Jewish Travel in China

It is gratifying that most of the living traces of Jews, historic buildings and their communities are well   preserved  in Shanghai, and part of Kaifeng Jewish community has been survived after eroding for hundreds of years.

We suggest Private China Tours including cities of Shanghai and Kaifeng if you are planning to rediscover the heritage of Jewish footsteps in China.

Individuals leading Jewish tours of China and/or consulting on Jewish travel to China include:  longtime SJI board member (and Chinese-speaking) Dr. Wendy Abraham (www.chinaorientations.com); Rabbi Marvin Tokayer (www.jewisheyes.com), whose trips are kosher; Cantor Joy Katzen-Guthrie (http://joyfulnoise.net or http://www.joyfulnoise.net/tours/china.html); and Shi Lei, a Kaifeng Jew and professional travel guide, who is fluent in English and knows some Hebrew too (http://jewishchinatours.com or qshilei68@yahoo.com).

Sites in Kaifeng

Jewish Sites to Visit:  Kaifeng Municipal Museum has the original stelae, rubbings, and several other objects in an attractive but meagre exhibit, still locked away on its top floor, but accessible to tourists upon request.  The Song Dynasty Park has a good photo exhibit on the Kaifeng Jews, donated by Sino-Judaic Institute, that should be accessible to everyone but is still only open by special request.   The Merchant Guild Temple, Gan Gan Si, has a small but good exhibit in Chinese on the Kaifeng Jews as well as a recently-returned bowl from the Royal Ontario Museum.  Guo Yan and the Zhao family maintain a small private museum in the last remaining Jewish home on the old Teaching Torah Lane.  As of this writing, the Shi family's private museum is in the process of being relocated from its family compound.

Sites in Shanghai

Jewish Sites to Visit: the Hongkou ghetto and Holocaust memorial, the Ohel Moishe Refugee Museum, the Peace hotel (built by Sir Victor Sassoon), and the Children’s Palace (Sir Kadoorie’s former home).  All are easily accessible.  A guide is highly recommended for the Hongkou ghetto.  Ohel Rachel, the former synagogue built by the Baghdadi Jews, is now a government facility and is not generally open to the public.

Built in 1927 by Russian Ashkenazim, it no longer serves as a synagogue but as a museum devoted to the Jewish experience in Shanghai.  Visitors are welcome on weekdays from 9am to 4pm.  Entrance Fee: 50 RMB

All of the following tour providers are recommended.  All are fee-for-service.

Sites in Harbin

Jewish Sites to Visit: the former Main Synagogue, now a hotel; the New Synagogue, now home to the Jewish historical and cultural museum; and the Jewish cemetery.

    Other Resources

SJI can help with your travel plans too by providing contacts in Kaifeng, Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong.  Help us maintain and expand our network by making a donation or becoming a member.