We are Chinese. Love Us, and Make Us Powerful


ODB just passed along a great interview from the new English language edition of China’s Global Times newspaper. GT’s Lu Jingxian talks with Jack Rosen, chairman of the American Jewish Congress and American Council for World Jewry. (It’s unclear whether or not Mr. Rosen is related to the well-known Dr. Rosen in Los Angeles.)

The tone of the interview reminds me of countless conversations I have had on politics here in China. The Chinese interviewer gets right to the point with a blunt statement and question:

American Jews are known for their formidable lobbying power in the US. How is this accomplished?

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Chinese Jeans Anger Iran


The Guardian reports on a Chinese clothing company that has angered Iranians by creating a line of jeans bearing the Islamic expression “In the name of God, the compassionate, the merciful”.

A Chinese clothing manufacturer probably thought it was on to a winner by exporting jeans bearing the Islamic expression “In the name of God, the compassionate, the merciful” to Iran. But an otherwise sound marketing ploy was undone by one embarrassing flaw: the phrase (Bismillah-ir-Rahman-ir-Rahim in Arabic), which graces each of the Qur’an’s 114 chapters, was prominently displayed on the pockets of the jeans’ backsides, something likely to be seen as disrespectful by devout Muslims.

The Guardian is quoting Asriran.com who is accusing China of “attacking Iranian Muslim sacred symbols in the most offensive manner”. Also, the importers of the Jeans have been arrested.

Israel’s Kaifeng Jews

Kaifeng Jews at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem

An interesting article by Haaretz describes one of Israel’s smallest Jewish communities, that of the Kaifeng Jews, numbering just 10 souls:

Jin, 22, and Wang, 21, arrived in Israel at the beginning of 2006, together with two other friends from Kaifeng on tourist visas. They received temporary resident status after they begun conversion studies and received citizenship after undergoing a conversion ceremony in a rabbinical court. Wang explains that as children their parents and grandparents “told us we are Jews and that one day we’d return to our land.” Jin Jin boasts, “We have a family burial plot that goes back dozens of generations, and we have genealogy books showing our connection with earlier generations of Jews.” 

The town’s Jews reconnected with mainstream Jewry thanks to visits by Jewish tourists, who brought learning materials and religious objects to local Jews. Jin’s uncle Shlomo Jin went to the Israeli embassy in Beijing eight years ago seeking to immigrate to Israel. Embassy officials didn’t want to hear about it, so he eventually came to Israel with his family via a European country. Shavei Israel, an organization which reaches out to lost Jewish communities, helped community members get accepted into a conversion program.

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Jewish Tombstones in Haerbin


Back in 2005 I went up to Haerbin on China’s May vacation. Haerbin once had a prosporous Jewish community, with two Synagogues and a Jewish school. The Synagogues are still standing but remain closed to the public and the old Jewish school is now a Korean girl school. Dr. Irena Vladimirsky writes a fascinating article on the history of Judaism in Haerbin (if you are surfing from China try this link).

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