Sunday 20 March @ 11am-5pm,

Sinclair and Selwyn Streets, Elsternwick

In One Voice
Jewish street festival: Give them curry


Food is naturally a preoccupation – if not obsession – of the In One Voice Jewish street festival to be held in Elsternwick.

Festival-goers can tuck into a great variety of Jewish food from numerous stalls. A cheesecake bakeoff and a bagel eating competition are also on the menu – but, so surprisingly, is curry-tasting hosted by Indian Jews.


Festival Manager Judith Weizman said that most people, including many in the Jewish community, weren’t aware that Jews settled in India, probably in the year 175 BCE, after being shipwrecked off the coast of Mumbai.

Jewish migrants settled in and around Mumbai in the eighteenth century and they have a few Jewish customs that are unique only to them.

They still maintain rituals like ‘Malida’ which involves men sitting around a plate full of roasted rice, fruits, spices and flowers and singing songs praising of Prophet Elijah; yet a fusion of Indian culture and spices have seeped into those traditions.

Mumbai-born Jews, Salome Erulkar and Jennifer Mordechai, who both emigrated to Australia in the nineties from Israel, are keen to explain to festival-goers how to make black-eyed bean curry, green pea and potato curry, pappadams plus Shabbat cake called Kanavli.


Salome Erulkar, who lives in the outer eastern suburbs, says: “Indian Jewish food involves a lot of vegetables, chickpeas and lentils but we also cook mutton, chicken and ‘kosher’ fish (fish with scales). Naturally, we use a lot of spices!”

Jennifer Mordechai, lives in the northern suburbs and is a member of a Sephardic synagogue in Balaclava.

“Jews in India experienced little anti-Semitism and they developed good relations with the local community in what was a predominantly Hindu society”, said Weizman

To this day, there are still eight synagogues in Mumbai.

In One Voice is also offering an impressive concert line up, an art exhibition, craft stalls, and community stalls plus traditional entertainments such as egg-and-spoon races, a sack race and a tug-of-war which will pit Jewish politicians and school principals against youth leaders.

A full festival program is available on

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