WHEN I WAS GROWING UP, THE ONLY connnection Jews had with China was through food; a Chinese restaurant was the perfect place for Jews to go on Christmas Day and just after Pesah, when the holiday dishes still hadn’t been put away. Today Jews can learn about China — and even plan a trip there — via the Internet.
One place to look is www.chinajewish.org, where travelers are advised about lunch and dinner at the Shanghai Jewish Center Cafe (two-course lunch, $ 12; four-course dinner, $ 24), and told that toddler groups and bar and bat mitzvah courses are offered by the synagogue. Rabbi Shalom Greenberg, we learn, “is able to order any kosher products that members of the community require.”
Those whose trip isn’t purely for pleasure can also turn to Kosher Today, a publication of the kosher food industry, https://www.koshertoday.com, for business information in Chinese. In addition, the Star-K kashrut-certifying organization’s website, https://www.star-k.org/fe-welcome.htm, reports that “there are many Star-K-certified Chinese companies in a wide range of industries, from food ingredients to pharmaceuticals.” The site also indicates that Star-K recently sent Rabbi Reuven Abeidon, an Orthodox rabbi fluent in Chinese and with an MBA from Harvard, to head its Star-K Shanghai office. Maybe he’ll soon certify the world’s first good kosher Chinese restaurant.
Abeidon may wish to start learning about Jewish China by reading “The Jewish Community of China” at https://www.amyisrael.co.il/asia/china/. And if he has plans to be in Beijing over Shabbat, he can check out https://www.sinogogue.org/. Kehillat Beijing has services every Friday night services at 7 p.m. followed by Kiddush and a community dinner.
Many Jewish travelers have already discovered China. Marvin Tokayer, former chief rabbi of Japan and author of 33 books, including “The Fugu Plan,” the story of Chiune Suhigara, who saved thousands during the Holocaust, is the creator of the “Through Jewish Eyes” travel programs: https://www.jewisheyes.com/asia.htm. Tokayer offers a kosher cruise down the Yangtze River. Chinese travel is even an option for Jewish singles, who can check out a $ 2,700 trip at www.jewishtravel.com/singles/china.html.
Another unique group of Jews have recently fallen in love with China. Families With Children From China, https://www.fwcc.org/welcome.html, says “China consistently provides healthy babies in a timely fashion.” Prospective adoptive parents Ellen Sloan and Will Hoffman flew to the southeastern Chinese province of Guang Dong in October 1996 and adopted their beautiful 7-month-old baby daughter Jiang Xiao Gui, or “Little Precious,” from an orphanage in Jiang Men (https://www.rainbowkids.com/Articles/1298jewish.htm). Adopting families might also look at Stars of David International, Inc., https://www.starsofdavid.org/, a non-profit network for adoptive families.