Sweet Malida: The Bene Israel Community of India

Who are the Bene Israel Jews of India? Where did they come from? How did they survive in India? Poet Zilka Joseph will read from her new poetry collection, Sweet Malida, and discuss her home community in Kolkata and its traditions.


The book is a richly sensory collection of poems and short prose inspired by this ancient community to which the poet herself belongs. Using various poetic forms, Zilka Joseph launches on an imaginative journey, delving into the history of this small community of Indian Jews, their food and culinary customs, and their special connection to the Prophet Elijah. Sweet Malida was published this year by Mayapple Press, which is run by WJC member Judith Kerman.


For more information: http://mayapplepress.com/sweet-malida-memories-of-a-bene-israel-woman-zilka-joseph/


Zilka Joseph was born in Mumbai, lived in Kolkata, and now lives in Ann Arbor, USA.  She teaches creative writing workshops, and is a freelance editor and manuscript advisor. She is dedicated to coaching, lifting up  every writer she works with, and creating a unique community of writers/students wherever she lives and teaches. 

Zilka’s work is influenced by Indian and Western cultures and by her Bene Israel roots. She was awarded a Zell Fellowship (MFA program) and the Elsie Choy Lee Scholarship (Centre for the Education of Women) from the University of Michigan. She has received many award nominations, honors, participated in literary festivals and readings, and has been featured on several radio programs and online interviews. Her work has appeared in POETRY, Poetry Daily, The Writers’ Chronicle, Frontier Poetry, Kenyon Review Online, Michigan Quarterly Review, Asia Literary Review, Cha, Poetry at Sangam, Pratik, The Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Review Americana, Gastronomica, and in anthologies such as Cheers To Muses: Contemporary Works by Asian American Women, Uncommon Core, RESPECT: The Poetry of Detroit Music, Matwaala Anthology of Poets from South Asia (which she co-edited), 101 Jewish Poems for the Third Millennium and The Kali Project.