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In Search of a Jewish Story in China14-Days

Escorted by internationally-published writer:
Irene Shaland


Beijing
Harbin Beijing Dunhuang (Gobi Desert) Kaifeng Luoyang Shanghai

Join internationally-published art and travel writer Irene Shaland on a unique journey through six cities and 2,000-year history of Jewish life in China. Did you know that there are two Jewish stories in China: the Jews in China and the Jews of China? What do the most anti-Semitic of Russian Tsars, a railroad, a Chinese fishing village, and Russian-Yiddish culture have in common? Would you like to learn the secrets of the Gobi Desert and the Silk Road leading to the discovery of the oldest existing Jewish prayer? Join us on this unforgettable trip.

  • Experience the best of historical and contemporary China with an expert-designed unique itinerary
  • Travel with an intimate small group of like-minded travelers
  • See parts of the country not covered by most group tours
  • Become an explorer and historical sleuth when searching for Jewish  stories in China
  • Gain a deeper understanding of the global Jewish identity
  • Meet with people who trace their Jewish ancestry to the first Jewish settlers from the 11th century
  •  Enjoy exciting and thought-provoking lectures and talks

 

Day 1: June 29, 2015: Your Home Country / Beijing
Depart independently for Beijing, China.

Day 2: June 30:  Beijing
Arrive at Beijing Capital International Airport.
You will be met and assisted by our representatives.
 Transfer to hotel for rest and buffet dinner

After dinner program: slide show and lecture: “Jews in China and Jews of China – in search of a Jewish story 

Overnight: Crowne Plaza Beijing Hotel / Hotel by the airport

Day 3: July 1: Beijing/Harbin (B / L)
Breakfast at the hotel.  Transfer to airport from hotel at 06:30

Take the flight to Harbin. Upon arrival, transfer to local restaurant for lunch.

City tour in the afternoon “Discovering Russian-Yiddish Culture of Harbin: A unique page in Chinese history”

Dinner on your own: restaurant will be recommended by our local guide who will assist you in ordering your dinner (i.e., historic Huameixi Restaurant)

 After dinner at the hotel: Harbin talks

Overnight: Jewish Historic Modern Hotel , Harbin / Shangri-la La Hotel, Harbin

Day 4: July 2 :  Harbin (B/L)
Breakfast at the hotel.

Continue exploration of Jewish history in Harbin and Harbin-Russian connections
.

  • Visit the Church of St. Sofia Museum of Harbin: the architecture was  strongly influenced by European Jews’ tastes
  • Stroll the streets lined with European- style buildings
  • Subject to availability: visit to Harbin Jewish Research Center for conversation with historians
  • Learn the stories of old Harbin:  fishing village turned “City of Music;”  persecution of Jews by the Russian Fascist Party  and life under Japanese occupation in the 1930s; kidnapping and murder of Simeon Kaspe, a world-renowned young pianist; and many others stories
  • Visit  one of the largest and best preserved  Jewish cemeteries in Asia with its 600-plus graves

Lunch at local restaurant

  • Visit the beautiful Stalin Park, an evidence of the close relationship between two communist powers, then see the Flood Monument built to commemorate the effort of Harbin to control massive disastrous floods

Dinner on your own: restaurant will be recommended by local guide who will assist you in ordering your dinner

 After dinner talk at the hotel: Getting ready for Beijing: Jews in medieval and modern Beijing; Cultural and spiritual influences on the evolution of Judaism in China

Overnight: Jewish Historic Modern Hotel, Harbin / Shangri-la La Hotel, Harbin

Day 5: July 3: Harbin/Beijing (B/L)
Breakfast at the hotel.

Transfer to airport for flying to Beijing.  Upon arrival, transfer to local restaurant for lunch

Afternoon tour: Temples of Beijing – Spiritual foundations of Chinese civilization

Learn about Taoism, Confucianism, and Chinese Tibetan-style Buddhism when visiting:

  • Most important Taoist Temple in the World (8th cent)– philosophy and architecture of Taoism; Taoist cosmos
  • Major Confucian Temple (1302) -  Confucianism: religion,  way of life, or philosophy of government?
  • Tibetan Lama Temple – understanding Chinese Buddhism

-  Dinner on your own: restaurant will be recommended by local guide who will assist you in ordering your dinner

Overnight: Crowne Plaza Beijing Hotel

Day 6: July 4 : Beijing (B/L)
Breakfast at the hotel.

  • Visit of Temple of Heaven (1533) – Not a temple in the traditional sense but rather a Confucian park and a vast stage for rituals performed by the Emperor-

Lunch at local restaurant

  • Visit of Forbidden City where we continue exploration of Imperial China from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) to the last Emperor (1911)
  • Subject to availability: meet a nephew of the last Emperor, a calligraphy expert
  • Meet Jewish Beijing of today and learn about Kehillat Beijing - a lay-led Jewish community formed in 1979
  • Attend Sabbath service and dinner there (paid on your own 140 RMB or $30.00 per person)

Overnight: Crowne Plaza Beijing Hotel

Day 7: July 5: Beijing / Dunhuang (B)
Breakfast at the hotel.

Transfer to airport. Fly to Dunhuang via Xi'an.
(The flight will stop at Xi’an airport where you can have a lunch on your own). Change planes for Dunhuang.

Upon arrival, transfer to hotel for rest.

Dinner on your own with the help of your local guide: Dunhuang hotel is located in downtown Dunhuang: 2 minute walk from hotel to Local Night Market (famous Food Street)

After dinner talk at the hotel: Surprises of the Gobi Desert:  Jewish Story of the Silk Road – The Oldest Jewish prayer ever found – The best collection of Buddhist temple sculptures in the world

Overnight: Silk Road Dunhuang / Grand Soluxe Hotel

Day 8: July 5: Dunhuang (B/L)
Breakfast at the hotel.

Exploring the Silk Road

  • Understanding the Silk Road and its origins, both in trade and in geography: this road used to extend from Europe through Egypt, to Somalia and the Arabian Peninsula, Iran, Afghanistan, and Central Asia to Sri Lanka, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Burma, Java-Indonesia, and Vietnam until it reached China. 
    Why? What were the commercial drivers for this phenomenon?
    What were the cultural outcomes? How do the Jews come into this story?
  • You will learn all this and much more during our tour of Dunhuang and nearby points of interest.
  • Visit of Singing Sand Mountain and Crescent Lake

Lunch at local restaurant

In the afternoon: Visit of Dunhuang Grottoes, the best collection of Buddhist art in the world, and Grottoes Research Center

Dinner on your own: restaurant will be recommended by local guide who will assist you in ordering your dinner

Overnight: Silk Road Dunhuang Hotel / Grand Soluxe

Day 9: July 6: Dunhuang / Xi’an / Zhengzhou / Kaifeng (B)
Breakfast at the hotel.

Transfer to airport. Fly to Xi’an. Lunch at the Xi’an airport on your own. Change planes for Zhengzhou.

Trip from Zhengzhou to Kaifeng in a comfortable tour bus.
Arrival to Century Grand Hotel in Kaifeng for rest.

Dinner on your own: restaurant will be recommended by local guide who will assist you in ordering your dinner

 After dinner talk at the hotel: The Jews of China - Kaifeng and Luoyang - History and Stories - The Dao of Being Jewish

Overnight: New Century Grand Hotel Kaifeng 

 Day 10 : July 7: Kaifeng/ Luoyang (B/L)
Breakfast at the hotel.

Exploring Kaifeng: 
Kaifeng served seven dynasties as a capital and became one of the world’s largest cities during the Northern Song dynasty (10th to 13th century). This is when the Jewish merchants, mostly from India, came to Kaifeng and established it as one of the thriving centers of Jewish culture. They built the Great Synagogue in 1163.
Today, Kaifeng is a must for Jewish history pilgrims. However, to learn about the Jews of China you will not find any guidebook to provide you with a ready-made itinerary. You have to come to Kaifeng to find and meet them, and listen to their stories.

  • Meet Esther, a Kaifeng Jew, whose family was charged with “facility management’ of the great Synagogue for almost 800 years
  • Visit of Esther’s house in the historic Jewish neighborhood and museum she established
  • Be treated to a quick kosher lunch while listening to Esther’s stories
  • Visit the Kaifeng Museum to see ancient stone stellaes that used to stand by the Synagogue – learn the stories told by stones
  • The Story of Mr. Jin and His Family Tomb
  • Meet Mr. Jin and learn the story of his family going back to the 11th century
  • Visit the oldest Jewish cemetery in China and Mr. Jin’s memorial to his ancestors

Driving to Luoyang in the late afternoon. Upon arrival, transfer to hotel for rest.

After dinner talk at the hotel: What happened to the Jews of Kaifeng? Why did they disappear, or did they? How do you understand the Dao of being Jewish and the sense of Jewish identity in the West? 

Overnight: Mudu-Lee Royal Hotel

Day 11: July 8: Luoyang/Shanghai (B/L/D)
Breakfast at the hotel.

Exploring Luoyang:
Luoyang is one of China’s greatest ancient capitals since the Zhou Dynasty (770 BC) and  an important stop on the Silk Road. Some historians consider Luoyang the earliest of Jewish permanent settlements in China. Learn about Palmyrian style Hebrew and how it proves that the Jews were already established in Luoyang in the 3rd century AD. 

  • See the Luoyang ancient city walls
  • Visit the Longmen Grottoes, another great site on the Silk Road with exceptional Buddhist sculptures
  • Tour the Luoyang Museum and see its great collection of Chinese art
  • Discover the proof of Jewish presence expressed in art going back to the Tang dynasty (6-7th century AD.)

Lunch and dinner at local restaurants included

In the evening, we will fly to Shanghai. Upon arrival, transfer to hotel for rest.

After dinner talk at the hotel : Getting ready for Shanghai : Learn its fascinating stories: gangs, opium dens and brilliant glamour; Chiang Ka-shek’s coup and the communists; Two-Gun Moishe and his role in China’s history; plus many a Jewish story that are an integral part of this fascinating city, not like any other in China 

Overnight: Seagull Hotel on the Bund / The Jinjiang Hotel

Day 12 : July 9 & Day 13 : July 10: Shanghai
(both days: B / L)
 
Breakfast at the hotel.

Our two days in Shanghai are dedicated to both the extensive exploration of Jewish stories and immersion into this great city with no illustrious past but with a fascinating present and brilliant future.

Part I: Jewish Shanghai 

Highlights include:

  • Learn about the three waves of Jewish immigration to Shanghai and the way the Jews of Europe influence Chinese medicine, music, and culture in general; a story of Shanghai as a safe haven during the Holocaust
  • Visit the former Ohel Rachel Synagogue, one of the first places of warship built by the illustrious Baghdadi community
  • Explore the Shanghai Jewish Refugee Museum
  • Visit the former Shanghai Ghetto and see the Memorial to refugees in Huoshan park
  • See Russian Jewish Clubs, headquarters of the Zionist movement and music centers
  • Visit (outside) Jewish Hospitals and learn about the influence of the European Jews on the development of Chinese modern medicine
  • See the splendor of the palaces built by rich Jewish businessmen and philanthropists as their residences

Part II: Modern Shanghai- China’s most dynamic and energetic city

Highlights include:

  • Walk the Bund, Shanghai’s most popular promenade
  • Visit Nanshi Old City and French Concession
  • Explore Jade Buddha temple
  • Walk through Yuyuan bazaar and People’s Square
  • Visit Zhujiajiao, a traditional water village (time permitting) and take a ride through its main canal on a sampa, a traditional wooden boat

Overnight: Seagull on the Bund Hotel / Jinjiang Hotel

After dinner talk at the hotel: What are the key lessons we take from China’s Jewish Story? How do we understand acculturation vs. assimilation?

Day 14 : July 14: Shanghai/US (B)
Breakfast at the hotel.

Transfer to airport.
Depart independently on your onward journey.


DEPARTURE Date:
JUNE 29, 2015

- Highlights include:

  • Be treated to a unique tour of Jewish Harbin
  • Explore Beijingoff the beaten path:   Taoists, Confucian, and BuddhistTemples
  • Learn about the spiritual foundations of the Chinese Civilization
  • Celebrate Shabbat with Kehillat Beijing
  • Visit the GobyDesert and learn about its connection to Jewish history
  • Explore Dunhuang, a major stop on the Silk Road, and its MogaoCaves with the best collection of Buddhist sculptures
  • Walk the streets of Kaifeng, a capital for seven dynasties and a must for Jewish history pilgrims
  • Learn about the Jews of Kaifeng, meet them in person, and hear their stories
  • Visit the oldest Jewish cemetery in China and the house of the Great Synagogue’s custodian
  • Discover little-known art treasures in the LuoyangMuseum: possible proof of the early Jewish presence in China
  • Immerse yourself in the multi-layered little known history of Jewish Shanghai

 

Prices with Deluxe listed Hotels:
In Search of a Jewish Story in China Price Per Person
Double ccupancy
Tour Price
(Land Only)
$ 5995.00
Single Room Supp. $ 1990.00
Airfare: Please Call

Competitive International airfares are available upon request.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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