The Maghain Aboth Synagogue is a synagogue in Singapore. It is located at Waterloo Street in the Rochor Planning Area, within the Central Area in Singapore's central business district. The Maghain Aboth Synagogue, which translates to mean “Shield of our Fathers”, is the oldest surviving synagogue in Singapore and Southeast Asia.The synagogue was built in 1878 and gazetted as a national monument on 27 February 1998.It is managed by the Jewish Welfare Board.
In September 1841, the colonial government leased a plot of land to the Jewish community at a nominal fee for the construction of a synagogue. This was to be the community’s first synagogue. The land, measuring 503.07 sq m, was located in the early Jewish quarters near Raffles Place, where Synagogue Street is today.
The lease was enshrined in the Jewish Synagogue Ordinance and commenced on 1 September 1841. The three men who negotiated the lease, Joseph Dewk Cohen, Nassim Joseph Ezra and Ezra Ezra Ezekiel, were named in the ordinance as the synagogue’s trustees.
By 1870, the Jewish population had grown significantly and many were living further away from the synagogue. The leaders of the community thus saw the need to build a new synagogue; the Maghain Aboth Synagogue was built to meet this need.
By 1879, the jews community in Singapore had increased greatly to a total of 172 members, 116 males and 56 females. New Trustees, A. Solomon, Joshua M.Joshua and Manasseh Meyer had, meanwhile, been appointed to serve with Joseph Dwek Cohen. They realised that many of the congregants were now living in the new residential area around Waterloo Street, and it was time to consider purchasing more land on which to build a new and larger synagogue. Negotiations proved difficult, but thanks mainly to the intervention of Manasseh Meyer, the old synagogue was finally sold and a plot of land on Waterloo Street was acquired form the government, thereafter becoming the site of Maghain Aboth Synagogue.
One hundred years after the consecration of the Maghain Aboth Synagogue, centenary celebrations were under way to mark the 100 years of the synagogue's existence. The occasion was graced by the undoubted icon of Singapore Jewry, the late David Marshall, while the main attraction as the seven-branched Menorah made of gold-coloured aluminium standing a proud 1.8metres tall at the entrance of the synagogue.
Today the synagogue continues to be the beacon of light in jew Community and remains the focal point of all religious events.
It was officially gazetted as a national monument by the Preservation of Monuments Board on February 27, 1998.
Having undergone extensive renovations The Synagogue is now more beautiful than ever and is counted among Singapore’s most noted historical monuments.
In 2004, the community celebrated the 125th anniversary of Maghain Aboth.
The Maghain Aboth Synagogue serves as the venue for Jewish religious festivals and community life. It is open all year round and holds thrice-daily services. In the early days, aliyoth or “privileges” were given to certain members of the congregation, and during services, the aliyoth would be auctioned off, with the proceeds going towards the maintenance of the synagogue.
In 2012, the Maghain Aboth Synagogue was one of 32 historical buildings in Singapore showcased in an exhibition organised by the Preservation of Monuments Board (now known as Preservation of Sites and Monuments). The buildings served as the backdrop for a set of wedding photographs, taken from the 1960s to the present, for about 150 pairs of newlyweds.
Rabbi Mordechai Abergel was born in France in 1968 and grew up in Belgium . He left Belgium at 17 to study at the Rabbinical College in Morristown , New Jersey . From 1989 to 1990 he spent time in Miami as an emissary where he led outreach activities geared towards the Sephardic communities of Greater Miami.
In 1992 Rabbi Abergel received his smicha at the Tomchei Tmimim Rabbinical Seminary in Brooklyn , New York , where the world headquarters of the Chabad Lubavitch movement is also located.
Then, in 1994, Rabbi Abergel and his wife Simcha joined us in Singapore , excited to bring youthful energy and new ideas to this long established community. We haven't looked back since. The Rabbi has brought traditional skills - for instance he is a trained Shochet (ritual slaughterer) - but he has also added many new dimensions that have enriched the community. Ganenu (Our Garden), our very own Jewish day school, bears testament to the drive and creativity of the Rabbi and his talented Rebbetzin. In just a few short years, Ganenu has gone from nothing to become a thriving institution with over 60 students. More than anything this institution represents the foundation of our future.
The Rabbi is constantly involved in promoting Jewish education and Jewish living, topics close to his heart. He is currently the principal of the Talmud Torah Hebrew School . He has also provided the impetus for wider Kashrut observance and has initiated the highly successful Yeshiva Youth Leadership Program which sees several Yeshiva Bachurim lending their services and friendship each year to the community. This program has touched the lives of nearly every member of our community in some form, and brought a new vibrancy and depth to Singapore .
Seeing the need for more meaningful social interaction among the diverse segments of the community, the Rabbi also initiated Gesher, a group that encourages Jewish awareness and adult education through guest speakers and other events. Gesher, collaboration with various volunteers from the community, has added a new social dimension and richness to the Jewish people in Singapore.
Outside of our community, the Rabbi represents us in many official capacities, perhaps none more important than the inter-religious organization in Singapore , a group that encourages religious harmony and mutual understanding. Rabbi Abergel served as the organization's vice-president in 1997.
The Rabbi lectures widely on Judaism in Singapore , which he feels is essential to provide exposure and understanding of our views towards issues facing the world today. In whatever forum, the Rabbi comes across eloquently - he speaks Hebrew, English, Yiddish, French and Arabic. Being at a birthday with the Rabbi takes a long time because he insists on saying "happy birthday" in all 5 languages!
Sunday school offers basic Jewish education in Torah, Hebrew language history, and culture for children in kindergarten through seventh grade (Bar Mitzvah).
The teachers plan activities, engage students in the learning process, assess the success of their students in reaching the goals, and then reformulate the plan according to the results.
The "student as learner" is at the center of the framework.
The mission is that every student in our school will be proud in her/his Jewish heritage, identity, tradition and values and have a commitment to the Land and State of Israel.
*To read, understand and speak Hebrew (Aleph Champion Program)
*The meaning of Jewish customs and traditions and the joy of celebrations.
*Traditional Jewish prayers in Hebrew and English.
*The history of the Jewish people. “Living with the Torah”
*Israel as a state of land
*Looking for my Jewish Roots – Project of Grade 6
*Basic negotiation and debate – Grade 6 workshop
School begins at 9:30 am, and ends at 12:30 pm. Students must attend on time to the class.
School fees must be paid at the first day of each semester. (There is 2 semester per year) The fees per student is 650$s per semester.
The Jacob Ballas Centere stocks various food items including fresh kosher chickens slaughtered twice a month.
Kosher fresh poultry, meat products, wines and other products are available at the grocery shop located on the second floor of the JBC 24 Waterloo St. Kosher meals are available on Shabbat and holidays.
For further information, stock situation, orders, etc please contact the JWB at Tel: 6337 2189 ext 107 during office hours (9.00 am to 5.00 pm). Prices are subjected to change.
Kosher shop opening hours:
9:00 am - 6.00pm (Mondays to Fridays)
9:30 am - 12:00pm (Sundays)
Dhoby Ghaut CC1 / NE6 / NS24 or Bras Basah CC2
Manulife Ctr - Stop ID : 04189: 08011 - 131 / 147 / 166 / 857
Hotel Rendezvous- Stop ID: 08069 - 7 / 14 / 14e / 16 / 36 / 77 / 106 / 111 / 124 / 128 / 162 / 162M / 167 / 171 / 174 / 174e / 175 / 190 / 502 / 502A / 518 / 518A / 590 / 598 / 700 / 700A / 850 / E951 / ENR7
Manulife Ctr - Stop ID : 07509: 08011 - 64 / 65 / 139 / 972