chinese jew wedding 298.
(photo credit: Michael Freund)
A journey that began nearly a thousand years ago ended Wednesday evening in Jerusalem as Shlomo and Dina Jin, of Kai Feng, China were joined in matrimony according to Jewish law.
The two have been married as non-Jews for about two decades but on Wednesday night they tied the knot again, this time as newly converted Jews. Their daughter Shalva converted to Judaism over a year ago and has managed to complete National Service.
The couple will settle down in Israel's capital.
Shlomo and Dina's ancestors belong to the lost Jewish community of China that ceased to exist in the 19th century as a result of assimilation and intermarriage, which started just a few decades after the last rabbi of the community passed away.
Jewish traders, travelers of the silk route, arrived in Kai Feng and established a synagogue in 1163. About 5,000 lived there through the mid 1800's. To this day about 500 descendants of the community live in Kai Feng.
"They still maintain a strong Jewish identity but during the communist regime all traces of Jewish rites and customs were abandoned," said Michael Freund, chairman of Shavei Israel, an organization dedicated to "reconnecting 'lost Jews'" who have a historical connection with Judaism, like the descendants of the conversos of Spain.
Shavei Israel helped Dina and Shlomo realize their dream of rejoining the Jewish people.
Prominent guests at the wedding included MK Zevulun Orlev (National Religious Party) and Supreme Court Justice Elyakim Rubinstein.