Australian Branch Team Member
“Behold, these shall come from far; and, behold, these from the north and from the west; and these from the land of Sinim.” Isaiah 49:12
Recent arrivals from the scattered worldwide Jewish family are Chinese Jews. The mention of Sinim in the Bible is thought by many scholars to be China. Over a thousand years ago, Jews travelled the Silk Road as traders and were welcomed by the Chinese Emperor to settle there if they wished. Consequently, many Jewish merchants settled in Kaifeng, one of the Imperial Chinese capitals. At the height of its prosperity in the Middle Ages, the Jewish community boasted a beautiful synagogue and numbered as many as 5,000. But the community assimilated, and by the middle of the 19th century there was no rabbi, and the synagogue and other assets were sold. However, in recent years, the approximately 1,000 identifiable descents of the community began to experience an awakening to their heritage and seek Aliyah to Israel.
Young Chinese Jews are now beginning to take their place in Israeli society as they undertake their army service and study for professions. They are part of the kaleidoscope of nationalities displayed in Israel as the homecoming of Jewish people unfolds.
It is easier for the Chinese Jews to immigrate to Israel now, but in 1999 the very first Chinese family to immigrate needed to make their way by a circuitous route in order to leave the Communist State. ICEJ helped them along the way and supported them in their early days in Israel. Their story is one among many whose return to the Jewish Homeland has been due to ICEJ’s support.
Through the prophet Zephaniah, God makes a wonderful promise in chapter 3 verse 20. In spite of His judgement and the dispersion of the people of Israel, He says, ‘…At that time I will gather you; at that time I will bring you home’.
We are blessed to witness prophecy being fulfilled in our day and be assured of the certainty of God’s promises.