The new Jewish center has opened in Shanghai, the first of its kind in China in 50 years.
On June 16th 2006 the new Jewish center opened in Shanghai, the first of its kind in China in 50 years. Israel’s Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar and other rabbis visit the 86-year-old Ohel Rachel Synagogue. Shanghai’s Rabbi Shalom Greenberg, originally from Brooklyn, was speaking at the dedication of the new Jewish center. A scribe writes the last letters in a Torah. The letters were auctioned to help raise money for the new Jewish center.
Booming economy fuels Chabad’s explosive growth in China , June 15, 2006
By Larry Luxner
At present (2006), seven Chabad houses serve this rapidly growing community: two in Hong Kong and one each in Beijing, Shanghai, Pudong, Shenzhen and Guangzhou.
In early May (2006), Beijing inaugurated its first new mikveh since World War II. In fact, the mikveh — located within the new 10,000-square-foot Rohr Family Chabad Community Center of Beijing — is the first mikveh in the Forbidden City’s history. And last week, Chabad officially dedicated its new Shanghai Jewish Center in the presence of Avtzon and 200 invited guests. Among them were Uri Gutman, (in 2006) Israel’s consul-general in Shanghai, U.S. Consul General Kenneth Jarett and the chief Sephardic rabbi of Israel, Shlomo Amar.
The Shanghai Jewish Center, in operation since 2003, is actually a large villa located within a gated community off busy Hong Qiao Road. It boasts a synagogue, mikveh, preschool and six classrooms. The Jewish boys and girls learning there come from such diverse countries as Chile, France, Israel and South Africa. The center’s new name, Ohel Yisroel, was chosen by two major benefactors: Georges Bohbot and Max Azria. A third philanthropist, George Rohr, was instrumental in funding the Shanghai center, as well as the new synagogue in Beiing.
“This was the first Chabad house in mainland China,” says the center’s director, Rabbi Shalom Greenberg, noting that at least 50,000 Jews visit Shanghai every year. “Ninety percent of the Jews who come to China come not because they fall in love with Chinese culture, but because there are opportunities.”