יום שני ט"ז בתמוז תשפ"ד 22/07/2024
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  • The Mission Continues

    As in the past so it remains today - we were and still are under the selfsame commitment to adhere to the directions of the Gedolei Yisrael, who stand guard against breaches of purity threatening our camp. When we were required to ask – we asked. When we were instructed to depart – we left. The moment we are summoned back to raise the flag, every other consideration is pushed to the side and we answer: We are ready!

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בראי היום

  • Harav Yisrael Friedman zy”a, the Rebbe of Husyatin

    מוטי, ויקיפדיה העברית

    The ancestral chain of Harav Yisrael Friedman, the founder of the Husyatin chassidic court, originates with the holy Baal Shem Tov. The Husyatin chassidus has its roots in Galicia and eventually came to Tel Aviv, during the turbulent years between the two World Wars.

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Place

  • Maccabi'im Gravesite

    In honour of Chanukah, we will discuss a fascinating, ongoing investigation attempting to establish the place of burial of Mattisyahu Kohen Gadol and his family.

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In News

A First: New Immigrants from China

Seven young men, descended from the Jewish community of Kaifeng, have arrived in Israel. The problem: they are non-Jews, and will need to convert.

David Katz 21/10/2009 22:00

For the first time ever, a group of seven young Chinese men - decended from the ancient Jewish community of Kaifeng - have made aliya to Israel. Their immigration was facilitated by the "Shavei Yisrael" organization, which has been negotiating with the Israeli government for two years in order to receive special permission from the Interior Ministry to permit the group to enter Israel for one year.

"I am overjoyed to be in the Holy Land. It's my dream come true. I am especially excited because I have fulfilled a dream that my forefathers were not able to," said 23 year old Yaakov Wang, one of the seven new immigrants.

The chairman of "Shavei Yisrael", Michael Freund, believes that there are about 1000 people of Jewish descent in the Kaifeng community today. Even though the Kaifeng Jews almost completely assimilated into the general population two hundred years ago, some of their descendants claim that they still observe certain Jewish customs.

According to those descendants, their ancestors were merchants who arrived in China from Iran or Iraq in the 8th and 9th centuries. They traveled to Kaifeng, which was the capital of China at the time, by way of the Silk Road. In the Middle Ages, there were 5000 Jews in the community, and the central beis knesses of the city was constructed in 1163. In the middle of the 19th century, due to assimilation and poverty, the last remaining Jews in the community decided to sell the beit knesset building and ancient manuscripts to the local missionaries.

However, some of the families preserved their Jewish identity till this day. "Our children feel a connection to their Jewish roots, even though it is nearly impossible to maintain a religious identity in Communist China " says Freund.

Rabbis who deal with issues of conversion told "Etrog" Wednesday afternoon that the whole notion of Jews in China is absurd. "We have no knowledge or proof that these people are Jews. It is all based on theory. A group of non-Jews was brought to Israel, and they will study Hebrew for a year at the ulpan for converts on Kibbutz Sdeh Eliyahu. At the end of the year, they will each undergo a quick conversion. After they finished bringing all the non-Jews from Russia, the various organizations have nothing better to do than to look for non-Jews in China who may have someone Jewish in their past?" a rabbi who deals with conversions commented.