web analytics
September 21, 2014 / 26 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



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. Elaine Harris says:

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

  7. Kol Hakavod from Hallandale Beach, florida

  8. 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.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
ISIS seized control of Quneitra, at least temporarily, towards the end of August 2014.
Israel Watching Northern Border with Syria, Lebanon
Latest News Stories
ISIS seized control of Quneitra, at least temporarily, towards the end of August 2014.

Israeli military is watching the northern border closely, waiting for the day the “changes” arrive. Rebels already control Syria’s side of the fence.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Jan. 20, 2014.

Canada will strip citizenship from those who travel abroad to join ISIS or other terrorist groups.

rayer vigil at Ma'arat HaMachpelah (Cave of the Patriarchs) in Hebron.

An Arab media outlet appears to be having issues with the closure of the Cave of the Patriarchs to Muslims over Rosh Hashana.

One of the photos displaying wares for sale on the Baqiyah Creation page on Facebook. Sept. 20, 2014.

The days of the red cape and Superman are long gone. Now one surfs the Net and buys ISIS chotchkes to become Jihad John.

Nearly 70 years after the Nazis fell, evidence is found in Theresienstadt that life flourished even among those marked for death.

There are IDF officers whose job is to oversee all operations and endeavor to ensure the civilian population is protected.

The Cabinet has approved a massive infrastructure upgrade of Sderot and other southern Israeli communities.

Yemen, where the ‘Arab Spring’ begun, continues to be mired in turmoil and terror.

Cease-fire negotiations in Cairo between Israel and Gaza terrorist factions are being held Tuesday in deference to Rosh Hashana.

President Reuven Rivlin is set to inaugurate the Jewish Museum of Warsaw when he travels to Poland in October.

Angry parents spoke out Sunday against Arabs attacking their children on the Mount of Olives.

Only 30 % of European Jews will attend high holiday services; 1/4 fear wearing Jewish symbols.

It’s not monopoly money. It’s Israel’s new 50 Shekel bill (in the middle), with a picture of poet Shaul Tchernikovsky on it. The bill is said to feature some of the most advanced anti-counterfeiting technologies, and it just went into circulation.

S&P has confirmed that Israel’s credit rating is good, and we’re still on the right fiscal path.

Gush Etzion residents were surprised and angry when the issue of the fence was raised from the dead.

The exact location is secret because of safety concerns. How long before the PA claims it is theirs?

More Articles from Jewish Press Staff
rayer vigil at Ma'arat HaMachpelah (Cave of the Patriarchs) in Hebron.

An Arab media outlet appears to be having issues with the closure of the Cave of the Patriarchs to Muslims over Rosh Hashana.

Meir Panim with Soldiers

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.

The ISIS terror group has released its first “feature length” film.” It’s worthy of an Oscar. Not.

Three sets of three-day Yomim Tovim can seem overwhelming – especially when we are trying to stay healthy.

A dozen rabbis and a Jewish gun club are extremely critical of the position on gun control taken by the RCA and the OU.

Never, never, never take packages from someone without knowing what is inside.

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: