Nearly two hundred Jews from Asia and around the world will arrive here on April 4 for Destination , a four-day gathering of Jewish learning, creativity, and history in Asia. With sixty educational and cultural workshops, a Shabbat experience, and a day dedicated to ‘s WWII Jewish history and global Jewish responsibility, the event is a project of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (), Limmud China, and avolunteer network of Asian Jewish community leaders. Forty regional young Jewish leaders will attend through a partnership with the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Philanthropic Network. Entwine (‘s young adult movement) is bringing a global cohort of young adult activists as well. Participants come from , , , , , the , and the
‘Destination is a unique opportunity to explore and celebrate what it means to be Jewish in Asia, how we integrate our lives as Jewish expats, navigating between our community and the local culture we are surrounded by. It’s about who we are right now, building a community together and what we want it to be and become,’ Rebecca Kanthor, Program Chair of Limmud China and a resident of China for a decade.
Destination participants will network; boost local, regional, and global ties; and continue the pan-Asian Jewish gathering started at Limmud Beijing in 2012. What and Limmud International started last year as a one-day event in collaboration with a local community, has turned into a full-blown, grassroots, and volunteer-run conference, incorporating peer-led sessions on the Jewish history of and Hong Kong; Jewish/Chinese pickle-making; Creativity in China; the Jews of India; raising third culture Jewish kids; children of Refugees; the relationship between Chinese and Jewish people; and Jewish global development projects.
‘Asia’s fast-growing Jewish population has a talent for home-grown innovation. We’re proud to create an intensive space where Jewish leaders can work together, be creative, and utilize ‘s community development expertise and global connections to strengthen emerging Jewish life in this part of the world,’ said ‘s CEO Alan Gill. ‘We’re especially grateful for the passionate dedication of Limmud China, the local volunteers, and the Schusterman Philanthropic Network’s extraordinary commitment to the young adult leaders of this regional Jewish renaissance.’
The Shabbat will feature worship and celebration with the city’s Chabad, Liberal, and Sephardic Jewish communities. Additionally, the group will also spend a day commemorating the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the Hongkou Ghetto and explore ‘s Jewish population during WWII, including a special sessions by Asian Jewish Life Editor Erica Lyons on hero Laura Margolis (who cared for thousands of Jewish refugees who had escaped the Holocaust in Europe) and a theater performance by Zalman and Avram Mlotek, leading Yiddish theater experts. The full program can be found at:
‘We are excited to partner with Limmud China and to engage talented, creative young Jews in dialogue and learning on topics of local, regional and global significance. As an international hub with a rich Jewish history, is the ideal backdrop to spark new ideas and partnerships that can have a meaningful impact on strengthening Jewish communities across Asia,’ said Sandy Cardin, President of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Philanthropic Network, which will be sharing its network-building expertise with Destination participants.
East Asia ishome to an estimated 20,000 Jews, including many ex-pats as well as those from indigenous Jewish communities. In , about 5-6,000 Jews can be found on the mainland and a little more than 4,000 Jews in . Asia is made up oflong-standing, organized Jewish communities — like those in , , and — and newer, smaller communities of corporate executives, entrepreneurs, managers, diplomats, and teachers in international schools and colleges. Many Jewish organizations have been active in Asia, including Chabad, , Kehilat Beijing, and the Progressive Judaism movement, among others.