both media and social media is inundated with pundits offering opinions. from topic to topic, a wide ranging opinions cover an abundance of topics.
in rare instances, uniquely qualified individuals come out to voice concern; mr. michael freund is one of these people. in 2002, he founded shavei israel. via his organization, he has been the multi-ethnic, multi-national, and multi-cultural moses. he has been committed to providing outreach and support to both emerging and underserviced jewish communities. this goal has taken the organization to the far reaches of the world. one community receiving services is the chinese kaifeng jewish community.
over the years, shavei israel has provided support in kaifeng. in 2010, they opened a center to “provide an authentically jewish environment where the chinese jews could learn about jewish history, culture and values.” jpost.com
recently, in 2021, mr. freund has called the alarm for the israeli government and other jewish organizations to take action.
it appears that the chinese government is moving against the community. the “UK Daily Telegraph reported in december 2020, kaifeng’s authorities have undertaken a systematic campaign to erase any physical trace of the jewish community’s historical presence in the city. museum exhibits in kaifeng which once touted its jewish history have been closed, the remains of the synagogue have been removed and the site of the ancient mikveh (ritual bath), located at a municipal hospital, has been shuttered.” jpost.com mr. freund estimates there are perhaps 1000 members of the community remaining.
while the israeli government currently, at significant expense, is bring the remaining ethiopian jews to israel, the government, at no expense, could afford to provide diplomacy to improve the welfare the kaifeng community’s welfare.
mr. freund’s organization has already shouldered considerable effort to improve the kaifeng community. the israeli government should engage the chinese government to work with the community to benefit china. the kaifeng jewish community, with its museum, can be a tourism draw. perhaps, the chinese government can realize that it benefits from having the community present.
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