Author Topic: Chinese Jewish History  (Read 1619 times)

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Chinese Jewish History
« on: September 17, 2007, 11:51:46 PM »
The Chinese have had contacts with traveling Jewish merchants since The 8th Century. By The 12th Century, a considerable number of Jews had made their homes in the city of Kaifeng, in a far Western region of the country. At least one synagogue, was constructed. The one that is known of was constructed in 1163. The community was active for about eight centuries. As recently as The 19th Century, some Chinese Jews were practicing Jewish rituals, including Torah reading. The community has disintegrated through assimilation and the synagogue has fell into decay.

In The Late 19th Century, Russian Jewish communities were founded in Harbin, Tientsin, and elsewhere. In the early years of The 20th Century, Jews fleeing pogroms in The Pale of Settlement and demobilized soldiers from The Russo-Japanese War joined them, raising the Jewish population of Harbin to approximately 8,000 by 1908. The Russian Revolution of 1917 practically doubled the size of the community and served as a stimulus to Zionist activism. Most of the Russian Jews remaining at the end of World War II emigrated to The West. Some were repatriated, both voluntarily and involuntarily, to The Soviet Union.

The development of the port city of Shanghai as a Jewish center parallels that of Hong Kong. Sfaradi families from Baghdad, Bombay, and Cairo, including The Kaduris, Sassons, and Harduns, established a communal structure in Shanghai in The 19th Century.

Today there are no Jewish communal structures in China, and the Jews who live there are thought to be extremely few. There is a small Jewish museum in Kaifang. Relics of the Jewish presence in China can be seen elsewhere, particularly in Shanghai.