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08/09/2005
Far out time in Singapore by: Leslie Bunder and Caroline Westbrook
FILED UNDER DAILY JEWS >> Travel
Chesed El Synagogue in Singapore
Chesed El Synagogue
It may not be the biggest Jewish community around, but Singapore does provide enough Jewish things to do to make it a worthwhile destination for any Jew. In the mix of doing "tourist things", Singapore also offers something Jewish for visitors to explore and experience.

Most tourists will get to Singapore as part of a break in their journey to Australia and even if you stay a few days, there's plenty to explore and discover.
 
The Jewish community today numbers around 240 people and is a mix of Sephardi and Ashkenazi Jews and was first established around 1840.
 
Until 1878, there was no synagogue, when the first one  Maghain Aboth was opened. Before then people used to pray in a rented house, in a street that was renamed Synagogue Street.
 
In 1905, another synagogue was erected - Chesed Al, both were built by  Sir Menasseh Meyer.
 
So what is there to do in Singapore?  Well plenty and here's our top tips.
 
Visit Singapore’s synagogues. There are two shuls in Singapore, both of which were built by Sir Menasseh Meyer, who made his fortune in Asia after arriving there penniless at the age of 15. The first of the shuls, Maghain Aboth, opened in 1878. Mayer built the second shul, Chesed El, in 1905 after falling out with a member of the Maghain Aboth community.

Top Tip: The best way to see either shul is to attend one of the daily services, as there are no guided tours.
 
Address: Maghain Aboth Synagogue, 24-26 Waterloo Street, Singapore
Tel: 337-2189
Address: Chesed El Synagogue, 2 Oxley Rise, Singapore
Tel: 238-693

Go on a Night Safari. If you’ve ever visited a zoo during the daytime and been disappointed to see so many of the animals sleeping, then you shouldn’t miss one of the best tourist attractions in Singapore. The Night Safari is the first wildlife park in the world designed to be viewed at night, to take advantage of the nocturnal nature of many of its four-legged inhabitants. Regular guided tram tours around the park offer the ideal opportunity for animal-spotting, or you can take one of the three walking trails through the park to do your own exploring.
 
Top Tip: The Night Safari is a fair way out of the city centre, so make sure you allow plenty of time for your journey – and it’s not walking distance from the subway either. Expect a bus ride to take about half an hour from the nearest station – if you’re really unsure where you are get a taxi from there instead.
 
Address: 80 Mandai Lake Road, Singapore 729826
Tel: 65 6269 3411
 
Take a trip to Sentosa. Accessible from the mainland either by road or cable car, this resort boasts everything you could need for a relaxing holiday, from spotless beaches and clear blue seas to luxury hotels, restaurants and bars. It’s so small you can either walk everywhere or take the monorail which runs round the resort.
 
Touristy highlights include a huge aquarium, the chance to feed the tame peacocks that walk around the streets, and a waxworks museum where you can find out about Singapore’s Jewish history including that of Sir Menasseh Meyer, a wealthy Asian Jew who had a hand in building Singapore’s two synagogues.
 
Top Tip: If you take a cable car over to Sentosa, make sure it’s a glass-bottomed one – you’ll get some stunning views of Singapore hundreds of feet below.
 
Have some clothes made. Get yourself a made-to-measure suit, shirt, dress or skirt for a fraction of what it costs anywhere else. There are plenty of tailors around Orchard Road (the main shopping area) who will whip you up a new outfit in just 24 hours.
 
Top Tip: Don’t be afraid to negotiate over the cost – and opt to have your clothes made in one of the many types of silk which are readily available in the Far East (and not expensive).
 
Have a Singapore Sling at Raffles. Even if you’re not staying in this plush hotel, you can visit the hotel’s famous Long Bar to sample their legendary cocktail. The main ingredients are gin, cherry brandy and fruit juice, but if that’s not to your liking then you can choose something else from their extensive drinks menu.

Top Tip: Don’t forget to take your camera – Raffles is one of the most famous hotels in the world and even if you’re not staying there you can at least say you’ve been there.
 
Address: 1 Beach Road, Singapore 189673
 
More information on Singapore Jewish life at:  www.singaporejews.com
 
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