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Members of Chinese Jewish community immigrate to Israel

Five women in their 20s from the Chinese Jewish community of Kaifeng have arrived in Israel to become citizens.

The women, who have been studying Hebrew and Judaism in their native Kaifeng, traveled to the Western Wall upon arrival in the country earlier today.

They must still undergo a formal conversion by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel.

New immigrants to Israel arrive from Kaifeng, China, on February 20, 2016. (Laura Ben-David / Courtesy of Shavei Israel)
New immigrants to Israel arrive from Kaifeng, China, on February 20, 2016. (Laura Ben-David / Courtesy of Shavei Israel)

The women will continue their Jewish studies at Jerusalem’s Midreshet Nishmat-The Jeanie Schottenstein Center For Advanced Torah Study For Women, with the support of the Shavei Israel organization, which will also cover their living expenses and support them as they prepare for their conversions. Upon completion of the conversion process, they will receive Israeli citizenship.

“Kaifeng’s Jewish descendants are a living link between China and the Jewish people,” says Michael Freund, chairman of Shavei Israel, which seeks to strengthen ties to the descendants of Jews in communities around the world. “After centuries of assimilation, a growing number of the Kaifeng Jews in recent years have begun seeking to return to their roots and embrace their Jewish identity.”

— JTA

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