Watch: Jews of Kaifeng celebrate Hanukkah

After many centuries, a small but powerful Jewish reawakening is occurring in China.

Ari Soffer,

Jews of Kaifeng celebrate Hanukkah
Jews of Kaifeng celebrate Hanukkah
Shavei Israel

It is a Hanukkah celebration like any other; like millions of other Jews across the world, the dozens of men and women light the hanukkiah and sang maoz tsur.

But the video above is no typical Hanukkah event. Apart from an Israeli emissary of the Shavei Israel organization (seen playing the guitar), those present are descendants of the ancient Jewish community of Kaifeng, China.

After centuries of assimilation the community all but disappeared during the Middle Ages, but now, with the help of Shavei Israel, their descendants - many of whom still clung to various Jewish traditions - are reemerging.

“The Chinese Jews take their inspiration from the Maccabees,” said Shavei Israel Chairman and Founder Michael Freund. “Even in far-off Kaifeng, the light of Jewish survival continues to burn brightly. Kaifeng’s Jewish descendants are a living link between China and the Jewish people.”




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