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This article is being reprinted from the The Shanghai's Messenger, July 1998

Shanghai's Messenger

B'Nai Yisrael: The Jewish Community of Shanghai July 1998 Press Release



by Jodie Goldberg and

Robin Gerofsky Kaptzan

On June 30th, the day prior to the dedication of a Sefer Torah at the recently renovated Ohel Rachel Synagogue for the U.S. Presidential Delegation, there was another very exciting event of historical significance. This took place at our Shanghai Community's Beit Midrash facility. At a Cocktail Party, in a private and exhilarating moment, the Shanghai Jewish Community held a dedication of the Sefer Torah presented by Rabbi Arthur Schneier, who donated the Torah through the Park East Synagogue of New York City, USA

Rabbi Schneier expressed his thoughts to our Community. He told us to remember, "You are pioneers in Shanghai with a glorious future. You are a united Community team and should feel proud to be Jews." He said, "The greatest Mitzvah of 613 Mitzvahs is Erev Yisrael, love of fellow Jews."

We now have a very dynamic Executive Committee, which is planning fund-raisers, educational and social activities and we hope to soon welcome our Community's first full time Rabbi in decades. Whether we will be able to hold services at the Synagogue still remains unclear, but we are hopeful.

As we begin a new era, we look forward to very exciting times and hope members of our Community continue to become involved in this most remarkable moment in Shanghai's history.


by Robin Gerofsky Kaptzan

During World War II, Shanghai's Hongkou District was a safe haven for over 20,000 Jewish refugees fleeing from Nazi-dominated Europe. After the War, when Shanghai, like the rest of China, was under Communist rule, most of the Jews left for various corners of the globe.

Today, after 50 years of being devoid of a formal Jewish Community, there have been great strides towards the rebirth of the Shanghai Jewish Community. In May 1998, the first Executive Committee was elected with about 200 people representing more than 15 countries.

B'Nai Yisrael: The Jewish Community

of Shanghai

Address for all correspondence to the Executive Committee Members:

B'Nai Yisrael: The Jewish Community

of Shanghai

Study Hall - Office

1277 Beijing Road, 19th Floor

Shanghai, China 200040

Tel: (8621) 6289-9903

Fax: (8621) 6289-9957

e-mail: sjcchina@usa.net

For inquiries about this newsletters:

Jodie Goldberg: tel/fax: 5976-1267

e-mail: chinaqueen@hotmail.com

Robin Gerofsky Kaptzan:

tel/fax: 6240-7055

e-mail: kaptzan@prodigychina.com

Executive Committee

Chairman Elan Oved

President Albert Sassoon

Vice President Jonathan Eisenberg

Senior Advisor Seth Kaplan

Treasurer Raya Feuer

Fund-Raising Joseph Tatelbaum

Secretary Robin Gerofsky Kaptzan

Legal Advisor David Buxbaum

Editor Jodie Goldberg

Programs Susan Shulman

Michelle Oved

Membership Stephane Wilmet


by Jodie Goldberg and

Robin Gerofsky Kaptzan

The restoration of the Ohel Rachel Synagogue and presentation of a Sefer Torah represents many things to many people, including the importance of freedom of religion as well as the open-mindedness and thoughtfulness of the Chinese Government. For the Jewish people world-wide, it is testimony of our history in this beautiful Asian city.

Albert Sassoon, President of the Shanghai Jewish Community, and Seth Kaplan, Senior Advisor, were in attendance during the Sefer Torah presentation at the Ohel Rachel Synagogue on July 1st.

When speaking with Albert Sassoon, he said, "I was thrilled and honored to be the first President of the newly formed Jewish Community, especially on this momentous occasion to see that the Synagogue was beautifully finished and decorated. However, I was saddened that the entire Jewish Community could not have been there to share it with me. He added, "It was a pleasure for me to meet the First Lady, her daughter and the US Secretary of State. The First Lady was very optimistic and hopeful that all religion will be accepted in China."

Seth Kaplan said, "I was touched by being able to participate in such an important historical event in the Synagogue. The Sefer Torah and Rabbi Schneier's presence made it feel almost like a real religious service."

440 Great Neck Road
Great Neck, New York 1102

P.O. Box 220224
Great Neck, NY 11022-0224

Tel: (516) 773-9876
e-mail: info@bjcny.org
website:  http://www.bjcny.org

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