured Victorian stained glass windows and rich Burmese teakwood furnishings and staircase. The synagogue is cared for by the Jewish community, which has diminished in recent years, leaving the synagogue without sufficient funds for conservation. The synagogue is in need of comprehensive treatment as water infiltration has damaged the roof, ceiling, and wall surfaces. The stained glass panels must be cleaned and restored, and the windows, timber balconies, and staircases require careful restoration.
How We Helped
In 2010, WMF funded the creation of a comprehensive conservation plan for Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue. This plan addresses structural and architectural integrity as well as the restoration of historic finishes and stained glass. WMF is currently working with a local conservator to restore the synagogue’s nineteenth-century stained glass windows. This project will address cracks, lead fatigue, rusting, and the buildup of years of particulate matter.
Why It Matters
The Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue continues to be used as a synagogue and is the center of Jewish cultural and religious life in Mumbai. The building contains unique features that draw on the various cultural forces in Mumbai in the nineteenth century, combining Jewish traditions with Indian and English colonial influences.