TEAL Exhibitions

Golden Age of the Chinese Jews of Kaifeng: Ming Dynasty (1368-1644)

Ming dynasty is considered the golden age of the Chinese Jews of Kaifeng. They were encouraged to fully engage in public affairs and government services. In 1390, they were granted land and additional privileges by Ming Taizu, Zhu Yuanzhang, the founder of the Ming dynasty. In 1421, one of the Jewish clans was granted by the Imperial decree the surname Zhao and permissions were given by the emperor to rebuild the synagogue. "The number of Jews who passed the imperial examinations also increased dramatically." According to the inscription of the 1489 stele, the Chinese Jews of Kaifeng had been a large group including 17 clans, consisting of 500 households (which would amount to about 2,500 individuals). 

Chinese-Hebrew Memorial Book

Pages from the Chinese-Hebrew Memorial Book which contains a membership list of the Kaifeng Congregation from the time of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). The first five generations of the Kaifeng Jews still used their Hebrew names.

This page shows a list of women’s names. 

Klau Library, Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Chinese-Hebrew Memorial Book

This page shows a list of men’s name.

Klau Library, Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Chinese-Hebrew Memorial Book

This is a page of Haggadah. 

Klau Library, Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Chinese-Hebrew Memorial Book

This is a page of Genesis, which is the first book in the Torah.

Klau Library, Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati, Ohio.

(Contents on this page contain texts derived from The survival of the Chinese Jews: the Jewish community of Kaifeng and The Jews of Kaifeng, China: History, Culture, and Religion, images from Klau Library, Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati, Ohio. For full bibliography information, please refer to the reference page. For single image source and metadata, please click the image.)

Golden Age of the Chinese Jews of Kaifeng: Ming Dynasty (1368-1644)