Far Away yet near at heart

ICEJ Aliyah

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Posted on: 
25 Apr 2016
Far Away yet near at heart

Over 7,000 kilometers away from Jerusalem, the small community in Kaifeng, China, never lost their Jewish identity. Today, Kaifeng’s young people desire to reconnect with their Jewish roots and come home to Israel.

Twenty-seven year old Li Jing is the oldest of five Kaifeng residents who recently made Aliyah. “Ihaveknown since I was very little that I am a Jew,” says Li. “My father told us our ancestors came from Israel. Still, I have a lot to learn. When my father first told me I was filled with pride. But then I was a bit puzzled. I mean, what does it mean to be a Jew?”

Growing up, Li’s parents did their best to retain their Jewish identity. “We kept the Sabbath and celebrated all the holidays –Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Hanukkah, Passover – all according to Jewish Law,” she says. Although isolated from the rest of the Diaspora, they managed to preserve their faith.

The history of the Kaifeng Jews began 1,000 years ago, when the first Jewish community from Persia or India took root in Kaifeng, a busy city off of the main trade route. Europeans knew nothing of the existence of these Chinese Jews until 1605, whenan Italian priest came across a Jew from Kaifengwho told him about his flourishing community. The collective, which began to erode in the 19th century due to assimilation and intermarriage, currently contains approximately 100 Jewish families totaling about 500 people who, like Li, are rediscovering their Jewish roots.

In 2010, seven men were the first Olim (new immigrants) to arrive in Israel from Kaifeng. Six years later, the happiest moment of Li’slife was the arrival of her letter of permission to make Aliyah. As Li now settles into her new life in Israel, she is confident her journey will positively impact her fellow Kaifeng Jews, many of whom take Hebrew language courses and religious studies in preparation for moving to Israel.

Please consider making a contribution to ICEJ’s Aliyah work which assists the Kaifeng Jews who long to come home. They depend on our support! www.icej.org/aliyah





S ons of Manasseh come home!

Biblical prophecies are being fulfilled today, because Christians from around the world are listening to the voice of God.

In the late 1970s a small people group in Northeast India began to research their heritage and origins of their ancient traditions, which led to an ancestral connection to Israel! Under the Persian rule, their ancestors had travelled through the Silk Route of modern day Afghanistan, Tibet, and China, finally settling in India. This group, called the Bnei Menashe (Sons of Manasseh), is believed to be part of one of the lost tribes of Israel.

And now, members of the Bnei Menashe are coming back to their ancestral home in Israel. Your financial contributions provide flights for them to return, just as the Prophet Isaiah foretold: The nations bring Israel’s sons in their arms and carry Israel’s daughters back to their land. (Is 49:22)

The ICEJ is committed to supporting their journey and your financial partnership makes this possible! Support us today to bring Jews home to Israel: www.icej.org/donate/bnei-menashe


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