The Kaifeng Jews

The first Jews arrived in Kaifeng, one of the capitals of imperial China, over a thousand years ago, when Jewish merchants from Persia settled in the area.

At its height, in the Middle Ages, Kaifeng’s Jewish community numbered as many as 5,000 people, with rabbis, synagogues and various communal institutions.

But assimilation eventually began to take its toll. The last rabbi of Kaifeng died two centuries ago, and by the middle of the 19th century, the community was forced to sell the synagogue, Torah scrolls and its other remaining assets.

Until today, however, there are between 500 and 1,000 identifiable descendants of the Jewish community, and in recent years an awakening has been taking place among them, as increasing numbers of young Kaifeng Jews seek to reclaim their heritage.

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Ties with members of the community

Shavei Israel maintains a continuous and intensive contact with the descendants of members of this ancient Jewish community in Kaifeng. These contacts are expressed through personal visits, telephone conversations and emails. Shavei Israel assigns to its contacts with this community the highest importance in particular, alongside many others, in order to assist them with their requirements and their process of returning to the Jewish people.

Sending educational materials

As part of our endeavors to assist the descendants of the Kaifeng community to return to their roots, Shavei Israel sends them educational materials so that those who are amid a process of searching can renew their contact with the traditions and customs that were lost over the ages. Part of the process of returning is the restoration of lost memories. Shavei Israel is actively supporting this undertaking.

Assistance for those who made Aliya to Israel

Shavei Israel remains in continuous contact with descendents of Jewish community in Kaifeng who came to Israel. The organization extends them a helping hand with everything concerning their absorption in Israel, connecting with a new society, studies and so forth; all that they need, each one according to his personal situation.


  • The aliyah from China continues. In the final installment of our series of profiles of the five young women fr...

  • The aliyah from China continues. We have one more in our series of profiles of the five young women from the C...

  • The aliyah from China continues. In our continuing series of profiles of the five young women from the Chinese...