Musmeah Yeshua Synagogue is the last remaining Jewish house of worship in Downtown Yangon and Burma's only synagogue. The colonial relic stands nestled between Indian paint shops and Muslim traders on a small street near the city center.
A plaque at the entrance of the building states that the present stone building which was built between 1893 – 1896 replaced an earlier, smaller wooden structure that was erected in 1854. It is one of 188 sites on the Yangon City Development Council’s list of Heritage Buildings. It serves the around 45 Jews of the country - mostly descendants of Sephardic Jewish Iraqis.
The synagogue was built for the increasing numbers of Baghdadi Jews from the Middle East, and Bene Israel and Cochini Jews from India arriving during Burma's Colonial era. The plot of land was granted by the British Colonial Government and following Burma’s independence, an extension was granted by the Burma authorities.
Before the outbreak of the Second World War, the community numbered 2,500 persons. Many Jews left during the subsequent Japanese occupation and more followed after the Burmese army seized power in 1962. The community once had 126 Sifrei Torah. A second synagogue, Beth El, was opened in 1932, and some 700 graves are found in the well-kept cemetery on 91st Street.