Last week, Jews around the world celebrated Purim, one of the most important holidays on the Jewish calendar. At this time, Jews recall their escape from an evil plan hatched by a Persian minister to annihilate them. They wear costumes, drink copiously, put on plays, give gifts to each other and donations to the poor.
And the Jewish residents of Beijing were no exception. Not only were they able to observe their religious customs, they had a choice of celebrations to attend.
Akiva Pearlman holding his son Raphael, dressed in Chinese costume for the holiday in Beijing.
There was a party on Thursday night sponsored by the Chabad Lubavitch community (an orthodox organization); on Friday night, sponsored by the Kehillat Beijing congregation. And on Saturday night, the Israeli embassy also had a gathering.
The fact that Jews in Beijing had more than one choice of Purim parties to attend highlights the options Jews have to observe their religion when they come to China.
Jewish prayer usually requires a group of at least 10 people. This is one of the main reasons why Jews need a community.
Most people assume that in corners of the world where Jews are not typically found, the Chabad movement will be the first outpost of Jewish life. Chabad is a Lubavitch Hasidic strand of Judaism and centers over the world support observing orthodox Jewish customs.