Esther David grew up in Ahmedabad, where her father Joshua, a hunter-turned-veterinarian, founded the Ahmedabad Zoo. She comes from the Bene Israel Jewish community in India.
Esther David trained as a sculptor and lectures on art history at the School of Architecture, School of Interior Design and National Institute of Fashion Technology. She is currently working for the development of art in underprivileged areas in Gujrat. She writes in both English and Gujarati, often focusing on the history and culture of the dwindling Jewish community in India.
She has co-authored India’s Jewish Heritage: Ritual, Art and Life-cycle. She is published in French and her work is included in the library of modern Jewish literature, Syracuse University Press, New York.
- The Walled City
- By the Sabarmati
- Book of Esther
- Book of Rachel
Book of Rachel is the story of Rachel, who has been living alone in her house by the sea. Her husband is no more, her children have migrated to Israel as have the Bene Israel Jews who lived nearby. In her loneliness what helps is the evenness of her routine. It rests on two pillars: the synagogue in her village and the preparation of traditional Bene Israel Jewish food.
The synagogue, where she was married, is now in her care and, every Friday, at the beginning of the Jewish Sabbath, she opens its rusty lock to sweep and clean it, hoping it will become the scene of communal gatherings again. The ancient recipes she prepares provide alink to her children as she looks forward to their return home.
When developers come up with a plan to acquire the synagogue and its surrounding land with the consent of the synagogue committee, it threatens to take away not only what is to her an emblem of her faith but also the hope of the return of a rich past. And Rachel emerges as an unlikely opponent. In Book of Rachel, Esther David weaves a heart-warming tale of a woman’s battle to live life on her own terms.