18 December 2019 - 21 Kislev 5780 - כ"א כסלו ה' אלפים תש"פ
Historic Community of Tianjin, China Print E-mail

Tianjin, also known as Tientsin, is an urban area, located along the Hai He River. It now ranks as the third largest urban area in modern China, after Shanghai and Beijing.

Today there are still traces of the thriving Jewish community that once called Tianjin home. While this community was much smaller in number than the former communities of cities like Harbin and Shanghai, its accomplishments are truly remarkable.

A news article in the Jewish Times Asia, in April 2007, reported the current controversy over the fate of the former Tianjin Synagogue. The Synagogue was built in 1939 by the Tiajin Jewish Union. After the Jewish community was dispersed, came under the control of the Tiajin Catholic Church. Igud Yotzei Sin (Association of the Former Residents of China) made a formal plea to completely rebuild this crumbling historic landmark. A mere restoration does not seem practical due to the extensive damage that the structure has suffered over the years.

The Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People (CAHJP) hold the archives of hundreds of Jewish communities including original files from the archives of the Jewish community of Tientsin (1920-1957) deposited by Igud Yotzei Sin. The archives include a number of documents and photographs of Jewish institutions and prominent community members in Tientsin. The CAHJP is located on the Giv’at Ram Campus of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

Additionally, a few of the former residents of the Jewish community of Tiajin have published their personal memoirs. One notable published novel is China Dreams: Growing Up Jewish in Tientsin by Isabelle Zimmerman Maynard.


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