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Inspirasi & Ekspressi Untuk Semua Golongan Di Malaysia

History of the Jews in Malaysia

Malaysian Jews is a term used to refer to Jews living in Malaysia, or those originally from the country. They mainly live in the state of Penang, but they can also be found elsewhere in the nation, especially in Kuala Lumpur and Malacca. The Malaysian Jews consist mainly of Oriental Jews (the majority of whom are Baghdadi Jews), with the rest being European Jews (Ashkenazi Jews) and possibly Chinese Jews, who fled from Kaifeng, China, during the Communist take-over of mainland China from the Nationalist Chinese in 1949.


The first contact between Jews and the inhabitants of Malaya (later part of Malaysia) goes back to the 9th century A.D. on the riverbanks of the Bujang Valley, and later well into the 18th Century A.D. in the cosmopolitan bazaars of Malacca. The presence of Sephardic Baghdadi Jews in Penang probably occurred in the turn of the 19th century as the fledgling British ruled entreport grew and attracted Jewish trading families like the Sassoons and Meyers from India. There was also significant emigration of Jews from the Ottoman province of Baghdad as a result of the persecutions of the Governor, Daud Pasha whose rule lasted from 1817 to 1831. [1].

The first Jew known by name to have settled in Malaya was Ezekiel Aaron Menasseh, who emigrated from Baghdad in 1895. Menasseh claimed to have been the only practicing Jew in Malaya for 30 years until after World War I when significant number of Jews began to settle in Malaya [2]. Statistics from the similar period showed a somewhat different picture [3]:

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One comment on “History of the Jews in Malaysia

  1. jbbird
    Mac 11, 2011

    Interesting article. I have written a similar article about the Jews of Kaifeng, who you have referred to in this article:

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This entry was posted on Oktober 28, 2010 by in Kongsi Bersama and tagged , , , , .
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