In China, Chabad has seven centers, in and around Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou.
New Yorkers Liora and Akiva Pearlman have lived in Beijing for two years and were in Shanghai two years before that. They say life for a Jew is much harder in China than New York, but Chabad makes it easier. They are orthodox Jews, so in China, "Our only choice is Chabad," Liora says.
Yet in Beijing and Hong Kong, where there are multiple communities, there are choices for those who are not comfortable with orthodox services like Chabad.
Jews have various prayer customs. In Beijing, Kehillat Beijing has been around for two decades, much longer than Chabad, which came in 2001. The Kehillat Beijing differs from Chabad in many ways. For example, at Kehillat men and women pray together in mixed seating; while Chabad puts a divider between the genders.
American Jeff Bernstein lives in Shanghai where the only choice for Shabbat services is Chabad.
"I was not used to its style, with the wall down the middle. I felt foreign," he says. But when he goes to the liberal Kehillat Beijing, "I feel a community."
Some Jewish people find themselves going to Jewish services even though they may not attend back home. Being with other Jews and by performing these rituals they find familiarity in a foreign place.
Leo Lazar is in Beijing for six months working for General Electric. He says going to religious services in China was more appealing to him than in other places he has lived, like France or the United States. "Maybe it's the sense of community the sense of an adventurous - as opposed to a painstaking - diaspora."
Besides prayer and holidays, another way that Jews observe their faith is by keeping kosher. Kosher literally means "fit for ritual use". Most commonly, kosher refers to the dietary laws for Jews laid out in the Old Testament, interpreted and codified by the rabbis. The rules not only specify which animals and animal products a Jew can eat, but they explain in what combinations these items may be eaten and how to slaughter and prepare them.
Some Jews in China have no choice but to eat food prepared in their homes and buy imported foods with kosher certification. In Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong, however, there are kosher restaurants. Last year saw the opening of Dini's, Beijing's first kosher restaurant.
But if someone travels outside of these cities for business, there are no options for kosher dining. "I travel throughout China and I always have to take food with me," says Akiva Pearlman. At his office in Beijing he often orders out from Dini's for lunch.