Campaign Kaifeng: The aliyah from China continues! Help 5 Kaifeng Jews return to Israel
In 2009, Shavei Israel received permission to bring seven young Jewish men from Kaifeng, China, to Israel. With Shavei Israel’s help every step along the way, these seven intrepid souls learned Hebrew, immersed themselves in Jewish studies, formally converted to Judaism, and enlisted in the Israel Defense Forces. Today they are fully integrated into Israeli life, planning their next steps as citizens of the modern Jewish state.
It has taken six long years, with Shavei Israel fighting numerous battles in the back rooms of countless Knesset committees, but we are excited to announce today that five more Chinese Jews will soon be on their way to Israel.
This time, the opportunity has been reserved for five Jewish women from Kaifeng. In 2014, rabbinical investigators who traveled to Kaifeng following Shavei Israel’s petition recommended to the Chief Rabbi of Israel that the aliyah from China be resumed. The Chief Rabbi sent the request on to the Interior Minister who has now granted his approval.
The five young women, all in their twenties, are due to arrive in January or February. If all goes well, the door will be open for even further aliyah from China.
Shavei Israel selected the five women – Li Yuan, Gao Yichen, Li Chenglin, Li Jing and Yue Teng – based on their commitment to Judaism and to the Jewish community of Kaifeng. Each of these women and their families regularly take part in Shavei Israel activities in China, celebrating holidays together and learning Hebrew with Shavei Israel’s emissaries. Two of the women have even spent time in Israel.
We will be posting profiles of each of the women as we get closer to their aliyah date, so you can get to know them better. Watch this space in the weeks to come.
The flight to Israel is only the start of a lengthy process for this latest group of Chinese Jews. Unlike the Bnei Menashe, who also have been making aliyah in unprecedented numbers due to Shavei Israel’s steadfast lobbying, the Kaifeng Jews come with a much lower level knowledge of Judaism. As a result, the time from their arrival until they complete the formal process of returning to Judaism will be much longer than the 3-4 months for the Bnei Menashe. We need to plan for a 12-18 month process for each of the five women.
This is an expensive endeavor, but it is one that carries immense value – which is why we are turning to you for assistance. You can become a part of this latest – and perhaps the most exotic – ingathering of the exiles yet.
We need to raise $1,100 per month for each of the five women – that’s nearly $20,000 each, $100,000 in total. This will cover their absorption in Israel, such as tuition, and room and board as they learn Hebrew and study towards their conversion.
In just a few weeks it will be Hanukah – the festival of lights commemorating the triumph of the Maccabees over the enemies of the Jewish people more than 2,000 years ago and the miracle of the little jug of oil that burned for eight days.
To help a group of passionate Chinese Jews make aliyah to Israel is not just a once in a lifetime opportunity, it is a modern day miracle in its own right. We have set up a special donation page for “Campaign Kaifeng.” We thank you for your support.