12 Oct Shavei Israel publishes first ever holiday guide in Chinese
Shavei Israel has expanded its popular Na’aseh Venishma series of booklets on Jewish tradition and law to Chinese. Our first ever booklet for the Jewish community in Kaifeng, China, is now in print – and it arrived just in time for the High Holy Days.
The latest Na’aseh Venishma booklet, which started with publications in the Kuki and Mizo languages for the Bnei Menashe in India, covers the period from the Hebrew month of Elul through the holiday of Yom Kippur. Elul is marked by the blowing of the Shofar and the recitation of Selichot (penitential) poems and prayers, as the month leads into Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. All of this is covered in the new booklet.
The 66-page book, which is available also as an eBook, is filled with stories, historical background, liturgical poems, holiday traditions and customs. Plus there are plenty of festival pictures interspersed throughout. (Can you say, “Dip the apple in the honey” in Mandarin?)
The booklet was translated into Chinese by Yaakov Wang, a Kaifeng Jew who Shavei Israel helped make aliyah in 2009 and who has said he wants to be the first “Chinese Rabbi” in 200 years, and Eran Barzilay, Shavei Israel’s coordinator for the Kaifeng Jewish community.
Shavei Israel Chairman Michael Freund wrote an introduction to the new booklet. Here’s what he had to say:
Shavei Israel is pleased to present this brief guide in Chinese – the first of its kind! – to the laws and customs of the High Holidays, that special period on the Jewish calendar that encompasses Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur and which is preceded by the month of Elul.
Its publication is part of Shavei Israel’s ongoing efforts to reach out to the Chinese Jews of Kaifeng, China, and assist them with their return to the Jewish people. Repentance and return are two of the primary themes of this part of the year, when each of us is called upon to examine our deeds and improve ourselves and our relationships with others, while also seeking to come closer to the Creator.
It is in this spirit that Shavei Israel has published this booklet. We are aware of the great efforts being made by the Jewish descendants of Kaifeng, China, to uphold the ways of their ancestors and live a Jewish life. Their striving to return to Israel, the Land of their ancestors, is an inspiring example of seeking out one’s roots and embracing our collective destiny. We believe it is our responsibility to help the Chinese Jews of Kaifeng to fulfill their dream, which is ultimately our dream as well.
It is our hope that this book will enable the Chinese Jews to gain a better understanding of our eternal faith. And in the merit of accepting G-d’s sovereignty on Rosh Hashanah, and cleansing ourselves of our sins on Yom Kippur, may we soon witness the return of all our people to our Land.
There are more booklets planned for the Na’aseh Venishma series. Whether in Mizo, Kuki, Mandarin, Polish, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Russian or English, Shavei Israel has you covered. If you’d like to help sponsor this important and growing collection of Jewish educational booklets, please visit our website and make your donation today.