Ohel Leah Synagogue

Sheung Wan Walking Tour

Ohel Leah Synagogue

Hong Kong Island Hong Kong

Created By: Hong Kong Baptist University


Our third stop, the Ohel Leah Synagogue was constructed in 1902, by the Jewish community in Hong Kong. The name of this building, synagogue, is the name of the Sassoon brothers' mother Leah. It was the first synagogue in Hong Kong, as the centre of the Jewish community to have social and religious activities for over a century. The Ohel Leah Synagogue have two floors, the upper one is for Jewish women to use when holding religious activities because Judaism insists that men and women need to pray separately.

The building is mainly supported by 10 stone pillars on the outer wall and it adopts the proportion and symmetry of classicism and combines the architectural styles of medieval Spain and East Judaism. There are octagonal towers on the left and right, and the central axis is symmetry. In the centre of the Synagogue is the high platform for the rabbi to read aloud the Five Books of Moses during religious activities. There is an ark facing Jerusalem in which the Five books of Moses(Torah) are stored, the most precious thing in Jewish tradition and have been preserved for more than a century. Judaism insists that every Torah must be copied by hand without any mistakes.

Another thing that is important and related to Hong Kong history is, there is a stone tablet in the Ohel Leah Synagogue, engraved with the names of the Jews who died resisting the Japanese army during the Battle of Hong Kong in 1941. This shows how the Jewish community fits into and defends Hong Kong, just like other Hong Kongers. Jews are also part of Hong Kong.

This point of interest is part of the tour: Sheung Wan Walking Tour


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