JEWISH IS­LAND LIFE SINCE EARLY 1800s

The Jewish Chronicle - - EDUCATION -

JEWS first came to Sin­ga­pore in the early 19th cen­tury when Sir Stam­ford Raf­fles es­tab­lished Sin­ga­pore as a trad­ing post. Most were of Bagh­dadi ori­gin and had em­i­grated from In­dia.

In 1840, the com­mu­nity es­tab­lished its first sy­n­a­gogue on what is still known as “Sy­n­a­gogue Street”.

The phi­lan­thropist Sir Manasseh Meyer (1846-1930) built a sy­n­a­gogue in 1905 — Ch­esed El, on his pri­vate estate.

When the Sec­ond World War broke out, there were more 1,500 Jewish in­hab­i­tants of Sin­ga­pore, many of whom were in­terned when Ja­pan in­vaded in 1942. Af­ter the war, a large num­ber em­i­grated to Aus­tralia, Eng­land, the United States and Is­rael. By the late 1960s, the com­mu­nity had dwin­dled to ap­prox­i­mately 450.

To­day, there are ap­prox­i­mately 2,000 Jews liv­ing in Sin­ga­pore. Both the Maghain Aboth (built in 1878) and Ch­esed El syn­a­gogues are ac­tive, as is a Pro­gres­sive com­mu­nity, the United He­brew Con­gre­ga­tion.

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