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06/04/2006
Shanghai Jewish surprise by: Leslie Bunder
FILED UNDER DAILY JEWS >> Travel
Ohel Rachel Synagogue
Ohel Rachel Synagogue

As China opens itself to western tourists, one growing market is Jewish tourists looking to explore their Chinese connections.

As many may know, the Chinese city of Shanghai was once home to over 20,000 fleeing Nazi persecution from Europe during World War II.  The numbers may have dwindled over the years as they left to begin lives in other countries, but their legacy to the city goes on.

These days around 1000 Jews live in Shanghai with up to 50,000 Jews a year visiting the city.

Today, there is still much to see including the Ohel Rachel Synagogue which, while not in active use was the main synagogue for Sephardi Jews. These days the shul is only open several times a year for special ceremonies. In 2002, it was listed as one of the world's 100 most endangered sites and since then there have been attempts to restore it so it can serve not just as a synagogue but also as a museum commemorating Jewish and Chinese relations.

A Chabad centre run by Rabbi Shalom Greenberg and his wife Dina offer visitors an opportunity to not just share shabbat in Shanghai but can also help with kosher food and arranging tours of the city.

For more information: www.chinajewish.org

 
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