Koder, Samuel Shabdai

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KODER, SAMUEL SHABDAI (1869–1941), merchant and leader of the community of White Jews in Cochin (*Kochi). From 1903 until his death, he was a warden of the Pardesi synagogue. He was the first Jewish councilor on the municipal council of Cochin and its chairman from 1920 to 1924. He organized the water supply from Alwaye to the town of Mattancheri, and was managing director of the ferry and transport service of the port conservancy and the Cochin electricity company. Deeply concerned with the welfare of his people, he made generous contributions to Jewish and other charities, and through his efforts Jewish students were granted exemption from sitting for examinations on the Sabbath and Jewish holidays. He was the recipient of many honors in recognition of his public services. After his death, his son, Shabdai Samuel *Koder (1907–1994), became the leader of the Jewish communities in southern India.


Fischel, in: Herzl Yearbook, 4 (1961/62), 318–9. add. bibliography: N. Katz and E.S. Goldberg, The Last Jews of Cochin: Jewish Identity in Hindu India (1993).

[Walter Joseph Fischel]