Jews in Thailand
By Ruth Gerson & Stephen Mallinger
The first Jews arrived in Ayutthaya in the early 17th century, most likely for the purpose of trade. They were not as prominent as some of the other foreigners who frequented this magnificent city, but in time they left their mark on Thailand in subtle ways. Some of the Jews who arrived in Siam two centuries later had colorful occupations such as wigmaker, gunsmith, creator of stage backdrops for the theater, and innkeepers. More conventional professions included merchants, lawyers, doctors, and gem dealers, a trade for which they have become known in Thailand. Several of the Jewish residents were “ground breakers” in that they helped to establish such significant institutions as the Thai stock market.
The Jews were not a homogenous group; they represented two ethnic groups – one originating in Europe (Ashkenazie), the other in the Middle East (Sephardi). These differences aside, they established a Jewish community in Thailand that continues to thrive to the present day, and although small in number they managed to maintain their customs and religion, exemplifying the Jewish Diaspora.
Size 152 x 230 mm
202 pages, 75 b/w illustrations