It was difficult to adhere to Jewish religious requirements in the Dutch East Indies, without a rabbi, kosher butcher, or synagogue. On Jewish holidays, services were held in hired venues in various places. Requests for a rabbi from the Netherlands were not granted. There was, however, someone with the authority to carry out certain Jewish rituals, such as ritual slaughter, wedding ceremony (chuppah), and circumcision (brit milah).

The largest number of Jews lived in Surabaya. This included the ‘Baghdad Jews’. Religious services were held there regularly, and from 1923 onwards there was an official Jewish community with a synagogue.

The number of Jews increased considerably in the 1920s, and Jewish life gained new vitality from the activities of the Association for Jewish Interests in the Dutch East Indies and the Dutch East Indies Zionist League.

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