Author Topic: Filipino Jewish History  (Read 1692 times)

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Filipino Jewish History
« on: September 17, 2007, 11:55:28 PM »
Conversos came to The Philippines since at least The 16th Century, when the country was conquered by Spain. In the second half of The 19th century, Jewish traders arrived from France and other countries. They were followed by American Jews who came in the wake of the U.S. occupation of the country in 1898 during the Spanish-American War. Shortly thereafter, many Jews arrived from Turkey and elsewhere in The Middle East. A number of Jewish refugees from Russia also found sanctuary in The Philippines after World War I. However, not until 1924 was the first synagogue erected in Manila. In the years leading up to World War II, several thousand Jews who escaped Nazi persecution in Europe were admitted to The Philippines, along with others who fled in advance of the Japanese occupation of Shanghai. When the Japanese overran The Philippines, all Jews who were citizens of Allied countries were interned and subjected to great suffering. The synagogue was destroyed in the fighting to liberate the capital. At the end of the war, the community was reconstituted, but many of its members decided to emigrate. Today the Manila community includes a large number of temporary residents, including many Israelis.

The communal organization is The Jewish Association of The Philippines. A community synagogue, opened in 1983, contains a sanctuary, social hall, and classrooms for the Hebrew school. Services in the synagogue follow the Syrian-Sfaradi nusach. There is also a mikva at the synagouge. The rabbi also acts as a mohel and shochet. Religious services are also conducted on the large U.S. Air Force bases situated on the island.