The settlement of the Jewish community in Hong Kong dates from the 1840s
and comprises families drawn from different parts of the world. There are three main
synagogues — Ohel Leah Synagogue (Orthodox) providing daily, Sabbath and festival
services, the United Jewish Congregation of Hong Kong (Reform) with Sabbath and
festival services, both of which share the same premises in Robinson Road; and the
Chabad Lubavitch, which has daily services, in MacDonnell Road. All fulfil an
important role in the religious, cultural and social life of the Jewish people in Hong
The Ohel Leah Synagogue was built in 1901 on land given by Sir Jacob Sassoon
and his family and includes a mikvah (ritual bath). There is also a Jewish Cemetery,
built in 1857 in Shan Kwong Road, Happy Valley.
The site adjoining the Ohel Leah Synagogue, which contains a residential
complex, also houses the Jewish Community Centre, serving all three congregations.
The centre offers its 400 member families supervised kosher dining and banquet,
cultural and recreational facilities, a wide range of activities and classes, and a
specialist library covering all aspects of Judaica. The centre functions as the focal
point of social and cultural life for the community.
The community also operates the Carmel School and other supplementary
religious educational classes. There are several charity organisations and cultural
societies, including the Jewish Women's Association, United Israel Appeal, Israeli
Chamber of Commerce and Jewish Historical Society, which all combine to create a
vibrant Jewish community in Hong Kong.