In 1841, Ezra Ezekiel, Joseph Cohen and Nassim Ezra were granted permission to build a synagogue on what was called Synagogue Street, near Raffles Lane. Just 30 years later when British philanthropist and major benefactor to Singapore’s Jewish community Sir Manasseh Meyer visited, he found the building in a state of disrepair and asked the government to give him some land.
Ironically and somewhat amusingly, he was given a parcel of land on Church Street (now called Waterloo Street) and the Maghain Aboth (‘Shield of our Fathers’) Synagogue was consecrated on 4rh April 1878.
A beautifully-simple neoclassical façade contains a mix of neoclassical and colonial-style architecture and the marble floor, timber-louvred windows and rich red carpets add a simple elegance to the beautifully ornate embroidery and the decorative plasterwork.
The synagogue was gazetted as a national monument by the Preservation of Monuments Board in 1998 and offers visitors a glimpse into one of Singapore’s smallest yet culturally significant communities that has been present in the Garden City since the early days of colonial rule.