China Judaic Studies Association
FACULTY APPOINTMENT:The Glazer Institute of Jewish Studies at Nanjing University eagerly awaits its newest appointee. Zhenhua Meng (Hebrew name Jeremiah), a Ph.D. from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, was officially hired in by the University in January.
Dr. Meng, a highly promising young scholar with formal training on Jewish studies, was born in Shanghai in 1981. After high school graduation from Nanjing Foreign Language School (as an English major), he continued at Peking University (the only university in China then offering a Hebrew program) as one of only nine students accepted in the program.
Before graduation, he received a one-year scholarship to study at
the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. As a student of Hebrew, he had
passed Level Vav (the highest level in Ulpan) in Modern Hebrew prior to
Dr, Meng will certainly be an asset to the Institute faculty.
Xu Xin’s dream has come true with the establishment of the Glazer center, fulfilled by the donations from the Glazer family and the contributions of many other charitable trusts and individuals (many from the Chicago area).
As members of the Friend family, Tracy, Lynn and I were thrilled to be there on a most spiritually gratifying 10-day pilgrimage that was bracketed by two contrasting but equally uplifting Shabbat services (Reform in Beijing and Chabad in Shanghai), and highlighted by the Dedication of the Institute.
The celebration opened late Monday afternoon, Nov. 20 with a formal discussion between Nanjing University Vice President Zhou Xian and Rabbi Alfred Gottschalk, honorary Chancellor of Hebrew Union College as well as Chair of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum's Academic Committee, who was scheduled as the keynote speaker for the next day. They exchanged pleasantries and discussed the unique role this department will play at the university before heading for a banquet hosted by the school.
The Dedication itself opened Tuesday morning with speeches delivered in a tiered lecture hall before an audience of about 80 which included University President Zhang Rong; Kenneth Jarrett, U.S. Consul General in Shanghai; Amir Lati, Israeli Deputy Consul General in Shanghai; professors and scholars from Nanjing and other Chinese Universities; benefactor William Fern; Episcopal Priest John Blessing; Arthur Rosen, Chairman of the Board of the Sino Judaic Institute; Mattan Lurie, on behalf of the Glazers, Jerry Gotel of the London Jewish Cultural Centre; representatives from Jewish communities and corporations in China, and members of the Friend family.
Tracy Friend, who is both the President of B'nai Jehoshua Beth Elohim in Glenview, IL, and a composer of liturgical melodies, presented Xu with 54 musical CD's donated by a broad band of American Jewish artists. She and Rabbi Gottschalk's granddaughter Atara performed four musical selections as part of the ceremony (Oseh Shalom, Shalom Rav, When All is Said and Done, and Ani V'Atah)
Xu prepared and distributed a glossy blue and white booklet with the speeches printed in both English and Chinese in order to avoid the need for lengthy translations. After Xu's welcome and description of what has been accomplished and the goals still to be met, Beverly Friend gave a brief history of the origins of the China Judaic Studies Association.
The highlight of the three-hour ceremony was Rabbi Gottshalk's
formal address where he cogently stated: "Somehow, somewhere, those concerned
with the future of he human community must take the first steps to clear
away the debris that bars people from each other. The basic values
which make relationships possible deal with the power of the spirit, not
the spirit of power. You who are here at this Center and at the University
have opportunity to make a creative difference. "