web analytics
August 1, 2015 / 16 Av, 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
Matt Lee of the Associated Press at the State Department press briefing.
ObameDeal Exposed: It’s not ‘Secret’ from Congress but not in Writing
Latest News Stories

There were no injuries, but the bus was badly damaged.

Matt Lee of the Associated Press at the State Department press briefing.

State Dept. claims Congress is “looped in,” but IAEA head refuse to testify at Senate hearings.

They are throwing rocks and blocks at the drivers as they drive by.

“Families should not be stuck paying hidden fees, or buying ‘premium’ seats, simply because they wish to be seated together on crowded flights.”

Arabs threw firebombs and stones at Jewish people, homes and cars all week long, yet the mainstream media missed most of the reports.

The IDF and police are combing Judea and Samaria to search and arrest the attackers.

“Yesha” and Binyamin Regional Council leaders said the attack “is not the path of Jews in Judea and Samaria.”

Saudi Arabia may buy $5.4 billion worth of PAC-3 missiles as part of an effort by the Obama to soothe Riyadh’s anger over the nuclear agreement with Iran. The State Dept. approved the Lockheed missile sale, which also would be another plum for the military-industrial complex. Lockheed stated, “Lockheed Martin is supporting the US government […]

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu issued a statement after this mornings’ arson-murder, apparently by  price-tag terrorists, near Shechem (Nablus): I am shocked over this reprehensible and horrific act. This is an act of terrorism in every respect. The State of Israel takes a strong line against terrorism regardless of who the perpetrators are. I have ordered […]

Thousands of security forces have been deployed to the Temple Mount. Mother and brother of baby are in critical condition.

The initial investigation indicates that Price Tag vandals have now graduated to murder.

California Democratic Congressman will vote against Iran deal because it fails to stop Iran from becoming a nuclear threshold state.

Hamas said that the unity government’s reshuffle was “unconstitutional and outside consensus.”

Jewish community leaders argued these “stolpersteine” — German for stumbling blocks — were an inappropriate form of remembrance because people would step on them.

More Articles from Jewish Press Staff

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: