Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Lighting the Chanukah Candles in Burma

Please refer: Ben G. Frank,  561-737-2315,


By Ben G. Frank,

Author of “The Scattered Tribe: Traveling the Diaspora from Cuba to India to Tahiti & Beyond,” (Globe Pequot Press).


Nearly 150 guests attended the second annual Chanukah Lighting Ceremony of the Jewish Community of Myanmar (Burma) at the Park Royal Hotel in Yangon. Deputy Minister of Religious Affairs U Soe Win told the gathering that he came to the ceremony to show support for the Jewish community of Myanmar. The Minister also stressed the “good” relations between Israel and Myanmar since 1950.

Aung San Suu Kyi  was in the capital of Myanmar, Nay Pyi Daw, at the time, and could not attend. But U Tin Oo, vice chair of the National League for Democracy, (Suu Kyi’s party) said that Suu Kyi sent “her best wishes” for the holiday to the community.

The event was held on the night of the lighting of the Sixth Chanukah Candle  (December 13) according to Sammy Samuels, of Myanmar Shalom. “It was a miracle for this small Jewish community of Yangon,” declared Sammy Samuels. There are eight Jewish families in Myanmar, most of them in Yangon.

The U.S. Political/Economic Chief,  Douglas Sonnek, also attended.

Lighting the six candles were:  Moses Samuels, president of the Myanmar Jewish Community with Israel Ambassador Hagay Beher; Deputy Minister U Soe Win, Ministry of Religious Affairs;  Janet Benshoof, president of Global Justice Center; U Tin Oo, former commander-in-chief of Myanmar, Dr. Aung Myat Kyaw, chairman, Myanmar Travel Assocxiation; and U Hein Latt, vice president of Popular Journals Myanmar.

The Jewish community in Yangon is proud of the 100-year-old Musmeach Yeshua Synagogue, which remains open thanks to the efforts of Moses Samuels. The synagogues is located on 26th st. in Yangon.

For more information on the Jewish community contact:


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