web analytics
April 18, 2015 / 29 Nisan, 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
Saudi-Hacker
Hackers Reportedly Infiltrate IDF Computer Network
Latest News Stories
Saudi Command Staff

This could be a lead-up to a joint ground operation in Yemen against the Iranian backed Houthis.

Mahmoud Abbas gets his cake and eats it, too.

Netanyahu’s “humanitarian considerations” are a euphemism for political considerations.”

Saudi-Hacker

The hackers used easily downloadable, but sophisticated, hacking tools to do the job, rather than requiring any in-house technical knowledge.

Hebron terrorist arrested

The wannabe terrorist wanted to be arrested more than he actually wanted to stab the soldier.

Israeli workers raise a large Star of David (Magen David) onto the “Harp Bridge” at the entrance of Jerusalem on April 17, 2015, in honor of Israel’s upcoming Israel’s Memorial Day and the 67th Independence Day. Israel will mark its 67th Independence Day on April 22, 2015.

First thwarted at the Israeli polls, now V15 funder’s “healthy” bars are also losers.

She had many names and was many things to many people, but to me she was just Babineni.

The EU wants to label Settler products. Liberman want to remind them of the last time they labeled Jews.

A pro-BDS professor at Sydney University may face disciplinary action over his conduct at lecture where anti-Israelis disrupted a speech by retired British Col. Richard Kemp, who has often praised  the IDF for its morality while fighting terror. The university issued a “show cause” letter to Prof. Jake Lynch, according to The Australian. Jewish students […]

Liberman is adamantly insisting on receiving the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but Netanyahu wants Liberman to step back and take something else.

The teacher could face three years in jail for displaying Nazi symbols, which includes singing Nazi songs.

Ministerial distributions are starting to firm up, but Bennett reportedly has a new demand.

Egypt’s clampdown on tunnel has left Gazans without popular and addictive drug that helps them forget their misery.

“Our men, our women, our children all envision kidnapping your soldiers and settlers, wherever they are.”

12 Christian Africans ‘thrown overboard’ by Muslim African migrants

The rock under the mosaic floor that was damaged is the foundation where the two Holy Temples stood.

More Articles from Jewish Press Staff

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

Pardon our disappearance, the JewishPress.com website was hacked overnight.

Bar-Ilan University released the research report the evening before Holocaust Remembrance Day.

A small plane departing for Russia burst into flames just before takeoff at noon Wednesday at Ben Gurion Intl Airport.

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: