||First edition of the daily prayers translated from Hebrew into Marathi by Joseph Ezekiel Rajpurker...and published by Ezekiel Benjamin Penkar.
The original tradition, is that the Bene Israel are the descendants of the survivors (seven men and seven women) of a shipwreck off the Konkan coast at Navgaon, about 26 miles south of Bombay. Bene Israel tradition tells of a Jew, David Rahabi, who about the year 1000 C.E. (or, some say around 1400 C.E.) discovered the Bene Israel in their villages, recognized their vestigial Jewish customs, and taught them about Judaism, preparing certain young men among them to be the religious preceptors of the Bene Israel. They were called Kajis and their position became hereditary. They were also recognized officially as judges in disputes within the Bene Israel community. Somewhere along the line the Bene Israel formed a special attachment to the Prophet Elijah. They invoke his blessings on all auspicious occasions. Another typically Bene Israel feature is their custom called Malida: i.e., the preparation of a ceremonial food offering (composed of special ingredients) accompanied by recitation of Jewish prayers, psalms, and other appropriate biblical quotations on the occasions of purification after childbirth; preparation for a wedding; when taking, and after completing, a vow; after a circumcision, and for all other auspicious occasions; whenever there is a crisis or need for divine help; for the expression of gratitude to God; and on Tu Bi-Shevat to celebrate the first fruits of their locale, and also to give respect to be Prophet Elijah at Kandala, the place where he is believed to have appeared to the Bene Israel.
Joseph E. Rajpurkar (1834–1905), scholar of the Bene Israel community in Bombay. After studying at the Free Assembly School, he became a teacher in the David Sassoon Benevolent Institution, Bombay, in 1856 and after five years its headmaster, a post which he occupied for 40 years. In 1871 he was appointed Hebrew examiner at the University of Bombay, which elected him a fellow in 1879. A master of Hebrew as well as of Marathi, the vernacular of Bombay, he translated over 20 works of the Hebrew liturgy and many English works of Jewish interest into Marathi.
His translations of Hebrew liturgical works include the Daily Prayer Book (1889, 1924), the mahzor, piyyutim, and selihot. In 1887 he published Kuttonet Yosef - a handbook of Hebrew abbreviations, a Hebrew grammar in Marathi, a Hebrew primer for children, and prayers for various occasions.