Our Team

 

Nicholas Zhang

Founder & Executive director

Nicholas Zhang Martina Ingrouille Founder Executive Director Kaifeng Shanghai Harbin Chinese Jew Holocaust Humanitarian Historian Pause for a Cause.jpeg

Nicholas was born and raised in Hong Kong. He moved to Britain at the age of 13 to pursue his secondary education.

Through serendipity, Nicholas acquainted - and then later befriended - himself with many great people who have devoted much of their lives to history - the Holocaust, in particular. Through association with such individuals, his love for the academic subject narrowed down into a fundamental interest in the topic of Judaism. Therefore, upon finding out about the experience of the Chinese Jews, Nicholas was compelled to learn more and to further share their story. Indeed, the Chinese Jews’ history particularly resonated within him, as it embodied elements of his interest, Judaism, and of his own Chinese heritage.

Nicholas’ interest in Jewish history also prompts him to do all he can to combat anti-Semitism, especially given its re-emergence in Europe and therefore is in working closely with many anti-hate organisations.

In order to encourage his peers to similarly get involved in something for which they are passionate, he also founded Pause for a Cause. It is an online platform which, of course, urges students to ‘pause’ and do something for a ‘cause,’ however significant or trivial.

 

Alexander Noel-Baker

director of operations

Chinese Jew Kaifeng Shanghai Harbin Alexander+Noel-Baker.jpg

Alexander Noel-Baker was born in Greece, to a Greek mother and an English/Swedish father. He grew up in Athens amidst Greece’s ongoing financial and then refugee crises. Experiencing these on a first-hand basis, as well as coming from a family that encouraged participation in humanitarian causes, Alexander has developed a strong desire to stand up and offer himself where help is needed. One of the projects he has been active in over the last few years is "Friends of the Greek Islands and the Sea", a non-profit organisation that sets up and runs music schools on remote Greek islands.

What has attracted him to the cause of the Chinese Jews, is their extremely unique and rich history together with their culture and traditions which with time are gradually fading. He hopes that this movement will remind people of the mutual prosperity borne out of diversity, like so many cultures that peacefully coexisted and enriched each other many times in human history.

 

Yarden Toiber Kent

Director of community outreach

Yarden Toiber Kent Kaifeng Shanghai Harbin Chinese Jew Holocaust.jpeg

Yarden was born in a small Kibbutz in northern Israel. Having lived in Israel for 14 years, she is highly devoted to the field of Holocaust and anti-Semitism. A direct descendant of German and Polish Holocaust-survivors, Yarden has unbreakable ties to her homeland and its history, which she describes as ‘the society which sprung from great suffering to form a beautiful nation.’ However, obstructing this beauty is Israel’s ongoing violent conflict with Palestine, largely enrooted in its troubled history. Having spent most of her life amidst this animosity, Yarden has devoted much of her time to humanitarian-aid. In addition to playing a vital role in Chinese Jews, she is an active member of the Peace Now movement, and often finds herself volunteering with Holocaust survivors in Israel, as well as Syrian refugees in Greece.

 

Martina Ingrouille

Advisor

Nicholas Zhang Martina Ingrouille Chinese Jew Shanghai Harbin Kaifeng.jpeg

Martina is a native of the Philippines. She attended high school in Paris and obtained her under-graduate degree from Columbia University. After a 20 year career in investment banking, at institutions such as Citibank, HSBC, and Credit Suisse, she decided to follow her heart and pursue her passion.

Martina is a strong advocate for the marginalised children, fighting for their rights to quality education, regardless of race, religion or social status. Martina is also the strongest warrior against intolerance, she believes in respecting and learning from others, rejecting unfair stereotypes, bridging cultural gaps, and creating new bonds. She preaches that learning to recognise common ground can be uniting, but learning to recognise and embrace differences can be even more endearing. She often says, it is only through tolerance can we reject prejudice and the best time to start - as young as possible. Today, Martina is a very happy, well-loved and extremely proud teacher of 4th grade students, at the Kellett School in Hong Kong.

In her spare time, Martina is heavily involved in various NGOs in Hong Kong. She also runs a charitable school in the Philippines, catering to children who don’t fit into the so-called “normal” schools.

 

Teresa Chiao

Advisor

Nicholas Zhang Teresa Chiao Chinese Jew Kaifeng Shanghai Harbin.jpg

Teresa’s family was originally from the Kaifeng area. Carrying with her strong memory of neighbors with slightly wavy hair, nose bridge slightly taller and complexion slightly fairer, she always wondered why. Upon learning there was a group of Chinese Jews who had lived in her native province of Henan for thousands of years, Teresa tried to trace down and re-connect with her old friends; but given the lack of social media back then, as well as the removal of Hebrew surnames, she has had no luck so far.

Teresa has since moved to New York City and worked many years for a Jewish accounting firm.  Teresa finds the strong relationship between Chinese and Jewish community, and the relative common occurrence of Jewish-Chinese marriages in the U.S. both fascinating and socially significant.  From Jewish people’s love of Chinese food, to Chinese people’s difficulty in getting Jewish jokes, to their shared value for hard work, commitment to education and family-mindedness, Teresa spends much of her time researching the coexistence and evolvement of these two cultures in merged households. 

In her free time, Teresa is busy volunteering at the Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone. She is also the loving parent of two parakeets, Speedy and Sky, and a room full of exotic orchids.