03 May 2010

Kaifeng: Shi Lei's US lecture tour begins

Shi Lei, a descendant of one of the original Kaifeng Jewish families, is now on a US speaking tour sponsored by Kulanu..

Tracing the Tribe encourages readers who live in or near the communities where he will speak to attend the program.

Wooden model, Kaifeng Synagogue
Beit Hatefutsot-Museum of the Jewish People, Tel Aviv

He's already spoken in Maryland and he'll also be in New York, Massachusetts, Illinois, Texas, Ontario, California, Georgia and New Jersey.

In his talk, Shi Lei discusses the history of this unique community, presents a slideshow and information on his community's origins, how they preserved their identity under near-impossible circumstances and centuries of isolation isolated from the mainstream Jewish world.

Above right is the wooden model of the ancient Kaifeng Synagogue at Beit Hatefutsoth-Museum of the Jewish People, Tel Aviv.

He discusses Jewish traditions preserved through the centuries. It's not all about the past, as he talks about the young people of his community and their desire to learn more about their origins; 18 are now studying in Israel and several have made aliyah.

A graduate of China's Henan University, Shi Lei studied Jewish history and religion at Israel's Bar Ilan University (2001-2002) and spent two more years at Jerusalem's Machon Meir Yeshiva. He now works as a national tour guide, providing private and group tours to Jewish sites in China. The New York Times Travel Section recently called him “licensed, charming and experienced.”

For more information, click here or here or view Kulanu’s slide show on the history of the Kaifeng Jews.

The remainder of Shi Lei's tour includes:

Visit the links above for more information on Kulanu, its activities and to donate to the organization in support of those activities.
Monday, May 3, 7.30pm
Jewish Community Center of the North Shore, Marblehead, Massachusetts

Tuesday, May 4 8pm
Beth Hillel Cong. Bnai Emunah, Wilmette, Illinois

Wednesday,May 5, 7.30pm
Congregation Agudath Jacob, Waco, Texas

Friday, May 7, 6.15pm
Congregation B’nai Zion, El Paso, Texas

Monday, May 10, 7.30pm
JCC/Ansche Chesed, New York City

Wednesday, May 12, 7pm
Temple Isaiah, Lexington, Massachusetts

Thursday, May 13, afternoon
Taping, Israel Today TV interview, Toronto, Canada

Thursday, May 13, 7pm
Darchei Noam, Toronto, Canada

Monday, May 17, 7pm
Temple Adat Shalom, Poway, California

Tuesday, May 18, 3pm
Taping, Jewish Life TV interview, Encino, California

Tuesday, May 18, 8pm
Pasadena Jewish Temple and Center, Pasadena, California

Wednesday, May 19, 6pm
Tustin, California

Friday, May 21, 7pm
Saturday, May 22, 10am
Mickve Israel, Savannah, Georgia

Sunday, May 23, 10.30am
Temple Beth Tikvah, Wayne, New Jersey

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