The University of Mumbai is now offering Marathi classes at the Tel Aviv University in Israel. The classes are aimed at keeping the Marathi culture and language alive among Bene Israelis, a Jewish community from the Konkan that moved to Israel after India’s independence.
Two professors of the University, with the help of a member from the Marathi Development Organisation, held the first Marathi class for 26 Israeli students on Monday. The classes will go on for a month.
For those Bene Israelis who have to work in the mornings, a second batch will begin on July 20. These classes will be held in the evenings.
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The Bene Israeli community had been settled in the Konkan region for 2,000 years before some of them moved to Israel in 1947. Their population in Israel has now grown close to 1,00000.
The community members had requested Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis for the course during his visit to the Tel Aviv University in 2015. MU Vice-Chancellor Sanjay Deshmukh, too, faced a similar demand during his visit, after which the decision to start a course was taken.