This week we look at a topic many have heard about but aren’t familiar with the details. We look at the early origins of the Jewish people in China and the time of the settlement in Kaifeng, Henan. Although you’d be hard pressed to find a minyan amongst the native Jews in Kaifeng today, there are efforts being made to revive Judaism in that ancient city. It’s an interesting story that spans a millenium and offers a look at Chinese history from another angle.
TERMS FROM THIS EPISODE
Kaifeng 开封 Ancient city in Henan
Zhang Qian 张骞 Han dynasty explorer who journeyed west in the 2nd century BC
Han Wudi 汉武帝 Long reigning Han emperor on the throne during the time of Zhang Qian
Han Guangwu 汉光武 Founder of Eastern Han Dynasty
xifan 稀饭 Rice porridge or gruel
Bianliang 汴梁 Ancient name of the the city of Kaifeng
Tang Dezong 唐德宗 Tang Emperor who granted permission to Jews to build a synagogue in Bianliang.
Fuchai 夫差 King of Wu State credited with the building of the Han Gou
Han Gou 邗沟 The Han Canal
Sui Yangdi 隋炀帝 Sui emperor credited with building the Grand Canal
Qin Guan 秦观 Song Dynasty poet, considered one of the best.
Zhengzhou 郑州 Ancient city in Henan, just west of Kaifeng
Luoyang 洛阳 Ancient city in Henan just west of Zhengzhou
Sanmenxia 三门峡 Ancient city in Henan just west of Luoyang
Weinan 渭南 Ancient city in Shaanxi just west of Sanmenxia
Shaanxi 陕西 Ancient city in Shaanxi, just west of Weinan
Henan 河南 Province in China
Quanzhou 泉州 Ancient port city in Fujian
Yangzhou 扬州 Historic commercially rich city in Jiangsu
Xinjiang 新疆 Formerly known as Chinese Turkestan
Yue Fei 岳飞 Southern Song dynasty general wrongfully accused of treason
Jin Zhong Bao Guo 尽忠报国 Serve the country with the greatest loyalty, words tattooed on Yue Fei’s back
Li Zicheng 李自成 Rebel who contributed to the downfall of the Ming dynasty
Ai, Shi, Gao, Jin, Li, Zhang, Zhao 艾，石，高，金，李，张， 赵 The seven surnames granted to the Jews of Kaifeng by the Ming emperor.
Ai Tian 艾田 Chinese Jew from Kaifeng who met Matteo Ricci in 1605
Li Madou 利玛窦 Matteo Ricci
Wanli Emperor 万里帝 Long reigning Ming Dynasty emperor
Tiaojinjiao 挑筋教 The religion that removes the tendons, what Chinese called Judaism.
gaige kaifang 改革开放 Reform and opening up to the outside world
Harbin 哈尔滨 City in Manchuria, Heilongjiang province
Hui 回 The Muslim race in China