Have you considered going to Southeast Asia for a Jewish trip?
The Jews have had a long history in Asia. Their settlements were established by Jewish immigrants, many of them fleeing from countries that persecuted them. Some communities thrived greatly, while some remained small because of religious and government conflicts.
Here are some sites that are that you should include on your next Jewish vacation.
The Last Synagogue in Burma
The Jewish community in Burma, also known as Myanmar, was established in the mid-19th century. The Jewish merchants who arrived there served as a channel for imports and exports with overseas cities and British colonial rulers. Many Jews became successful in business and some even served as government officials. As the Jewish population grew, so did their economic standing and philanthropic activities. But everything changed during the Second World War. The Japanese occupied Burma and expelled the Jews because they were believed to be British spies.
After the Japanese occupation, only 300 Jews remained. But this time, everything including their wealth was gone. Over time, many Jewish families left the country. The changes in the government also forced the remnants to leave.
Now, there are approximately 20 Jews living in Burma, including the caretakers of the last synagogue.
The last synagogue, Musmeah Yeshua, has a soaring high ceiling with beautiful columns was rebuilt in 1896. Before it has 126 silver Torah scrolls, but now there are only two. It was listed as one of the 188 Yangon heritage buildings and receives thousands of tourists every year.
The Small but Rich Jewish Community in Singapore
Here’s a fun fact: Israel is one of the few countries who helped Singapore after it gained its independence from Malaysia.
Because of this reason, Israelis are very famous and respected in Singapore. The Jewish community is small, mostly Orthodox, but rich and very welcomed.
There are two Synagogues in Singapore: The Chesed-El and Maghain Aboth. Maghain Aboth serves as a school to 150 students and a place to conduct bath rituals. There is also a kosher store that serves delicacies and products from Israel. They also cater to events such as weddings, bar mitzvah and other occasions on their banquet hall.
The synagogue is ideal for Jewish trip for businessmen and tourists alike because of the amenities available.
The 62-foot Tall Menorah in Indonesia
Who would have imagined that a giant Menorah can be found in one of the world’s most populous Muslim country? And the fact that it is the government’s initiative to build a 62-foot menorah is remarkable as well.
The first recorded history of Jewish community in Indonesia is written by Jacob Saphire. He interviewed a local Jew who told them that there are around 20 Jewish families in Batavia and few more in Surabaya and Semarang. Most of the Jews were merchants and were an ally to the colonial regime.