Gathering of Shanghai Sephardic Community
50 Years Later Together Again in Israel, 1948 - 1998
A new publication called New Israel's Messenger was published
in Israel by The Association of Former Residents of China. The December 1998
edition records the Jubilee Reunion held in Tel-Aviv on the occasion of Israel's
In an article Joe Cohen wrote:
We came from the Land of Sinim. Some Jews from China came on
Aliya in 1948 when the new State of Israel was proclaimed. Perhaps none of
them dreamt that during their lifetime Jews would return after nearly 2,000
years to their homeland and participate in building the country.
If we look in the Old Testament, Isaiah 49, verse 12 we will
find a reference to the return of Jews from China:
Behold these shall come from afar; and lo, these from the North
and from the West; and these from the land of Sinim (the Chinese people).
Jewish and Arab traders in caravans must have gone to China and the Far East
long before the Silk Road period and brought back an accumulation of knowledge
as well as products from those lands.
At the Reunion Dinner, Leah Jacob Garrick read a nostalgic poem
on Shanghai reminiscences.
Reunion so great and reunion so rare,
Precious memories recalled now that we all do share,
Igud Yotzei Sin - because of you I believe,
We're together for first time here in Tel Aviv.
Fifty years - looking back, oh my, how time flies
Since we were all living in China's Shanghai.
First let's honor founders of former community -
Sassoon, Kadoorie and Hardoon - they were the top three.
Now I want to recall all the people I knew,
The family names come to mind - hereีs a few:-
If you are omitted from the list I present,
Please forgive me - it surely was not my intent.
Alphabetically: Abraham, Cohen and Dangour, Ezekiel, Ezra, Hillaly
follow for sure, Jacob and Levy I cannot forget, Nissim, Reuben,
Toeg, Saul - vivid in my mind yet.
Jack Guri, President of the Reunion - thank you,
With wife Dvorah, you have really come through.
Appreciate plans for occasion so rare,
This brings more recollections for us to now share.
Remembering holidays precious and dear,
Fondly recalling and going through the whole year:
Rosh Hashanah/Kippur - High Holidays for Jews,
My grandfather in top hat, tail and tennis shoes.
Thinking of Succoth my mind is still filled
With bountiful Succah the children helped build,
Simhat Torah in synagogue we thought it dandy,
Getting to eat Pasqual's find barley candy.
'Aleph-bet-gimmel-daled' singing we began,
Backward experts - Solomon Nathan and Abe Abraham.
On Purim ate zungoolah, grandma's pastry so crisp,
Playing vingt-et-un 21 at our risk.
Tu B'shvat had 100 great varieties
Of nuts and fruits - minim plenty surely did please.
At Pesah halek and nuts - the best harosset
Lives in our minds - we remember it yet.
Also the rice bread, yes, our hearts had won,
Hebrew, Arabic and English - Seder was in three tongues.
Shavuot remember halek and kahi
Made holiday for us a sweet memory.
Home from school won't forget such goodies we got,
Chudunkweh, dahping yuzakweh - chestnuts hot.
Chinese New Year - Koong Chi Fahzeh - did bring many smiles,
Firecrackers all night and heard loud Mah Jongg tiles.
We remember the dishes in our mouths were placed -
Unforgettable foods with such fabulous tastes.
Has the world ever heard of or the world ever seen
Such delicacies as bahmyah, hamoth, hamine? also sijuk an pahchah
- we were happy when cooked
Budjuh and poori, uhdjuh - also ahruhk.
Cheese sumboosuk and kakkahs with milk and strong tea,
Mahmoosah and muhushah - oh, what memories.
Muhrug and rice and salone and curry,
Tip Top Toffee we won't forget in a hurry.
Plaited cheese and hubbuss with boiled onions of course,
Chukla-buklah with food no one needed to force!
Israel's Anniversary - A miracle indeed,
Gave us a homeland, when home we did need.
We pray for lasting peace and the end to all harm
For Israel who embraced us with wide open arms.
Thrilled am I coming here all the way from US,
To see all of you now - this reunion I bless.
The world doesn't know our unique history,
About our survival and how we stayed free,
Each one of you played a special big part,
And now I do have a very full happy heart.
Culmination of experience - years and journeys,
Is today's celebration making new memories!
Let's raise our glasses to Israel, Blessed Home,
Thank G-d for this day, l'Hayim, Shalom.
- Leah Jacob Garrick at the Reunion where she read
- out her poem on Shanghai reminiscences