Friday, August 31, 2018

Jewish Traces in Unexpected Places: Welcoming Shabbat with Adon Olam in Papua, Indonesia


There is a spark of Jewish life in some of the cities in Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world.

Indonesian Jews face the challenge of declaring a religion on their government ID cards. Every citizen over the age of 17 must carry a card, which includes the holder's religion. Indonesia only recognizes six religions: Islam, (non-Catholic) Christianity, Catholicism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Confucianism. It does not officially recognize Judaism and other religions.

An estimated 20,000 descendants of Jews still live in Indonesia, though many are losing their historical identity. Since most of Indonesian Jews are actually Jews from Southern Europe and Middle East Area, languages which are spoken by Indonesian Jews are Indonesian, Malay, Arabic, Hebrew, Portuguese and Spanish. 

There are few synagogues and few congregants, but Shabbat and Jewish holidays are celebrated in some Indonesian cities, such as this group singing Adon Olam to bring in the Shabbat in Papua (a city on the western side of the island, not to be confused with Papua New Guinea which occupies the eastern side.)

Enjoy and Shabbat shalom!

A SPECIAL NOTE FOR NEW EMAIL SUBSCRIBERS:  THE VIDEO MAY NOT BE VIEWABLE DIRECTLY FROM THE EMAIL THAT YOU GET EACH DAY ON SOME COMPUTERS AND TABLETS.  YOU MUST CLICK ON THE TITLE AT THE TOP OF THE EMAIL TO REACH THE JEWISH HUMOR CENTRAL WEBSITE, FROM WHICH YOU CLICK ON THE PLAY BUTTON IN THE VIDEO IMAGE TO START THE VIDEO.