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Descendants of Chinese Jews arrive in Israel

Some of the seven descendants of the ancient Jewish community of Kaifeng, China, arriving in Israel at Ben Gurion Airport, Oct. 20, 2009. The descendants, who were brought by the Shavei Israel organization, were issued one-year entry permits. (Michael Freund)

Some of the seven descendants of the ancient Jewish community of Kaifeng, China, arriving in Israel at Ben Gurion Airport, Oct. 20, 2009. The descendants, who were brought by the Shavei Israel organization, were issued one-year entry permits. (Michael Freund)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A group of descendants from an ancient Chinese Jewish community moved to Israel.

The seven young adults, all descendants of the Jewish community of Kaifeng, arrived last week in Israel on one-year entry permits.

They will study Hebrew at a kibbutz ulpan and then undergo conversion to Judaism, according to Michael Freund, founder of the Shavei Israel organization, which brought the group to Israel.

"This is an historic event," Freund said. "Kaifeng’s Jewish descendants are a living link between China and the Jewish people, and it is very moving to see the remnants of this community returning to their roots."

An estimated 1,000 Jewish descendants are living in Kaifeng.
 

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