Barbara C. Johnson

Barbara C. Johnson is associate professor of anthropology and coordinator of Jewish Studies at Ithaca College in New York. Continuing over thirty years of research and writing about the Cochin Jews of Kerala, she is currently writing a book on Kerala Jewish women’s culture in India and Israel, framed by translations, description and analysis of their Malayalam-language songs. Her publications include Ruby of Cochin: An Indian Jewish Woman Remembers, co-authored with Ruby Daniel (1995) and Oh, Lovely Parrot!: Jewish Women’s Songs from Kerala. (Compact disc with commentary and English translations, The Jewish Music Research Center, Jerusalem, 2004).

Articles by this author

Hortense Powdermaker

Hortense Powdermaker explored the balance of involvement and detachment necessary for participant-observer fieldwork in cultural anthropology, stressing the ability to “step in and out of society.” Her secular Jewish identity was apparently a factor in learning this skill, exemplified in an academic career that included thirty years of college teaching and the writing of five major books based on widely diverse fieldwork studies.

Ruby Daniel

Ruby (Rivka) Daniel lived for more than half of her life in A voluntary collective community, mainly agricultural, in which there is no private wealth and which is responsible for all the needs of its members and their families.kibbutz Neot Mordekhai in the Upper Galilee, but her book Ruby of Cochin: An Indian Jewish Woman Remembers richly illuminates Jewish life in Kerala, a green land of tropical abundance and religious tolerance on India’s southwest coast. Born in December 1912, Daniel spent the first half of her life in the ancient Jewish community of Cochin, where she developed her gifts as a compelling storyteller. She was the first Jewish girl who left the neighborhood to continue her education, and the first to complete high school and attend college. After working as a government clerk and serving in the Indian Navy, she was among the first in her community to make Lit. "ascent." A "calling up" to the Torah during its reading in the synagogue.aliyah, in 1951, and to join a kibbutz. She was also the first Cochin Jewish woman to write a book.

Cochin: Jewish Women's Music

For many centuries, Cochin Jewish women have been singing Jewish songs, both in Hebrew and in the Malayalam language of Kerala, their ancient homeland on the tropical southwest coast of India.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Barbara C. Johnson." (Viewed on April 14, 2021) <>.


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