The Jews and the Far East



In the past millennia or so, why did so many Jewish people end up in Europe (and eventually North America) and settling there instead of the East like the Orient? Did Jews prefer the Western cultures or lands over the East was it just pure coincidence or circumstances?

Why did history turn out that way? As someone of Far East Asian descent who admires Jewish culture, it saddens me a little there isn’t much Jewish history in China, Korea, Japan compared to Europe like Germany, France, Italy, Ukraine, Russia, Lithuania, Poland, etc.



  1. I think that it was combination of distance and culture. For many years, the Jewish communities were centered around the Middle East. With all many upheavals and exiles of the Jews throughout history, the Jews tended to move into the next country along that would grant them sanctuary.

    According to some historians, there were Jews living in China already a thousand years ago. They were mostly merchants who worked the along the Silk Road. There was also an established Jewish community in Kaifeng in the eighteen hundreds. Fascinatingly, along with all the other quirks of Jewish history, with the Jews wandering the globe looking for a place to live peacefully, there was actually a Jewish community in the very early twentieth century in Manchuria, which was established by Jews who had left Russia and the pogroms.

    The most famous “moment” in the Jewish history of the Far East took place during the Second World War. According to historical records approximately twenty thousand Jews fleeing the Holocaust found refuge in Shanghai, where they stayed until the end of the war.

    Best wishes from the Team