Did You Know There Is A 218-Year-Old Jewish Cemetery In Penang?

The oldest tombstone dates back to 1835.

Cover image via Penang Heritage Trust & Penang Jewish Cemetery

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Established in 1805, the Penang Jewish Cemetery is believed to be the oldest single Jewish cemetery in Southeast Asia

According to their website, the 38,087 sq ft plot of land is located alongside Jalan Zainal Abidin — formerly named Jahudi (Jewish) Road — in George Town.

The oldest tombstone, dating back to 9 July 1835, belongs to Rachamah Levi. She is believed to be an English woman of Jewish faith who was the benefactor that donated the land the cemetery currently stands on.

A vast majority of the graves are shaped like a triangular vaulted-lid caskets, resembling tombs commonly found in the Middle East.

In the north-eastern corner of the cemetery, away from the main group of graves, you can find the graves of the Cohens (Jewish priests).

According to Penang Story, the cemetery also includes the grave of Second Lieutenant Louis Victor Cohen of the 9th Jat Regiment with the British Indian Army, who passed on 9 October 1941.

The cemetery is under the care of a Board of Trustees registered in 1885

According to an Instagram post by Bernama, there are approximately 107 graves in the cemetery, with the most recent tombstone being dated on 2011.

It is the only cemetery established solely for the once small and thriving Jewish community in Peninsular Malaysia, although there may be a few Jewish graves in other non-Jewish cemeteries.

Locals recently found out the Kelana Jaya LRT Line passes directly below a cemetery which happens to be the final resting place of P Ramlee and his wife, Saloma:

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