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Our History

The United Hebrew Congregation (UHC) is the largest practicing Jewish community in Singapore and the largest progressive Jewish congregation in Asia. Although affiliated with the World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ), our membership spans a wide range of nationalities and religious backgrounds including Reform, Conservative, Progressive, and Reconstructionist Judaism, as well as many multifaith, multicultural, and multinational couples and families. 

The UHC is proud to have two (job-sharing) Rabbis, a full time administrator, a variety of volunteer-led committees, regular weekly services, a thriving religion school which includes a Bar/Bat Mitzvah preparation course, exciting teen and adult education programmes, and multiple other religious, educational, and social events. Whilst we still lack a physical synagogue building, we have established a network of supportive venues from which to run our activities in addition to our spacious office premises. 

The UHC is a warm, welcoming, and inclusive congregation, and we encourage everyone to participate in our services and activities.

 

Timeline of UHC history:

1991 - The United Hebrew Congregation Singapore is founded to support the growing Progressive Jewish community in Singapore.

1992 - First UHC High Holy Days services conducted, without the benefit of clergy. 

1993 - Rabbi Lennard Thal (then Regional Director of the Pacific Southwest Council and later Senior Vice President of the URJ) and his wife Linda (an expert in Jewish education) begin coming to Singapore to lead Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, and Pesach services and to nurture and support the nascent UHC. 

1995 - The UHC receives government approval becoming the third Progressive congregation to be formed in Asia.

2012 - The UHC Management Committee raises a substantial Community Development Fund to enable the community to hire our first resident Rabbi. 

2013 - The UHC receives two beautiful Torah scrolls, gifts from Harvey and Rosita Goldstein in honor of Harvey's parents, Max and Betty Goldstein.

2015 - Rabbi Nathan Alfred arrives in Singapore. He establishes a regular weekly minyan service, builds up UHC's religious school, creates new adult education programs, solidifies a common liturgy for the community, and strengthens connections with progressive Jewish throughout Asia.

2019 - A Rabbi Search Committee appointed by the UHC Management Committee begins a global search for our second resident rabbi.

2020 - Not one but two Rabbis are appointed to share the post. Rabbi Beni and Rabbi Miriam Wajnberg serve the UHC virtually from August 2020 until they arrive in Singapore (with their two sons) in June 2021.

Our Torahs

           

In 2013 the UHC received two beautiful Torah scrolls as gifts from Harvey & Rosita Goldstein, in honour of Harvey's parents, Max and Betty Goldstein.

The beautiful Torah mantles (pictured above) were designed by the textile artist, Peachy Levy. A little bit about her:  

Peachy Levy has been involved in Jewish life for most of her adult life. She and her dear husband Mark zl were active nationally and locally in the URJ, and at their synagogue Leo Baeck Temple where Peachy is still very involved. Camp Newman and NFTY scholarships have been of prime importance to the Levy’s and Peachy continues to support them. Camp Kalsman in the Northwest, named for Peachy’s parents was built to fill an important need for children in that area. The Kalsman Institute on Judaism and Health at Hebrew Union College was established by Peachy and Mark in response to her father’s illness. She was a member of the women’s organization, the 35’s after returning from a trip to the Soviet Union to help save Soviet Jewry. She was a founding member of The North American Conference on Ethiopian Jewry (NACOEJ) where she served for 25 years to help bring that community to Israel and was in the forefront of their education programs. In the past she has served on committees of the Jewish Federation , UCLA Hillel and on the board of Leo Baeck Temple. Currently Peachy tutors reading  in an LA public school, serves on the HUC-JIR LA Board of Overseers and is the co-chair of its Enhancement Committee that brings the Arts to the College.

Peachy is a textile artist specializing in Jewish Ceremonial objects and decorative textiles. Her work is in collections of the Skirball Museum, HUC-JIR in Los Angeles, Hillel Council at UCLA , Hillel at University of Washington Leo Baeck Temple and many other synagogues and private collections in the U.S., Israel and Singapore. She has been an Artist in Residence at Brandeis/Bardin and HUC-JIR in Los Angeles. She and Mark Levy, zl have three married children who all belong to Reform Synagogues, six grandchildren and two grandsons-in-law.

Sun, 25 September 2022 29 Elul 5782