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Jewish Community in Communist China on Verge of Liquidation

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The organized Jewish community in Communist China will cease to exist within a few years, if the number of Jews there continues to decline at the present rate, it is indicated in a report received here today from the Council of the Jewish Community of Shanghai.

The report, received by the World Jewish Congress in New York, was prepared and is signed by P.I. Yudalevich, chairman of the Shanghai Jewish Community Council. If says that today, there are only 251 Jews in the entire country. A year ago the Jewish community of China numbered 294; in 1957 it was 397. In the 40’s there were more than 25,000 Jews on the Chinese mainland. Migration took most of them to Israel. Britain, the U.S. and other lands.

The report records not only the numerical decline but also the general difficulties facing the community. Describing what he terms “the degenerating financial condition” of the majority of the 72 Jews remaining in Shanghai, Mr. Yudalevich reports that two-thirds were on relief in June of this year. In addition, more than 20 persons were receiving three meals daily at the community’s shelter house.

The Shanghai Council has extended its help to the diminishing Jewish community of Tientsin, whose own central communal body recently dissolved. There are only 26 Jews left in Tientsin, and 15 of them are receiving regular monthly relief grants from Shanghai. Help towards medical expenses to also being accorded to the tiny Tientsin community.

Harbin, with 153 Jews, remains the largest community in China, and its Community Council continues to carry out its functions independently. This community also maintains a shelter house, in which 14 persons are fully taken care of. Harbin still has its own synagogue with regular services and, as in Shanghai, matzoth were baked and distributed to the community prior to last Passover.

For last Passover, the Chinese Food Administration Bureau, according to the report, allotted wheat flour for matzoth which “were prepared with due regard to our religious requirements” and were distributed free to the needy Jews of the community.

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