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Consul General of India hosts Hanukkah celebration dinner

Consul General of India, Houston, Dr. Anupam Ray and his wife Dr. Amit Goldberg celebrated Hanukkah at their residence on Monday, Dec. 18. Seen here with Chief Guest Harris County Judge Hon’ble Ed Emmett, Randy Czarlinsky, AJC, Houston, Vijay and his wife Marie Goradia, Dy. Consul General Surender Adhana and Mrs. Aparna Ray Pai.

Consul General of India, Houston, Dr. Anupam Ray and his wife Dr. Amit Goldberg celebrated Hanukkah at their residence on Monday, Dec. 18. Seen here with Chief Guest Harris County Judge Hon’ble Ed Emmett, Randy Czarlinsky, AJC, Houston, Vijay and his wife Marie Goradia, Dy. Consul General Surender Adhana and Mrs. Aparna Ray Pai.

by Shobana Muratee
The home of the Consul General of India, Houston, Dr. Anupam Ray and his wife Dr. Amit Goldberg was buzzing with children and guests on Monday, December 18 as they celebrated Hanukkah in association with AJC Global, Houston, Israeli Consulate General, Houston and Indian community leaders. They were joined by Harris County Judge Hon’ble Ed Emmett as the chief guest. This is the second year the Consul General has been observing the celebration with intimate fanfare.
Welcoming the guests, Dr. Ray said that his family was part Jewish (as his wife Dr. Amit Goldberg is of Israeli decent) and part Indian. He spoke of the two oldest faiths Hinduism and Judaism – both over 5000 years old – and shared an experience of his visits to Jerusalem annually: saying he can sense a civilization and a way of life that’s thousands of years old. He drew a comparison of the ancient Wailing Wall (or Western Wall), a part of the Jerusalem Temple that was built thousands of years ago and the ancient cities of Banaras (Varanasi), Nalanda and Sarnath (where Buddha gave his first sermon) in India. “We refer to parts of India as holy land much as the Jewish people refer to their country (as the holy land),” he said.
“We are today, two faiths, two people who share a lot in common: We share the importance of education and learning as a method to improve ourselves; we believe in family values,” he said. “And since we are in a Republican state here we all believe in free enterprise,” he related, humoring the audience. On a serious note he said India, Israel and the United States have excellent relations now. “They are together building an aircraft carrier with the platform systems of Indian origin the weapon systems of US origin and the electronics are of Israeli origin.” They are also collaborating on Industries, universities and research he informed us.

COMM_CG Hannukah _Ed Emmett

Helene Zadak, AJC giving an overview of Hanukkah.

Helene Zadak, AJC giving an overview of Hanukkah.

Randy’ Czarlinsky, Regional Director, AJC Houston seen speaking at the Hanukkah celebrations.

Randy’ Czarlinsky, Regional Director, AJC Houston seen speaking at the Hanukkah celebrations.

Chief Guest, Judge Ed Emmett, raised Presbyterian, grew up in East Texas where there was a Baptist church and a Methodist church, he said addressing the guests. When his family moved to Houston, he went to Bellaire HS that was then 35-40% Jewish. “By default, I was introduced to the Jewish faith and it was actually good at that time as I didn’t know anything about it,” he said. Judge Emmett also told the guests about his son Joseph who currently lives in India teaching Vedanta studies. “The two religions and heritages that I would never have come in contact with had it not been forced on me,” he

Hon. Lior Yonatan of the Israeli Consulate General and his wife Michal with hosts Consul General Dr. Ray and his wife Dr. Amit Goldberg. (Photos by Shobana Muratee)

Hon. Lior Yonatan of the Israeli Consulate General and his wife Michal with hosts Consul General Dr. Ray and his wife Dr. Amit Goldberg. (Photos by Shobana Muratee)

said. “But it’s the best thing that ever happened. We need that more often and so gatherings like this.”
Randall ‘Randy’ Czarlinsky, Regional Director, AJC Houston (American Jewish Community) in his address said, “This is the 25th anniversary for Israel and India having relationship and AJC has strong relationships with the Indian community conducting workshops here in Houston,” he added. Later, Helene Zadak, AJC Houston official gave a quick overview of Hanukkah as the children listened intently to her narration of the significance of Menorah and the Temple. Consul General Dr. Ray was joined by his mother Mrs. Ray, his sister Aparna Ray Pai and her family, Hon. Lior Yonatan of the Israeli Consulate General and his wife Michal, former Councilman, City of Sugar Land Harish Jajoo and leaders of Indo-American community in the celebration. Indian delicacies and choice sumptuous desserts made it a Happy Hanukkah!


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