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date: 13 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Perhaps for as long as two millennia, there have been Jewish communities throughout much of South, East, and Southeast Asia. Most have been in such port cities as Surat, Kochi, Mumbai, Calcutta, Yangon, Singapore, Bangkok, Kobe (Japan), and Hong Kong. Others thrived along the Silk Route, the best known and longest lived of which was at its eastern terminus, Kaifeng. Some of these communities are very old, dating at least from the early medieval period if not ancient times, while others are even newer: Bangkok's Jewish community dates from the first half of the twentieth century, and Shanghai's present community has existed only since the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Israel in 1992. Many Asian diaspora communities have been in decline for the past half-century due to emigration to Israel. It is in the oldest of these Jewish communities that we find the most profound interactions with the host culture, the best examples are Kochi in India and Kaifeng in China.

Keywords: Jews, Asia, Japan, Kochi, India, Kaifeng, China, Israel

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