Myanmar (Burma)

Whilst the first Jews arrived in Myanmar (then Burma) in the 18th century, the community was fully established in the 19th century when Baghdadi and Cochin Jews settled in the country. Many of these new Jewish immigrants were escaping increasingly common pogroms in Iraq and settled as merchants and traders in Myanmar, which was then part of the British Empire. 

The Jewish community lived peacefully alongside the local population under the British Empire and many young Jewish men married local women. In 1942 the Japanese invaded Burma and many members of the Jewish community fled to India for fear of being branded British spies or collaborators. 

Myanmar gained independence from Britain in 1948 and from the start established close ties to the newly formed State of Israel. In 1962 the Burmese military overthrew the government, and when it nationalised all businesses in 1964, the vast majority of those Jews still remaining in Myanmar left the country. 

There are a handful of Jews still living in Myanmar and one active synagogue, although it often struggles to have a minyan (quorum needed for a full service).


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SVUK is grateful for the support of The Exilarch's Foundation, The KC Shasha Charitable Foundation & The Shoresh Charitable Trust

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