Chabad-Lubavitch World Headquarters
Contact: Daniel ferszt
Phone: (310) 424-8290
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 governmentÂs 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 agencyÂs charter, then-Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong launched the program, Âto grow the common space and deepen inter-racial understanding.Â
Typically found touring and dialoging in temples and mosques, this group of IRCC participants found themselves in SingaporeÂs only Jewish synagogue, face-to-face with 20-year-old rabbinical student, Yosi Gurevich, and full of questions.
ÂAs the only Jewish center in the country, we get a lot of non-Jewish visitors, but not like this group,Â Gurevich told Lubavitch.com. ÂWe 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.Â
Gurevich, in Singapore for the year with three other American rabbinical students to help the countryÂs full time Chabad representative, Rabbi Mordechai Abergel, said the exchange was Âvery warm and respectfulÂ, 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 countryÂs most widely followed tradition. A sales manager from the Central Singapore District, he told Lubavitch.com that the visit was both ÂuniqueÂ and an Âeye openerÂ.
ÂI knew very little about Jews, except whatÂs 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.Â
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