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J. D. B. News Letter

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Municipal Corporation; but they are electors on the European and Allied Community List and can participate in the election of candidates submitted by the group. Of late, however, the Government has been sympathetically inclined, by nominating a Jew to serve as Councillor in the Rangoon Corporation; in addition there are two Jewish Honorary Magistrates; and this year the President of the Town Council of Bassein happens to be a Jew.

The Community is responsible for a couple of institutions, one the Musmeah Yeshua Synagogue built more than forty years ago, and the Jewish Middle School established in 1912. The former has been the subject of many a long-drawn legal battle in the Law Courts; which has given rise to many a malicious joke made at the expense of the litigants.

The school is a tri-party concern. It was founded by a Synagogue grant; Government financial aid, and contributions from congregants. Its policy is controlled by a superintendent, who is still the first one at its Head since its opening. The teaching staff is all feminine, and almost composed of non-Jews.

Public meetings are only convened quientennially, and even then to elect five members for the Board of Trustees to manage the Trust Funds out of which is paid the meagre monthly monetary grants to the needy. The only clergyman is a solitary Hazan who leads the Holy Congregation at service.


Secular education up till the middle School standard is imparted in the school to 120 pupils; 60% of whom are boys and the rest girls. Those passing out enter denominational schools for further studies. The Hebrew section is in the sole hands of two Hebrew masters, one of whom is far advanced in age.


There is no connection with the outer communities. The little world is all their own. Issues of the utmost importance among their sister communities do not make even a leaf rustle. The name of Herzl is unheard of; they do not follow what is being achieved in Palestine. During the last decade a number of prominent Zionists arrived and addressed public meetings including Israel Cohen, General Secretary of the world Zionist Organization; Mme. Pevsner; Dr. Alexander Goldstein; Rabbi Mordecai Smith, delegate of the famous Slobodka Yeshiba; and Dr. and Mrs. Bension. Zionist Committees were formed by most these people, but today the Committees are inactive. Contributions to the Keren Hayesod are only made when an ambassador arrives from the Homeland to conduct the campaign. Blue J.N.F. boxes are to be found in some homes but they are not properly utilized.


Though slow, the process of transition continues. The cringing Ghetto spirit is fast dying out; illiteracy is on the decrease; and English replaces Arabic.

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