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‘We want you to thrive in Singapore’: Shanmugam at opening of Jews of Singapore Museum

‘We want you to thrive in Singapore’: Shanmugam at opening of Jews of Singapore Museum

The Jews of Singapore Museum situated within the Jacob Ballas Centre features a permanent exhibition chronicling the notable history of Jews in Singapore. (Photo: Grace Yeoh)

SINGAPORE: We want every community in Singapore to “not just take pride in their heritage, but to put it out for others”, said Minister for Law and Home Affairs K Shanmugam on Thursday (Dec 2).

He was speaking at the launch of the Jews of Singapore Museum, situated in the Jacob Ballas Centre at Waterloo Street. 

Mr Shanmugam toured the museum before participating in a Hannukah menorah lighting ceremony at the Maghain Aboth Synagogue. Thursday is the fifth day of Hannukah.

“This is part of Singapore. It’s a short history but it’s made rich by the experiences of all the different communities,” he said. 


The Jews of Singapore museum is a permanent exhibition. It traces the 200-year history of Jews in Singapore, showcasing their “outsized contributions” to Singapore’s society and economy, stated a press release from the Jewish Welfare Board. 

The exhibition features three key themes: A chronology of Jewish arrivals in Singapore from the 1820s to present; profiles of Jewish community leaders; and Jewish festivals, culture and religion. These are presented via photographs, videos and audio recordings.

Exhibits at the Jews of Singapore Museum situated within the Jacob Ballas Centre. (Photo: Grace Yeoh)

The legacy of the Jewish community in Singapore can also be seen “in the names of various roads, institutions, and buildings, some bearing the Star of David, including: Synagogue Street, Frankel Avenue, Meyer Road, Nassim Road, Elias Road, the Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden, and the Ellison Building”, said the Jewish Welfare Board.

Notable Jews in Singapore’s history include Singapore’s first chief minister David Marshall and the late senior counsel Harry Elias. 

In his speech, Mr Shanmugam quoted Singapore’s former deputy prime minister S Rajaratnam’s speech on the 100th anniversary of the synagogue in 1978: “There are many parts of the world where to be a minority is to be resented and be oppressed.

“In the kind of Singapore we are creating … there are no majorities and minorities, but simply good men and bad men. And with good men, whatever their race, language and religion, invariably triumphing over the bad man, whatever their race, language and religion.” 

Mr Shanmugam reiterated that the safety and security of all in Singapore, including the Jewish community, is a “key priority”.

“You are not just a part of Singapore but you also thrive in Singapore. And we want you to thrive in Singapore … Whether you’re Singaporean or not, if you are here, we want you to do well,” he said.

“We will do our best to make sure that you’re safe and that you will enjoy the freedoms in Singapore that are becoming rarer in many other parts of the world.”

Source: CNA/ng


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