Cantor visits Shanghai shul, touts religious freedom


WASHINGTON (JTA) — Rep. Eric Cantor, the House of Representatives majority leader, visited a synagogue in China on the same day he appealed for more religious freedoms in the country.

Cantor (R-Va.), the most senior Jewish official in the U.S. government and the sole Republican Jewish member of the Congress, toured Ohel Rachel in Shanghai and spoke with its rabbi on Saturday, the French news agency AFP reported in a story redistributed by Cantor’s office.

Ohel Rachel is only open to the city’s small Jewish community, made up mainly of expatriates, on the High Holidays.

Cantor told AFP that he plans to ask Chinese officials in Washington to allow regular access to the synagogue.

“Religion is something that’s constitutionally protected for us, and we want to be able to promote that as a human right across the world.” Cantor told AFP. “I think it’s a legitimate issue, and I look forward to hopefully being able to meet with the Chinese when I’m back in Washington to make the case for religious freedom.”

Cantor was leading a delegation of eight Republicans, including a number of committee chairs, and one Democrat on an Asia tour that included stops in Japan and South Korea as well as China.

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