December 7, 2016
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CHABAD RABBIS IN SINGAPORE HOST INTER-RACIAL AND RELIGIOUS CONFIDENCE CIRCLE

Chabad-Lubavitch World Headquarters

 

                                Contact: Daniel ferszt

                                Phone: (310) 424-8290

                                Email: daniel@lubavitch.com

 

CHABAD RABBIS IN SINGAPORE HOST INTER-RACIAL

AND RELIGIOUS CONFIDENCE CIRCLE

 

(lubavitch.com) - At least 100 community representatives from districts and faiths across Singapore participated in a government sponsored seminar on the fundamentals of Judaism and Jewish practice presented by the local Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries and rabbinical students.

 

While years of large waves of immigration have made it a diverse, multi-religious country, Singapore enjoys a reputation for unity. It is a feat many credit to the governmentÂ’s strong promotion of tolerance via programs like the Inter-Racial and Religious Confidence Circle (IRCC) which provides platforms for races, religions and regions to interact in order to build confidence, friendship, and trust.  The IRCC was first formed in 2002 in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in America, and the December 2001 arrest of 15 local terrorists planning to bomb diplomatic missions and attack foreign nationals based in Singapore. According to the agencyÂ’s charter, then-Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong launched the program, “to grow the common space and deepen inter-racial understanding.”

 

Typically found touring and dialoging in temples and mosques, this group of IRCC participants found themselves in SingaporeÂ’s only Jewish synagogue, face-to-face with 20-year-old rabbinical student, Yosi Gurevich, and full of questions.

 

-More-

 

“As the only Jewish center in the country, we get a lot of non-Jewish visitors, but not like this group,” Gurevich told Lubavitch.com. “We toured the facilities and I took them through a power point presentation on the basics of Judaism. The question and answer session was intense. They were a very educated group and deeply interested in understanding Judaism.”

 

Gurevich, in Singapore for the year with three other American rabbinical students to help the country’s full time Chabad representative, Rabbi Mordechai Abergel, said the exchange was “very warm and respectful”, touching on a wide range of subjects, from the nature of the soul and the purpose of creation, to the Jewish perspective on other religions.

One participant, Albert Lee is a practicing Buddhist, which is also the country’s most widely followed tradition. A sales manager from the Central Singapore District, he told Lubavitch.com that the visit was both “unique” and an “eye opener”.

 

“I knew very little about Jews, except what’s in the media. It was a very informative glimpse into the culture and beliefs, and gave me a better understanding. I was surprised to even discover some similarities and I hope to learn more.”

 

Chabad emissary and spiritual leader of the Jewish community, Rabbi Abergel has been reaching out to Singapore’s 1000 Jews and meeting similar groups since he arrived in 1994. Tolerance and inter-communal dialogue is part of the culture, he said. “Singapore is so open when comes to religions. There is no racism or anti-Semitism, and people are very interested in all other religions. As a rabbi, I’m especially happy because it creates a very supportive environment for Judaism to thrive.”

 

For More Information Contact: Daniel ferszt Phone: (310) 424-8290 Email: daniel@lubavitch.com

or visit www.Lubavitch.com



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