The Jews of Taipei

Last week, the speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi made headlines with her bold visit to Taiwan. Sarah Nachimson considers the island’s small Jewish community which numbers about 700 to 800 people:

After Taiwan’s first resident rabbi, Ephraim Einhorn, passed away on September 14, 2021, at one-hundred-and-three, the London-born Leon Fenster took over as lead ḥazan of the Taiwan Jewish Community, one of two centers of Taiwanese Jewish life, the other being the Chabad Taipei founded in 2011. Einhorn, who moved from Austria to the United Kingdom at fourteen years old and lost his parents to the Nazis in the Holocaust, earned his doctorate and rabbinic ordination from a now-defunct London yeshiva.

Einhorn arrived in Taipei in 1975 as a financial advisor to a Kuwaiti trade delegation, and began officiating at bar-mitzvah ceremonies and leading high-holiday services in the region. While he was the first rabbi known to live in Taiwan, the Jewish community there, according to Fenster, first began to grow in the 1950s when Jewish expats stationed at a local military base, most of them American, joined with the tiny non-military Jewish community in the city of Taipei.

Today, . . . the largest demographic in the expat community is American Jews, but some community members are also Taiwanese as well as from South America, Israel, and Europe.

Read more at Forward

More about: East Asian Jewry, Nancy Pelosi, Taiwan

Planning for the Day after the War in the Gaza Strip

At the center of much political debate in Israel during the past week, as well as, reportedly, of disagreement between Jerusalem and Washington, is the problem of how Gaza should be governed if not by Hamas. Thus far, the IDF has only held on to small parts of the Strip from which it has cleared out the terrorists. Michael Oren lays out the parameters of this debate over what he has previous called Israel’s unsolvable problem, and sets forth ten principles that any plan should adhere to. Herewith, the first five:

  1. Israel retains total security control in Gaza, including control of all borders and crossings, until Hamas is demonstrably defeated. Operations continue in Rafah and elsewhere following effective civilian evacuations. Military and diplomatic efforts to secure the hostages’ release continue unabated.
  2. Civil affairs, including health services and aid distribution, are administered by Gazans unaffiliated with Hamas. The model will be Area B of Judea and Samaria, where Israel is in charge of security and Palestinians are responsible for the civil administration.
  3. The civil administration is supervised by the Palestinian Authority once it is “revitalized.” The PA first meets benchmarks for ending corruption and establishing transparent institutions. The designation and fulfillment of the benchmarks is carried out in coordination with Israel.
  4. The United States sends a greatly expanded and improved version of the Dayton Mission that trained PA police forces in Gaza after Israel’s disengagement.
  5. Abraham Accords countries launch a major inter-Arab initiative to rebuild and modernize Gaza.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Gaza Strip, Gaza War 2023, Israeli Security, U.S.-Israel relationship