Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Gerim: Shavei Yisroel teaches Chinese


A year ago they were living by the bank of China’s Yellow River. Now, the seven yarmulke-and-tzitzit-clad young men, sitting in central Jerusalem and chatting about their lives, are Israel’s keenest yeshiva students.

It is the end of July, the day after the Fast of Av, when every yeshiva halts for summer break — but this group won’t stop.

They come from a community that has fascinated Jews for centuries — China’s Kaifeng Jewish community. Jews are said to have settled in China in the eighth or ninth century. It is believed that at one point, there were as many as 5,000 Jews in Kaifeng; however the community disintegrated in the mid-19th century, with the death of its last rabbi, and those members that hadn’t done so already intermarried and dropped most aspects of religious observance. [...]


  1. “We cannot and must not turn our backs on them, regardless of whether they choose to make aliyah or remain in Kaifeng,” the group’s chairman, Michael Freund, told the Forward. “Either way, they deserve a chance to learn more and to engage their Jewishness, just like any other Diaspora Jewish community.”

    Indeed. Why not give them an opportunity to learn about their heritage, the religion of the ancestors, and to rejoin the ancestor's people if they want? They were lost to the Jewish people because their ancestors assimilated. What's wrong with teaching them? Are we supposed to shun them?

  2. yeshaya said...
    What's wrong with teaching them? Are we supposed to shun them?
    Running after people to convert is not acceptable and has never been acceptable or desirable. This has been discussed many times. Do a search on the word proselytization

  3. Recipients and PublicityAugust 19, 2010 at 2:00 PM

    While the right-wing Haredi-sponsored EJF has been stopped dead in tracks for now due to the Tropper scandal, the left-wing eligious Zionist-sponsored Shavei Israel keeps rolling along.

    One observation though, it seems that for a quite a while now that centrist Haredi-oriented Mishpacha magazine has stopped hosting and promoting stories and articles favorable to Shavei Israel's objectives. The fact that it is in the highly secular leftist Forward, propped up and sponsored by the openly atheist philanthropist Michael Steinhart makes it a very poor "reference" for Shavei Israel.

    For now, Shavei Israel is pushing ahead with its global near-messianic proselytization agenda no matter where it's reported and that makes it very alarming as long as no one speaks out against what they are doing.


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