3000 Years of Jewish India

13 Nights/14 Days
Mumbai, Cochin, Backwaters of Kerala, Jaipur, Delhi, Agra and the Taj Mahal

January 17-30, 2018

Learn from Dr. Shalva Weil, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem expert anthropologist on the Jews of India

 Post-Tour Extension to Khajuraho and Varanasi

Picture yourself in southern India, the only place on the planet where Jews have always lived in peace. It’s a beautiful, cool night, and you are walking in the footsteps of the Jews who first arrived as spice traders 3000 years ago, and settled there 2,000 years ago.

Today you can still explore their centuries old synagogues, traditions, and neighborhoods. Perhaps you are on a private, luxurious houseboat making your way through misty canals and the serene waterways known as “the Backwaters.” Continue on to the Pink City of Jaipur, Delhi, and the Taj Mahal, then extend if time allows to exotic Khajuraho and Varanasi.

Meet Your Experts

Your Scholar in Residence

Dr. Weil discussing the history of this synagogue in Mumbai.

EXCLUSIVE: Learn about Jewish India from the foremost academic authority, Dr. Shalva Weil

Unique to Burkat Global, Dr. Shalva Weil, senior researcher at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, will be the scholar in residence for 3000 Years of Jewish India, traveling with us and teaching our group. In the United States, Dr. Weil has lectured at Stanford University and Westchester Reform Temple in Scarsdale, New York.

Throughout, Dr. Weil will share her decades of research, knowledge, and experiences living among the Bene Israel Jews in India as well as the Indian Jewish community in Israel.

Working with Dr. Weil, Burkat Global will supply pre-tour reading and video lists, maps, and timelines to help prepare you to get the most out of your 3000 Years of Jewish India journey. We do promise though… there will be no quizzes.


Your Tour Director/Guides

Joshua Shapurkar was born and raised in Mumbai as a Bene Israeli Jew and has been working as a licensed tour guide for the past 25 years. Specializing in Jewish tours he has worked with many elite Jewish groups like the UJA, the Jewish Museum of New York, the JDC (Joint Distribution Committee) and more. In addition to Jewish history, he specializes in Indian antiquity and religions. 



Hanna Shapurkar was also born and bought up as a Bene Israeli Jew. She has been working as a tour guide for the past 10 years. With a passion for guiding, she has been working with many Jewish groups to rave reviews, including 3000 Years of Jewish India, taking them around Mumbai and its outskirts. 


Your Hosts

Iris and Howard Burkat

Iris and Howard Burkat’s first tour, 3000 Years of Jewish India, in January 2014, grew out of many trips to India over more than 30 years, and one very special visit to Jerusalem and the Israel Museum’s Cochin synagogue installation that sparked their interest in Jewish India.

Iris and Howard had already made several trips to Kerala in south India, exploring its many virtually unknown and rarely visited ancient synagogues. They learned much about them from Dr. Shalva Weil, an anthropologist at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, said to be the leading expert in the field. Based on Iris and Howard’s enthusiasm, Dr. Weil was invited to tell the story of the Indian Jews at their congregation in Scarsdale, New York, Westchester Reform Temple. After her presentation to a fascinated audience of 150, Dr. Weil suggested we begin doing a tour, and she would join us as the educator. 

Iris and Howard have traveled to more than 70 countries. Burkat Global was born out of this passion for travel and their professional marketing and services development experience in New York’s high-end travel, personal finance and entertainment industries.


Our 2014 groupWho Should Go On This Trip?

This trip is for everyone, of any background. Our travelers have ranged in age from 23 to 80. They have been Jews and non-Jews, mobile and less mobile, from across the United States, Germany, the UK, Canada, and Israel.

There is as much walking as you want, but there is always a handy tuk-tuk (auto rickshaw) available if you prefer to ride.

You will meet interesting people and make great friends!


Read more: Tour Highlights

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