Built in 1878 to accommodate the needs of a steadily growing
Jewish community, Maghain Aboth is the oldest surviving and still practicing
synagogue in Southeast Asia.
Since the early 19th century mainly Sephardic Jews from
Iran and Iraq settled in Singapore as merchants. They were able to practice
their religious freedom until World War II, when most of them were interned
by the Japanese. After the War the Jewish community dispersed and only
few Jews remained in Singapore, who nevertheless remained inflluential.
The first Chief-Minister of Singapore, David Saul Marshall was an important
member of the synagogue's community.
Maghain Aboth, meaning Shield of Our Fathers, looks
like a wealthy colonial house until one steps inside. Maghain Aboth
is a two-storey Neo-Classical building with a U-shaped ladie's gallery
on the second floor. The compounds of the synagogue even comprise a
mikvah, which is a ritual bath.
24 Waterloo Street
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