February 24, 2024

Indonesia is a Muslim-majority country that has seen massive pro-Palestinian protests since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel. Maryam, a Jew in her 70s in Jakarta, described being frightened by demonstrations and hearing calls of “death to Jews” in the streets. Only 10-20 people meet at her house for Shabbat, while others join services online from across the country. Sheikh Baruch, who represents the only brick-and-mortar synagogue in Indonesia, is also worried by the protests. In response, he’s reached out to leaders of different faiths to build peace between communities. Despite the challenges, Jews like Maryam and Baruch remain in Indonesia in the belief that they have a future there. They have made compromises, such as identifying as Christians on official documents, to live in the country. Though Jews have a long history in Indonesia, the community is small and maintains a low profile due to hostility faced, including the destruction of a synagogue for unknown reasons in 2013.