Monument Proves Existence of Jews in China

In 1489, the descendants of a group of Jewish merchants who travelled to Kaifeng, China, left evidence of their existance on a stone marker now displayed in the Municipal Museum of Kaifeng. "You have come to our China. Respect and preserve the customs of your ancestors, and hand them down here in Pien-liang [Kaifeng]." These were the words of the Chinese emperor to a group of Jewish travellers from the Middle East when they arrived in the city of Kaifeng. Centuries later, their descendants incribed the words on a marker placed in the courtyard of their synagogue.

Today there are several hundred residents of the area who claim ancestry with the original settlers. Even though they have no religious affiliation, remnants still exist such as "The Lane of the Sect That Teaches the Scriptures," a street where some of these descendants now live.

Michael Pollack's website, "The Jews of Kaifeng," looks at this small pocket of Judaism in China.