In Burmese Hanukkah Celebration, Signs of Myanmar’s Openness to the West

Myanmar’s eight Jewish families are joined by government officials, diplomats and former ambassadors at a Yangon Hanukkah celebration.

In Myanmar, where the government has been run by a military junta and the Jewish community numbers just a handful of families, the occasion last week of a public Hanukkah lighting ceremony involving government officials was remarkable.

On Dec. 27, the last night of Hanukkah, Myanmar’s eight Jewish families were joined by government officials, diplomats and former ambassadors at a Hanukkah celebration in Yangon, also known as Rangoon. In all, about 100 people were on hand for the party at the Park Royal Hotel.

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Earlier, Jewish community leader Moses Samuels visited the home of Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace Prize winner and pro-democracy advocate who until a year ago had been under house arrest for most of the last two decades. At the meeting, Suu Kyi reportedly said that she once had visited the country’s century-old synagogue, Musmeah Yeshua (Hebrew for Instills Hope), which is still open.

Read more at the Jewish Journal.