MALAYSIA, federation of states in S.E. Asia formerly under British protection. A few Jews settled in Penang, of whom the first was Ezekiel Menassah from Baghdad, in 1895. Although remaining the only Jew in the whole area for nearly 30 years he continued Jewish observances, kept a kasher household and welcomed visiting coreligionists. Other Jews arrived there after World War I, mostly poor peddlers. During World War II the community was evacuated to *Singapore, subsequently occupied by the Japanese. Of the Jews who settled in Penang after the war, some 20 families remained by 1963. Only three families lived there in 1969.
I. Cohen, Journal of a Jewish Traveller (1925), 207–8.
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.