Jewish Community in Japan

The Jewish community of Japan, consisting of about 110 families, recently dedicated its new communal center and synagogue here. The inaugural festivities included a ribbon-cutting ceremony presided over by Walter Citron, president of the community, the installation of Rabbi Jonathan Maltzman as spiritual leader and a dinner dance attended by the entire community and Japanese notables. It received extensive coverage in the Japanese press.

The center occupies a three-story complex which contains the synagogue, a religious school for children 4-13, the largest Judaica collection in the Far East and social and athletic facilities. It was financed by the sale of land purchased by the Jewish community 29 years ago. It occupies the portion of that land which was retained.

The synagogue is the second Jewish house of worship in Japan — a small synagogue exists in Kobe — and due to the heterogeneous nature of the Jewish community here, it will be neither Reform, Conservative nor Orthodox. Maltzman is a graduate of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, the rabbinical training school of Conservative Judaism in the U.S.

About half the members of the community are American citizens, one-third are Israelis and the rest represent other nationalities. Most of them are businessmen engaged in foreign trade, banking, finance, transportation and insurance. There are also doctors, journalists, graduate students and musicians.

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