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Guided Tour of Shanghai and its Jewish History - 4 days/ 3 nights

 

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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.

 

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The tour can be conducted in English or Hebrew.

 

ITINERARY 

 

Day 1      Arrive Shanghai

 

Met on arrival and transfer to the hotel of your choice.

 

Depending on your arrival time, 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’. 

 

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 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, 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.

 

Day 2       Shanghai

 

Starting at 0930, the guide will meet you at your hotel. The morning arrangement will enable you to see the old and the new parts of the city.

 

Commence the tour with a visit to the Yu Yuan Gardens, with its wonderful old buildings and statues.

 

Taking you through old Shanghai’s alley-ways and back-streets (through two antique markets and an animal market) to the new area of Xin Tien Di, this tour visits places that most tourists do not get to see however most interesting and authentic.

 

Return to your hotel around 1300.

 

Afternoon at leisure.

 

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Day 3      Shanghai

 

This tour, called Faster Bigger Better, starts at your hotel and takes you to the highest places and on the fastest train journey that is available in China.

 

Starting with a visit to the tallest building, you can visit the viewing galleries of this magnificent skyscraper. It is a slim, glass structure that soars 1,600 feet high and has some 101 storeys. Its most significant feature is the big, square hole near the top, as if the building doubles as a giant bottle opener.  This structure was designed and built by a Japanese company and is called the World Financial Centre

 

The viewing galleries start at the square hole towards the top of the building and continue to the top of the structure.

  

This is followed by a trip on the engineering marvel that is the “Maglev” (magnetic levitation) train, which “floats” on a magnetic cushion and then uses reverse polarity of the magnetic fields to propel it swiftly and silently over its tracks. It reaches a speed of 450km per hour. It is a unique experience to travel on this great engineering feat. On average, the 30 Km route takes just 7 minutes 20 seconds to complete.

 

Return to the city for a climb over one of the arches of the Lupu Bridge, from where you get a great view of the  Shanghai Expo site.

 

You will be return to your hotel around 1300.

 

Afternoon at leisure.

 

Day 4     Depart Shanghai

 

Transfer to the airport.

 

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

  

This suggested itinerary can be adjusted to suit your own requirements and can be combined with other arrangements in Shanghai or elsewhere in China.