web analytics
April 27, 2015 / 8 Iyar, 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post


Ancient Chinese Jewish Community to Hold First Traditional Seder in China

The Seder, which is being sponsored by the Jerusalem-based Shavei Israel organization, will be conducted for the first time by 28-year-old Tzuri (Heng) Shi, who made Aliyah from Kaifeng a few years ago with the help of Shavei Israel and completed his formal return to Judaism last year. VIDEO
Tzuri (Heng) Shi (far left) with Michael Freund (right) and Kaifeng Jewish community members

Tzuri (Heng) Shi (far left) with Michael Freund (right) and Kaifeng Jewish community members
Photo Credit: Shavei Israel

Kaifeng, China, April 7 – Nearly 100 members of the ancient Jewish community of Kaifeng, China, are expected to attend a first-of-its-kind traditional Passover Seder that will take place next Monday, April 14, at the start of the holiday in Kaifeng. The Seder, which is being sponsored by the Jerusalem-based Shavei Israel organization, will be conducted for the first time by 28-year-old Tzuri (Heng) Shi, who made Aliyah from Kaifeng a few years ago with the help of Shavei Israel and completed his formal return to Judaism last year.

As part of the preparation for the upcoming Seder, Tzuri was sent to Kaifeng by the Shavei Israel organization with all of the traditional Passover items including: Kosher Matzah packages from Israel, Kosher for Passover wine, Passover Haggadahs, which were prepared especially in Hebrew and Chinese, Kosher for Passover cakes, traditional red horseradish, and traditional Charoset.

“We are proud and excited to organize this historic event,” said Shavei Israel Chairman and Founder Michael Freund. “Kaifeng’s Jewish descendants are a living link between China and the Jewish people, and it is very moving to see the remnants of this community returning to their Jewish roots as they prepare for Passover,” he added.

Scholars believe the first Jews settled in Kaifeng, which was one of China’s imperial capitals, during the 8th or 9th Century. They are said to have been Sephardic Jewish merchants from Persia or Iraq who made their way eastward along the Silk Route and established themselves in the city with the blessing of the Chinese emperor.

In 1163, Kaifeng’s Jews built a large and beautiful synagogue, which was subsequently renovated and rebuilt on numerous occasions throughout the centuries. At its peak, during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), the Kaifeng Jewish community may have numbered as many as 5,000 people. But widespread intermarriage and assimilation, as well as the death of the community’s last rabbi, brought about its demise by the middle of the 19th century.

Nevertheless, many of the families sought to preserve their Jewish identity and pass it down to their descendants, who continued to observe various Jewish customs. Currently, there are estimated to be approximately 1,000 Jewish descendants in Kaifeng.

“In recent years, many members of the community have begun to explore their heritage – thanks in part to the Internet, which opened up new worlds for them and provided access to information about Judaism and Israel that was previously inaccessible to them,” Freund noted.

Shavei Israel is a non-profit organization founded by Michael Freund, who immigrated to Israel from the United States, with the aim of strengthening the ties between the Jewish people, the State of Israel and the descendants of Jews around the world. The organization is currently active in nine countries and provides assistance to a variety of different communities such as the Bnei Menashe of India, the Bnei Anousim (referred to as the derogatory “Marranos” by historians) in Spain, Portugal and South America, the Subbotnik Jews of Russia, the Jewish community of Kaifeng in China, descendants of Jews living in Poland, and others.

Watch the video of the Kaifeng community preparing for Pesach, being led in v’hi sh’amda by Ram, a chazan from the Kaifeng Jewish community.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

11 Responses to “Ancient Chinese Jewish Community to Hold First Traditional Seder in China”

  1. Jonathan Weber says:

    Very nice! I am really impressed and a Chag Kasher v'Sameach to the Kaifeng Jewish community!

  2. may the chinese yiddlich multiply. hag samech to them.

  3. Lori Mark says:

    Was in china this past summer and visited Jewsih Community center and shul in Shanghai

  4. Olga Wong says:

    Happy passover

  5. I never heard it anyone sing it so well!!! Happy Pesach to all the Chinese Jews!

  6. Shi Yuehan says:

    Next Year in Kaifeng.

  7. Elaine Harris says:

    Chag Pesach Sameach to Kaifeng Jewish Community – Kol Hakavod from Sydney, Australia!!

  8. Kol Hakavod from Hallandale Beach, florida

  9. Georgina Baker says:

    I am delighted to hear we have Jews in China and the singer is great.
    I am in Tarzana, California, U.S.A

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Map of Gaza City rocket launcher sites in school yard. July 22, 2014
UN Admits: UN Schools and Facilities Used by Hamas Terrorists
Latest News Stories
Daniel Cole and Mendy Losh

The families of two American Jews began breathing again early Monday after Danny Cole and Mendy Losh “phoned home” from a small village thousands of feet high on Mount Everest to say they’re still safe.

Map of Gaza City rocket launcher sites in school yard. July 22, 2014

UN admits Israel was right – Hamas attacked Israelis from UN facilities. Oops.

Senator Bob Corker (R-TN), co-sponsor of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act.

Senators want Iran to recognize Israel, release Jason Rezaian and for the President to certify Iran isn’t targeting US citizens…

Princeton University students voted down an Israel Divestment referendum in April, 2015.

The divestment measures are driven by hatred of Israel, not humanitarian concerns about Arabs.

Eleven Israelis, including 3 babies were returned to Israel from Nepal overnight. Here’s one of them.

No one was hurt because the bus was empty. No one heard about it because of the politically (in)correct media.

Biotech giant and cash-rich Gilead Sciences will open a marketing office in Israel, Globes Business news reported, making the company the first new generation American biotech firm to do so in the country. NewPharm in Israel markets Gilead’s products to the tune of tens of millions of dollars year, and the local company said Gilead […]

Israel leads rescue efforts. Death toll will rise. Thousands are homeless. Below: Dramatic as-it-happened video.

No matter who was behind the attack, Hezbollah knows it has more than one enemy.

The left-wing party’s problem is that the ministry spent more money to promote Judaism than democracy.

Arab sources report the IAF destroyed a missile site and killed Syrian soldiers.

The 4 terrorists were trying to plant a bomb in Israel on the Golan Heights.

The first group of rescued Israelis from Nepal are to arrive home on an IAF airlift in the wee hours of Monday with 3 premature babies.

Chabad co-emissary Chani Lifshiftz says “hundreds of Israelis” arrive safely at the Chabad House after deadly quake in Nepal.

Vying for dominance in the WZO election, are movements within our nation which seek to undermine and subvert Orthodox Judaism.

British MP Ed Miliband has again been targeted, this time in a political campaign for being “the Jew.”

More Articles from Jewish Press Staff
Teens-Twenties-logo

The poetry slam required entrants to compose original poetry with powerful imagery and energetic rhythm bringing their poems to life – making it palpable to the audience.

A new Chareidi initiative has been launched for Yom HaZikaron, called “Sheket, Zochrim” or “Be Silent, We are Remembering”.

He followed and spread the teachings of his late father-in-law, Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik.

United Hatzalah program honors our survivors, war veterans with specialized medical care

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/ancient-chinese-jewish-community-to-hold-first-traditional-seder-in-china/2014/04/08/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: