Jewish Flight Into China

A new exhibit at Pearl S. Buck International shares the stories of Jewish communities in China over millennia. These stories intrigued Pearl S. Buck and her husband Richard Walsh so much that each explored them in their published works. Ms. Buck wrote the novel "Peony" and the play "Flight into China" on the subject. Mr. Walsh included scholarly articles about the topic in his publication, "Asia" magazine. The exhibit, "Jewish Flight into China," brings those works, and others, together. It run through August 30, 2017, in the Exhibit Gallery at Pearl S. Buck International's Welcome Center, 520 Dublin Road, Perkasie, PA. It is believed Jews settled in China as tradespeople on the silk road. They had strong communities and became part of society. One of the largest communities was in K'aifeng. A stele (stone tablet) commemorates the construction of a synagogue there in 1163, but by the 1850s there were only remnants of the building standing and most families had assimilated. This is this period in which Ms. Buck set her novel, Peony, which tells the story of a Chinese bondmaid, sold into the service of one of the remaining Jewish families. Part of the exhibit at Pearl S. Buck International is a retelling, through words and photos, of one Jewish family's flight from Nazi Germany into China. Packed in the luggage was a copy of The Good Earth which descendants presume was carried so far in order to become part of a lending library established during their stay in China. Presented with the assistance of: Professor Dan Ben-Canaan, Founder and Director of the Sino-Israel Research and Study Center, Northeast Forestry University, Harbin, China; David M. Crowe, Ph.D., Presidential Fellow, Chapman University and Professor Emeritus of History, Elon University; Steve Hochstadt, Treasurer, Sino-Judaic Institute; and Leslie Starobin, MFA, Professor of Communication Arts at Framingham State University. Made possible by the generous funding from Visit Bucks County.