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18 June 2011


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Pearl Buck wrote a novel ("Peony") with the decline (or rather, the assimilation) of the Chinese Jewish community as its topic. The basic theme is the one you mention in your fourth paragraph.


Fascinating. Thanks for that. Follow on question is: if there is in fact a ring through America's nose will it be transferable to China? If and when the time comes.


Maybe I was wrong and Dr Silverman might correct me but I thought I once knew the only Vietnamese Jew in the world. I met him and his wife in Canada in the mid-eighties. He was the lone survivor of a refugee boat headed out of Vietnam, everyone else had died of starvation, exposure, or lack of water. The boat was spotted by an Israeli freighter and they took him onboard, cared for him, and he wound up in Israel, I assume in an orphanage. As he got older he fell in love with an Israeli girl and they eventually married after he had converted to Judaism. They then emigrated to Canada and both were involved in the pastry business. They were two of the most likeable people I've ever met in my life, happiness and love just absolutely radiated from them.


Very interesting piece. For those reading about Jews in the far East, the Jewish Autonome Oblast may be interesting as well. Stalins very own little jewish homeland on the border to China.

Adam L. Silverman

Dag: If by your question you mean will China be heavily influenced by Israel in an attempt to achieve regional policy objectives, then I think the answer is no for several reasons. The first is that while the reemergent, but tiny, Kaifeng community has made some connections with Israel, even if every member tried to lobby the Chinese government, there are so few it wouldn't matter. Moreover, this gets to the heart of the issue: NO ONE really lobbies the Chinese government. China is still a Communist state. Sure, they're embracing and utilizing markets, but its centrally planned and controlled. And while China may eventually give up a lot of its economic authoritarianism, the reason that they are pursuing economic development the way they are is to get ahead of things in a way that the Soviets didn't. It has always seemed that the Chinese leadership saw what happened in Russia under Gorbachev, followed by the imperfect and never completed transition under Yeltsin, and it scared them to death. For all the Maoism, the Chinese are still Confucian/neo-Confucian, and the messiness, the lack of order that marked Russia's imperfect and never completed transition to both political and economic freedom is something that the Chinese leadership won't tolerate. So we have a Communist state engaging in open market behavior in a very controlled manner in an attempt to preserve the control of the Chinese communist leadership. They are playing a very long game in the hopes that slow, sure, and steady ultimately brings them the victory.

Adam L. Silverman

BillWade: It wouldn't surprise me. I've heard a lot of interesting stories like these. For instance, when I was a grad student in Scotland doing my master's in international security) and before I was Professor Katz's student he asked me through my Father (at the time they worked at the same university, but were in different disciplines - my Dad was one of the founding members of the criminology department at USF in Tampa) if I could try to look up a British scholar who had, supposedly, while conducting field work in Korea discovered a community of Jews, or Koreans whose religious behavior was Jewish like, and written a little about it. I tracked the scholar down, but unfortunately he'd been quite ill, was unable to take any visitors, and I think died while I was still in the UK. One of my professors at the time in Scotland, a Jewish American from NY married to a Korean American woman told me, when I mentioned Nathan's request, that his father in law told him that there were Koreans who were descended from Jews.

My guess is that there were Jewish communities all throughout Central, South, South East, and East Asia. They were likely, originally, trading communities where the locals slowly married into the local population, but retained their religious identity. After successive defeats these communities likely picked up members as relatives and business relations fled to safety after the Jews were exiled.


Silverman: The way for lobbying China is to offer technology in exchange for influence. Chinas enviromental problems sees them in a lot of problems with receding groundwater, energy-innefficiency etc.My country, Norway, was fairly succesful with this until we went and gave the Nobel price to a chinese dissenter. Since then, the cold hand.

But I do not think China will succumb to the Lobby, since the clients of China Are in large part on the other side...


While attending an American college (1997-2002), I met two sisters (fellow students) who were from the Chinese Jewish community.


No discussion of the history of Jews in China is complete w/o

At the present history of the world, we are all Jewish, Celtic, German, etc. in part. The Palestinian West Bankers are descendants in part of the New Testament Jews. The Copts may well be too. We must remember who indeed started the Christian religion.

The following quote is instructive how cultural and social assimilation flows back & forth. The Chaldeans (Babylonians/Kasdim) were speaking Aramaic. Within a few generations all of Palestine was speaking it including Jesus Christ.

"‎2 Kings 18:26 Then Eliakim son of Hilkiah, and Shebna and Joah said to the field commander, "Please speak to your servants in Aramaic, since we understand it. Don't speak to us in Hebrew in the hearing of the people on the wall."


Carrying on in the theme of strange Jewish stories(unbelieveable but true)..

In recent years, you'd heard of Zionist-Hindu/Indian conspiracy theories. You know why? I'd trace it to the the the 1971 war


Of all the millions of people in India, the one chap who sort of did the war planning and logistics and stood up to Sam Manekshaw(over timing, tactics etc), a Baghdadi Jew from a family settled in Calcutta!
And finally, here's the pic of the signing with that chap there.

And if you're looking for a stereotype of hard bargaining, look here


scroll down till you come to 'instrument of surrender.'

That was a fantastic sleight of hand, the other team surrenders when everyone else was saying 'ceasefire'. :)

Ken Hoop

"The Palestinian West Bankers are descendants in part of the New Testament Jews. "

The well-travelled Ashkenazi non-Sephardic Jews, i.e.the majority, could well have less Semitic blood related to "Ancient Israelites" than the prototype modern Palestinian.


Sephardic technically refers to the Spanish-Portugese Jews & their descendants. After the expulsion from Hispania, they were taken in by the Muslims of North Africa & the Ottoman Empire. The Morosicos were also expelled.

The Eastern Jews are called by a different name-


Israel is a much confused name. It was Jacob's other name as well as the name of the extinguished northern kingdom of King Ahab & Queen Jezebel. The word Jew (from Yehudah) is from the southern kingdom of Judah which grew into the vacuum.



Here for our listening enjoyment

Oorah Presents: 8th Day "It's Shabbos Now"



Have a bad day, to perk up one's spirit one needs Ya'alili.

"Ya'alili" by 8th Day: The official music video



A brief footnote. In the early 1980s, Israel and the PRC entered into an informal agreement to exchange military technology. The Israelis sent a team to the PRC to advise on tank design and engineering. A former Chinese student of mine served as the interpretor.

Moshe Gorelik

"ancient Chinese dialect written in paleo-Hebrew script found in a cave"

Probably you speak about Yang Shao culture (excavations in Bonpo). I have analyses written by Dr. David Inbar.
The texts written in language similar to the ancient "ktav daatz" (ancient Hebrew). This belongs to the period of 6000 - 4000 B.C. (Red ceramics period).

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