A Jewish community has existed in Singapore for more than 150 years. The first Jews to settle there were merchants from Baghdad, and this group set the Sephardi tone of Jewish life that continues to this day. The first synagogue was erected in 1878. The early immigrants from Iraq were later joined by Jews from India and Ashkenazim from central Europe. On the eve of World War II, there were 5,000 Jews in Singapore, and they suffered great hardship during the Japanese occupation. Many emigrated after the liberation, but today the city is at least the temporary home to several hundred Israelis and other foreign Jews who have found work on the island. Sephardim account for about 90% of the permanent residents.
The Jewish Welfare Board represents the community. There are two synagogues (both Sephardi), but only one is used on a regular basis. Another congregation, Progressive Ashkenazi, holds services but does not have its own building. There is one resident rabbi and a Sunday school for children. Kosher food is available, and there is a mikva and a cemetery.
A Jewish Welfare Board newsletter called L’Chaim appears monthly, as does the Singapore Shofar, published by the Progressive congregation. The community center, where the Hebrew school, an auditorium, and a library are located, is a focus of cultural life. The Jewish Welfare Board also operates an old-age home.
2 Oxley Rise
Jacob Ballas Community Centre & Maghain Aboth Synagogue
24-26 Waterloo Street
Tel: (65) 6337 2189
United Hebrew Congregation (Reform)
Israel and Singapore have full diplomatic relations.
Jewish Welfare Board
Maghain Aboth Synagogue
24 Waterloo Street, Singapore 187950
Tel. 65 337 2189, Fax. 65 336 2127
58 Dalvey Rd, Singapore 259463
Tel. 65 235 0966 , Fax. 65 733 7008
For up to date information on Kosher restaurants and locations please see the Shamash Kosher Database