Chinese Jews of Kaifeng

If you are interested in the Jewish Heritage Tour of China, take a look at all the possibilities in my tours page.

image: Kaifeng Synagogue

Kaifeng Synagogue

Shalom, every year lots of Jewish tourists and visitors come to visit Chinese Jewish community centers. When they are in Kaifeng, mainly they see the following sites in Kaifeng, the Mini-Jewish Museum about Kaifeng Jewry, site of former Kaifeng synagogue, the mikvah of Kaifeng Jewish community and south teaching torah lane and north teaching torah lane, that were the chinese jews’ living quarter in the past. Apart from these sites, Jewish tour groups I lead every year also stroll in the nearby muslim community, and watch different mosques in the neighborhood. It is said that local chinese muslims took away some of the roof tiles of the Kaifeng synogague when it almost fell in ruin.

Besides touring Kaifeng, the Jewish tours I lead every year also include Beijing, Harbin, Xi’an, Yangtze River Cruise, Suzhou and Shanghai. Each of these cities is special.

Beijing is China’s capital, and was national capital of Mongolian Yuan Dynasty, Ming Dynasty and Manchu Qing Dynasty. There are so many historical relics, such as the well-known Forbidden City, the largest imperial palace compound in the world; the Tian’anmen square, that is the largest square in the world, and is also called by Chinese people the heart of China. The temple of heaven, that is virtually an big altar for every emperor in Manchu Qing dynasty to give sacrificial offerings to the Heaven, to request a good harvest for the kingdom’s agriculture.

Harbin: Harbin is a most important city in northeast China, habitually called Manchuria in the past. There was a Russian Jewish community in Harbin from 1890 to 1940, that was the biggest Jewish community in the Far East. Today, Harbin government has already renovate all the synagogues, including the Royal Hill Jewish Cemetery, which was the biggest Jewish cemetery in the Far East. In Harbin there is so much history of the russian Jewish community which were once there. If one is in Harbin, he would feel he is not in China but in Europe. Because Harbin sill keeps so many building with european architectural style. There is a street in Harbin, called Central street. The street is a veritable museum of european architecture. Very fascinating city!

Kaifeng: China’s only city where there are Chinese Jews, and a Kaifeng Jewish Community. A thousand years ago, it was an emperor of Northern Song Dynasty that allowed those Jews fleeing from the persecucation by persians to settle down in Kaifeng. Still today descendants of these Jews are so grateful to China. Every year, hundreds of Jewish tourists coming from different places in the world come to visit Kaifeng Jewish Community.

Xi’an: a historic city, in which in history 13 chinese dynasties established their capitals. There are many historical relics in Xi’an, such as the terracotta warriors and horses, the 8th Wonder in the world, and Big Wild Goose Pagoda, a well-known pagoda built in 7th century after a famouse Chinese monk brought back authentic buddhist scriptures from India.

Yangtze River Cruise: highlight of any Jewish tour in China. On deluxe cruise ships for 2 days and 3 nights, you can watch the beautiful 3 gorges of China. And you may taste most delicious food on the ship, that is virtually a mobile 5 star hotel on river.

Shanghai, the biggest city in China, China’s economic center. You can see the famous Bund and the those buildings along the bund which once were owned by Jews.

Suzhou: the most graceful part of South China, over there you may see the nicest gardens in china, where you may feel very relaxed, like in a paradise. and you may also be led to the water town in China, called the oriental venice.