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Bnei Akiva Branch Opens in Hong Kong

Zionist youth group seeks to deepen Jewish identity in distant community; Hong Kong Jews eagerly await emissary's arrival.
By Tova Dvorin
First Publish: 11/20/2013, 8:55 PM

Shimon Peres with Bnei Akiva (Illustrative)
Shimon Peres with Bnei Akiva (Illustrative)
Flash90

Religious-Zionist youth group Bnei Akiva will be opening a branch in Hong Kong, in an effort to deepen Jewish identity in the far-flung Jewish community there. The branch is set to open this coming Shabbat. 

"The establishment of a religious-Zionist center for local youth has been a dream of ours since we came here," says Rabbi Ariel Zamir, who has served as the community leader for over 3 years. "Both my wife and I grew up with Bnei Akiva; we know the organization well and identify with its values. We knew once we began looking for ways to empower local Jewish youth that this is precisely what the community needs." 

The project has been underway for some time, and upon launch, the branch is set to be fully operational. "We've recruited and trained counselors, we've set up a solid infrastructure for the branch, and the hope is that Bnei Akiva activities will continue after my wife and I finish our stint here in Hong Kong and return to Israel," Rabbi Zamir continued.

"We look forward to this upcoming Shabbat. We are excited to be part of this historical event and hope that the Bnei Akiva branch in Hong Kong will be a lively and popular place within the next few years." 

Both Rabbi Zamir and his wife are part of the Straus-Amiel Institute for Training Rabbis and Teachers in the Diaspora, which aims to bring rabbinical guidance and Jewish leadership to communities around the world. The program is part of the Ohr Torah Stone Foundation, which is headed by noted Rabbi Dr. Shlomo Riskin.