Our Mission

 
In Hebrew and Chinese, “For My House Shall Be Called a House of Prayer for All Peoples.”  [Nicholas Zhang Archives]

In Hebrew and Chinese, “For My House Shall Be Called a House of Prayer for All Peoples.” [Nicholas Zhang Archives]

Chinese Jews are the descendants of Han Chinese and Sephardic Jews who migrated to China thousands of years ago. They reside along the banks of Yellow River, in the cradle of a great civilisation, but unknown to most people.

They boast a profound line of descent, from ancestors who fled Roman persecution during Han Dynasty to merchant forefathers who journeyed across Silk Road during Tang Dynasty, the Jews found a new home for themselves in China.

Throughout a long history of upheavals, these people of immense perseverance and resourcefulness congregated as much as possible to support each other in their new home. While eventually adopting Chinese customs as necessity for survival, they fought hard to maintained their Jewish way of life. After centuries of intermarriage and millenniums of assimilation, these children of Abraham and Sarah, sculpted by teachings of Confucius and Lao Tzu, emerged with an identity and culture that is uniquely their own, unseen anywhere in the world. This occurrence is exceptionally rare, and utterly significant.

Chinese Jews is a student-led initiative. We believe cultural heritage is the legacy pass down from our ancestors, and the present we give to our children. It is a recording of all that we have been through and all that we are. It is one of the most valuable possessions of our shared humanity. We work to protect and preserve Chinese Jews’ cultural heritage, and to share it with people all over the world.

We also aim to combat the evil of intolerance by sharing the unique history of Chinese Jews. They are the perfect embodiment of the peaceful coexistence of two greatest ancient civilisations, over thousands of years. We work to spread the beauty, and the complete attainability, of harmonious coexistence.

Thus, in spite of their small number, Chinese Jews remain a large part of our mind.

Hand-copied Torah page in Chinese, by the modern Chinese Jews.  [Nicholas Zhang Archives]

Hand-copied Torah page in Chinese, by the modern Chinese Jews. [Nicholas Zhang Archives]

A complete set of hand-copied Torah in Chinese, stored in the Kaifeng Jewish History Memorial Center.  [Nicholas Zhang Archives]

A complete set of hand-copied Torah in Chinese, stored in the Kaifeng Jewish History Memorial Center. [Nicholas Zhang Archives]