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China Judaic Studies Association 
Promoting Judaic Studies in China

Xu Xin's Trip Report

Teaching in the U.S. Jan-May 2001


The teaching is delightful and a challenge at Montclair State University, New Jersey, where I was invited as an international specialist and have been teaching two courses: China and the Jewish Diaspora and Introduction to Chinese Civilization. I am extremely happy to teach the Diaspora course, a topic about which I have done much research and plan to do more.

In addition to teaching, I have worked on a very ambitious plan: to raise funds to build a physical entity for the Center for Judaic Studies at Nanjing University. (See article, Page 1.)

As with many of my previous U.S. trips, I have been overwhelmed with invitations to talk to different institutions, organizations and congregations and am delighted with this wonderful opportunity to meet friends and inform a wider audience about our work. It is impossible to name all the places I visited, but here are some highlights:

  • At Gratz College, we discussed having one of our young faculty come here to be trained in Jewish history.
  • Cleveland College of Jewish Studies is donating about 3,000 volumes of books on Jewish subjects to the library of the Center for Jewish studies at Nanjing University. It will make our library the biggest on Jewish studies in China — increasing the need for our own Center.
  • I really enjoyed participating in the Friends’ family seder in Chicago during this year’s Pesach. This Chicago visit also led to a meeting with many friends who have been supporting my research and the cause of Jewish studies in China.
  • I was guest speaker at two conferences: The Third World View of the Holocaust: International Symposium, organized by Northeastern University in Boston, and Global Ethics, held at New Jersey City University.
  • I have worked with my publisher and am pleased to announce that my second book on the Kaifeng Jewry, The Kaifeng Jews of China: History, Culture and Religion, is expected to be out in summer, 2001. Nothing would make me happier than seeing the former research I did at Hebrew Union College and Harvard University bear fruit.

Now I must hasten back to China, where I will join Rabbi John Levi from Melbourne in leading a delegation of 26 Australians on a tour of Judaic sites in China in mid-May. While I hope to return to the U.S., I am extending an invitation to all of you to come to China and see our work there. Join us for the next International Conference, May 2002 (see accompanying article), or for the dedication of the new James Friend Center for Judaic Studies which your donations are making possible. You have my personal invitation.

— Xu Xin.