web analytics
May 28, 2015 / 10 Sivan, 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
"Rolling Stoned", a smoke shop in Tel Aviv, sells smoking and vaporising paraphernalia for medical cannabis and tobacco.
MK and Police Discussing Making Marijuana Legal
Latest News Stories

Hareidi Rabbis of the Committee for Shabbat” will vote against funding for a new Sportek in Jerusalem because of fears of “wholesale desecration of Shabbat.” “For the sake of Zion and Jerusalem, we will not remain quiet,” the rabbis wrote in their statement. The Jerusalem City Council is to vote Thursday night on funding the […]

"Rolling Stoned", a smoke shop in Tel Aviv, sells smoking and vaporising paraphernalia for medical cannabis and tobacco.

Does the popularity of smoking grass mean that is good for the soul?

Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting Organization President Mohammad Sarafraz.

The US decides “no more extensions” as international nuclear talks with Iran come down to the wire.

Former Prisoner of Zion Natan Sharansky serves today as the Jewish Agency for Israel's Chairman of the Executive.

Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky expresses his firm support for Efrat Chief Rabbi Shlomo Riskin.

With temperatures soaring, everyone is getting in the water…

Russia closed its deal Monday to deliver the powerful S-300 missile defense system to Iran… eventually.

Flash floods and more rain in Texas means a rising death toll and desperate people searching in kayaks.

Perhaps surprisingly, the Netanyahu government voted Wednesday to form a new ministerial committee on Arab affairs.

Shurat HaDin calls for expulsion of PA soccer chief Rajoub for inciting terror – hours before Swiss arrests of FIFA officials for various charges of corruption.

Rabbi Riskin believes the Rabbinate must be prepared to accept Halachic decisions that aren’t Ultra-Orthodox.

The case also called for banning the sale of French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo and the Liberation newspaper in Egypt over “blasphemy against Prophet Mohamed.”

Saed Erekat: Israel first must agree to all of our terms before we negotiate.

The temperature is expected to reach extreme levels today, drink water.

“In the chaos of the conflict… Hamas…granted its security forces free rein to carry out horrific abuse, amounting to war crimes.”

The Israeli Air Force responded to a rocket attack from Gaza by striking terrorist sites within the Strip.

Information on more than 100,000 US taxpayers was stolen by hackers who breached the IRS.

More Articles from Jewish Press Staff

The recent solid victory of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party produced something very different.

ICPHH Event Rallies Community to Support Wall Around 3000-Year Old Cemetery.

The Celebrate Israel Festival on May 31 at Pier 94, slated to be the largest gathering to date of Israeli-Americans in New York.

Question: Should we wash our hands in the bathroom with soap and water, or by pouring water from a vessel with handles three times, alternating hands? I have heard it said that a vessel is used only in the morning upon awakening. What are the rules pertaining to young children? What is the protocol if no vessel is available? Additionally, may we dry our hands via an electric dryer?

Harry Koenigsberg
(Via E-Mail)

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: