Chinese Jewish wedding &mdash halachic and historical

jerusalem | A journey that began nearly a thousand years ago ended recently in Jerusalem as Shlomo and Dina Jin, of Kai Feng, China, were joined in matrimony according to Jewish law.

The two have been married as non-Jews for about two decades they tied the knot again, this time as newly converted Jews. Their daughter, Shalva, converted to Judaism over a year ago and has managed to complete national service.

The couple were to settle down in Israel’s capital.

The Jins’ ancestors belong to the lost Jewish community of China that ceased to exist in the 19th century as a result of assimilation and intermarriage, which started just a few decades after the last rabbi of the community passed away.

Jewish traders, travelers of the silk route, arrived in Kai Feng and established a synagogue in 1163. About 5,000 lived there through the mid-1800s. To this day about 500 descendants of the community live in Kai Feng.

“They still maintain a strong Jewish identity but during the communist regime all traces of Jewish rites and customs were abandoned,” said Michael Freund, chairman of Shavei Israel, an organization dedicated to “reconnecting lost Jews” who have a historical connection with Judaism, like the descendants of the conversos of Spain.