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Asian Jewish leaders to meet in China

March 25, 2013 03:58

Conference in Shanghai in April to focus on how Asian Jews integrate their lives with the culture they live in.

Former Chinese President Jiang Zemin at Yad Vashem [file].

Former Chinese President Jiang Zemin at Yad Vashem 370. (photo credit:Reuters)

Nearly 200 Jews from Asia and across the world will gather in Shanghai on April 4 for a four-day conference sponsored by Limmud China and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC).

Focusing on networking and “what it means to be Jewish in Asia,” the program will focus on how Jews living in Asia “integrate [their] lives as Jewish expats, navigating between our community and the local culture we are surrounded by,” said Limmud China program chairwoman and Chinese resident Rebecca Kanthor.

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“Asia’s fast-growing Jewish population has a talent for home-grown innovation.

We’re proud to create an intensive space where Jewish leaders can work together, be creative, and utilize JDC’s community development expertise and global connections to strengthen emerging Jewish life in this part of the world,” said JDC CEO Alan Gill.

According to the JDC, an estimated 20,000 Jews live in East Asia, including many expatriates as well as those from indigenous Jewish communities.

There are somewhere around 5,000-6,000 Jews in mainland China and an additional 4,000 Jews in Hong Kong, which until July 1997 was ruled by the British and which features an English- speaking Jewish community.

“Asia is made up of longstanding, organized Jewish communities – like those in India, Hong Kong, and Tokyo – and newer, smaller communities of corporate executives, entrepreneurs, managers, diplomats, and teachers in international schools and colleges. Many Jewish organizations have been active in Asia, including Chabad, JDC, Kehilat Beijing, and the Progressive Judaism movement, among others,” the JDC wrote in a statement.

“We are excited to partner with Limmud China and JDC to engage talented, creative young Jews in dialogue and learning on topics of local, regional and global significance,” said Sandy Cardin, president of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Philanthropic Network, which is a partner in the event.
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