China Orientations brings you the millennia-old story of Jewish life in China. Through exciting talks, cultural orientations and mini courses, China Orientations prepares you and your organization for the thousand-year-old journey of a lifetime.
The 10th century Sephardi Jewish traders from Persia and India who traveled along the Silk Road and landed in Kaifeng, then the capital Tang Dynasty China, could scarcely have imagined they would become the stuff of legend, and that all these centuries later their story would be told.
China Orientations retraces their steps and goes beyond, taking you from the ancient Jewish community of Kaifeng, to 19th century opium traders from India, to Russian Jews fleeing the pogroms of the 1920s, and finally to thousands of European Jews who fled Nazi Germany during WWII.
No trip to China is complete without a stroll along the Bund, Shanghai's beautiful riverfront, and a walk past the many iconic architectural landmarks for which Shanghai is known today. Built by the Hardoons, the Sassoons, and the Kadoories -- Sephardi Jewish traders who came to China to make their fortune -- these landmarks are testaments to the Jewish contributions which set the stage for the economic juggernaut that is Shanghai today.
China Orientations brings you their story, prepares you for the journey, and inspires by bringing a thousand years of Chinese Jewish history to life.
Dr. Wendy Abraham has lived, traveled, studied and worked in the People's Republic of China and Taiwan since the 1980s. A leading expert on the Chinese Jews of Kaifeng, she has given exciting, educational and inspirational talks on Jewish life in China at synagogues, universities, museums and cultural organizations throughout the United States for over thirty years.
In 1985 she gathered oral histories of the oldest generation of Chinese Jewish descendants in Kaifeng -- the last generation to have witnessed first-hand Jewish religious observances and traditions in the early 20th century. For contacting people who did not officially exist, she was detained by the Public Security Police and forced to write a confession in Chinese before being released. She spirited the tapes out of China on a five-day overland journey on the Trans-Siberian Railroad taking her through Mongolia, Siberia, and the Gobi Desert. These rare tapes were later donated to the Sino-Judaic Archives at Stanford University. A blue roof tile from the last synagogue in Kaifeng, was likewise donated to the Museum of the Jewish Diaspora in Tel Aviv.
Dr. Abraham holds a Bachelor's degree in East Asian Studies from Hunter College, a Master's degree in Chinese Language from Georgetown University, Master's and Doctoral degrees in International Educational Development from Teachers College, Columbia University, and a PhD/ABD in Chinese from Stanford University.
She has conducted post-graduate research on Shang Dynasty oracle bones and bronze inscriptions in Taiwan, directed Chinese language programs in Beijing and Shanghai, and taught courses on Chinese language, literature, history, and culture at universities throughout the United States. Creator and director of Jewish Historical Tours of China, Dr. Abraham is a founding Board member and the current Vice President of the Sino-Judaic Institute.
In addition to numerous articles and book chapters on the Chinese Jews and travel to Kaifeng, she is also the proud author of Chinese for Dummies. Chinese Phrases for Dummies, and Chinese Character Writing for Dummies.