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Half Day Tour of Jewish Shanghai

 This is an add-on itinerary for those visiting Shanghai.

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Shanghai has for the most part been the melting pot of China, known since China was opened up for international trade as being an international hub and it has served as a target destination for waves of immigrants throughout history. The Jewish population in Shanghai increased over the past two centuries, starting with the arrival of the Sephardic Jews in the 1840’s, to the arrival of the Russian Jews at the turn of the 20th century. The 1930’s found a third wave of Jewish immigrants flooding to Shanghai as they fled from Hitler’s Germany and his domination of most of Europe, to what was notably one of the only cities anywhere willing to accept and shelter them.

 

If you’re interested in the history of Jews in Shanghai,the Ohel Moshe Synagogue, otherwise known as Moxi Huitang, is a must. The building is no longer an active synagogue, but is now a museum dedicated to educating visitors about the history of the Jewish population particularly in the city of Shanghai. There are many other Jewish synagogues throughout the city that you can be visited and you’ll be surprised to learn the big impact which the Jewish population has had on the city’s culture.

 

The Tour starts at The Peace Hotel and takes about four and a half hours.

 

ITINERARY 

 

The tour can be conducted in English or Hebrew.

 

Starting at 0930, the tour will begin at the Sir Victor Sasoon built Peace Hotel, As the former Cathay Hotel’, this luxurious building epitomised the era when Shanghai was known as the ‘Paris of the East’.

 Jewish Refugee Museum

The tour takes you to the district of  Hong Kou, known as the Shanghai ghetto. From February 1943, the Japanese forced nearly 20,000 Jewish refugees to live in a small area in the over- crowded Hong Kou district. The place became a ghetto where both Jews and Chinese shared years of hardship. Today this poor neighborhood of Shanghai still  holds much of its 1940’s character.

 

Walking through the former ghetto, you will see many of the interesting buildings of old, including  among others, the Monument, the Ohel Moishe Synagogue and museum and the Chinese (former Jewish refugee) home.

 

The Ohel Rachel Synagogue, (pictured above) built by the Sassoon family in 1920 is a majestic building,  but is not open to the public.

  

With special prior arrangement, this tour offers the only opportunity for access to the synagogue. The World Monuments Fund has added the synagogue to the 2002 Watch List of 100 Most Endangered Sites.  

 

The tour includes the services of a Jewish Historian/Guide, transportation costs, entrance fees and a donation to a Jewish charity.