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YANGON: Previously known as Rangoon

Musmeah Yeshua Synagogue, 85, 26th Street, Yangon, Tel. 951 75062. article and photo with story and photo with story [January 2010]

Jewish history [January 2010]

  • Cemetery: "Nearly 700 Jewish tombs are in the palm tree-lined cemetery, the oldest dating from 1876, and the most recent 1985. Many are crumbling as Moses Samuels, the trustee of the only synagogue in Burma, struggles with limited funds to maintain the molding tombs against the tropical climate. Only eight Jewish families remain in Burma. At its peak, the community had 3,000 people, mostly of Persian, Indian and British origin. Most of Burma's Jews fled before the Japanese invasion of World War II, and as Gen. Ne Win nationalized private business during 26 years of socialist isolationism from 1962-88 source and information
  • The oldest tombstone dates from 1876 when "Jewish merchants and teak, cotton, and rice" were pouring in. The last stone dates from 1985. Source: http://www.planetbahai.org/resources/news/news0702/renews072302a.html (no longer available) [August 2003]
  • Photos of cemetery with 600+ graves [January 2010]
  • "I followed the barefoot man with the machete as we crunched through the overgrown weeds of the Jewish cemetery...This piece of land with its Hebrew and English gravestones and its endless growth of green vegetation sits right in the middle of a city that wants to grow, creating a strange dichotomy between echoes of the past and future plans. The military junta-style dictatorship of Myanmar is tolerant of multi-cultural cemeteries, however it wants to move them out of the center of town. The Chinese, Christian, and Japanese cemeteries have all been uprooted and relocated to the outskirts of the city, making way for condominiums and shops." photo and source [January 2010]
  • story Yangon Journal "Burmese Jew Shoulders Burden of His Heritage" 2002: "

    The oldest tomb is dated 1876, a time when Jewish merchants and traders in teak, cotton and rice were pouring into what was then Burma from Iraq, Iran, Europe and India. The last is dated 1985, when most of a population that once numbered more than 2,500 had already departed, many fleeing the Japanese during World War II and others leaving when their businesses were nationalized in the 1960's." [January 2010]

Last Updated on Saturday, 16 January 2010 11:49
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