Jewish Tales: Key to Chinese Success
The Chinese have been asking themselves why so many Jews are so successful, and they believe they have found the answer. That answer is being presented in a children’s series of 10 books called The Secret to the Jews’ Success. Each book tells a short Jewish tale alongside the moral of the story, teaching the Chinese how to succeed in life. One of the tales tells the story of a large farm where a young Jewish worker is also employed. The young Jew works very hard and completes his work within two hours. When coming to receive his pay the other workers complain that they had spent the entire day working while the Jew had only worked for two hours. The owner of the farm says he is not interested in the hours of work but rather in the production. The moral of the story is that the Jews succeed due to their perseverance and hard work, and therefore it is recommended to follow in their footsteps and not be lazy.
Respect your elders
Another tale unfolds the plight of a young man whose disappointed father bequeathed all he had to his servant, while the son is allowed to choose just one thing. Turning to his rabbi for an explanation the son is told that his father did the right thing because had the father not bequeathed his property to the servant the servant may have never shown him the will. The rabbi also tells him that the one thing he should choose is the servant – this way everything will ultimately be his. The moral of the story is that the Jews are smart because they respect their elders and take advantage of their knowledge.
Another tale reaches the conclusion that the Jews’ developed thought process enables them to resolve problems by analytical thinking. Yet another story tells how the Jews don’t take any work lightly; how they cooperate with each other and how they are willing to sacrifice themselves.
Professor Aaron Shai a lecturer on East Asian Studies at the Tel Aviv University says he is not in the least bit surprised by these books, “the Chinese have always held us in high esteem,” he says. Jews first settled in China after the destruction of the first temple. In the 19th century Jews also arrived from Iraq and became highly successful. At the turn of the 20th century a wave of anti-communist Jews arrived in China from Russia following the Bolshevik Revolution, among them was the prime minister’s family. In the 30’s, Jewish refugees such as Saul Eisenberg who fled the Nazi regime, came to China and went on to became very successful.
Admiration for the Jews
Shai says the encounter with these successful Jews led to the Chinese admiration for them. Another reason for their admiration, he adds, is the similarity between the dispersion of the Jews and the Chinese around the world. Both communities are dispersed throughout five continents and both are highly successful in commerce, and very particular about their children’s education. The similarity between the Jews’ family honor and the Confucius heritage also created admiration for the Jews.
So far, 5,000 books have been published in China and they are highly popular among Christian Chinese communities. Wai Wan, a high school teacher says that had the publisher invested more in advertising the books they would have been even more popular. Wan says the books are relatively more expensive than other Chinese children’s books.