BEIJING (JTA) – The following are key dates in Chinese Jewish history:
1920 Ohel Rachel Synagogue is established in Shanghai (still standing).
1928-49 The first Lubavitch rabbi in China, Meir Ashkenazi, leads Shanghai’s Congregation Ohel Moshe. Built in 1927, Ohel Moshe is now the site of the Shanghai Jewish Refugee Museum.
1938-45 20,000 Jewish refugees from Germany and Austria escape to Shanghai.
1939-40 Approximately 1,000 Polish Jews escape to Shanghai, including about 400 teachers and students of the Mir Yeshiva.
1941-45 Japanese occupying powers intern recent Jewish immigrants from Allied countries in Hongkou ghetto for “stateless refugees.”
1949 Communists win civil war; by now most of 24,000 Shanghai Jews and other Jewish populations across the country leave China.
1978 Deng Xiaoping announces China’s “open door policy” with the West.
1980 First community seder in Beijing is led by founders of the liberal Kehillat Beijing minyan.
1992 Israel and China establish diplomatic relations.
1995 Kehillat Beijing begins regular Friday night services in permanent home, Beijing’s Capital Club.
Oct 25, 1996 The first community bar mitzvah is held in Beijing for Ari Lee, the son of community founders Elyse Silverberg and Michael Lee.
1998 The “Jewish Shanghai” guided tour begins; it is currently being run by Israeli journalist Dvir Bar-Gal (www.shanghai-jews.com)
September 1999 In Shanghai, a Jewish New Year service is held at the Ohel Rachel Synagogue for the first time since 1952, when the synagogue was closed.
2001 Chabad opens its first center in Beijing.
2006 Beijing mikvah Mei Tovah opens.
2007 Beijing opens its first kosher restaurant, Dini’s (www.kosherbeijing.com)
May 2008 Israel donates 90 tons of medical supplies, more than $1 million, for Sichuan earthquake relief.