Jews: Vanishing Colony

Last week, in the sleepy port city of Cochin (pop. 35,076) on India's Malabar coast, glittering strips of tinsel and Stars of David were strung over a narrow two-mile street known locally as "Jew Town." Nearly 200 religious scholars, archaeologists and historians from Asia, Europe and the U.S. were in town, along with a delegation of Indian leaders led by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. The guests had gathered to commemorate the 1900th anniversary of one of the smallest (100 people) but most resilient communities in the Dias pora: the Jews of Cochin.

According to legend, the Cochin Jews arrived on...