Get PJ Media on your Apple

Faster, Please!

The Chinese and the Jews

May 6th, 2014 - 8:13 pm

If you grew up when I did, this will all remind you of jokes that used to be told in New York City.  I can’t repeat them here because political correctness forbids it, but they’re about Chinese people in New York who only speak Yiddish.

I wish them well, and I have a bit of advice for the Chinese quest for the secret of capitalist success.  First, the Jews do well at lots of things because Judaism is a quest for the right questions, not a canon of correct answers.  The constant questioning, and the resultant playfulness of Jewish culture, are central to our success.  This is hard for the leaders of the PRC to absorb, and dangerous to their political enterprise, even though in the long run it’s the only way they’re going to get away from the folly of attempting to maintain political control over a “free” economy.

Meanwhile, I have no doubt the Chinese have noticed that the world’s oldest man is a Jew living on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.  He drifted away from the faith for a long time, but has recently reembraced it.  He’s a scientist, he thinks the soul outlives the body, and he’s still asking questions.

With such evidence, I think the Chinese are going to continue their Jewish studies.  Maybe Shanghai will reestablish the thriving Jewish community for which it was known for so long…and if there start to be mass conversions to Judaism in China, it will be great fun to watch the response of the Jew-haters, won’t it?

Faster, please.

<- Prev  Page 2 of 2   View as Single Page

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
With the recent knife attack on Chinese citizens by radical Islam, the Chinese are looking for ways to reason with Muslims and to form a peaceful coexistence.

After studying the possible solutions, they naturally turned to a people who have spent centuries talking to a wall.
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
Funny thing: while Chinese Communists are
Converting to Judaism most, secular-reform
Jews have been converting to Communism!
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
There is an interesting tendency in both western and eastern classical thinking, "Dualism," which may go far as a gateway to understanding this phenomenon (if it really exists).

Michael, when I read the headline, the first thought I had was tied to this, your words:

"Chinese students can now learn Hebrew, and immerse themselves in Jewish studies (maybe they’ll give Ayaan Hirsi Ali an honorary degree sometime soon?)."

I should guess "there's a whole lotta thinkin' goin' on," dualistically speaking, in the minds of China-at-large. Xinjiang is attracting more and more attention these days, and not in a good way. It borders a lot of places with the surname "...stan." It's fair to say that "Stan" isn't real big on Jews or Israel.
Also, Stan has a problem of late with anyone who doesn't see the world his way. Look at the recent "muslim success story" and compare it to the Jewish one.

China, for all its faults, is still so steeped in its classical culture that it can't escape the dualism which reveals itself daily. This is the culture which named
"Yin and Yang." For aeons China was the most technologically
enlightened culture on the planet. It didn't achieve that by turning its back on achievement.

You have, in front of you, two of the three extant cultures from our earliest recorded history, the third being Hinduism (seeing a pattern developing?). China is nothing if not pragmatic, and they are masters of the long game.

24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (85)
All Comments   (85)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
Hell will freeze over before Chinese convert to Judaism in any significant numbers. Mr Ledeen should know this as anyone knows who has travelled China. I have doubts in this though: it has been a long time since I read anything compelling from him. Pïty.
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
Hopefully they'll discover kosher delis. After all Jews have been major supporters of Chinese takeout for decades!
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
If I recall Chinese history correctly, Kublai Khan was interested in Christianity, and Marco Polo, his father, and uncle made their way to his capital (Marco for the first time, and his father & uncle for the second time). Some missionaries from the Roman Catholic Church accompanied them.

Then, in "Paris 1919" we see some Chinese looking at Communism, because of the raw deal (according to them), they received vis a vie the Japanese, from the Paris peace conference.

So, given the overlap between all expressions of the Christian faith tradition, and all expressions of the Jewish Faith tradition, this is a way for the Beijing Politburo to apply some centripetal force to counter act everything flying into pieces.
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
While the chinese are doing all this looking, maybe they should take a real look at the USA secret, liberty and entrepenourship. The cruel irony though is while china may discover that USA secret to success, Obama and the dems are now doing their best to stamp it out.
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
But look at all the Jews who have converted to Buddhism. It is widespread.
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
Aside from admiring the success of the Jews, China appreciates Jews as a fellow "ancient civilization".

That has lead some Chinese research into curious places. Some time ago, I came across a Chinese paper on phylacteries - in Hebrew, 'tefillin' - worn by religious Jewish men. They noted that the contact points on the head and arm matched almost precisely the Chinese acupressure points associated with psychic well-being. Who knew!
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
I wonder what Israel will do about the "right of return" policy? Oh, my!
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
Two thoughts from a heathen...
I love the idea of a religion that is a "search for the right questions rather than a canon of correct answers", and it would be wonderful to see mass conversions of Chinese to Judaism.
Wish I could have the popcorn concession for watching the haters react to that.
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
What will be really great is when they learn how to drive and park an automobile and stop abandoning their baby girls.
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
In "Civilization", Niall Ferguson relates the story that the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences were charged with answering the following question: China was ahead of the West in virtually every field up to the 15th century. Thereafter, the West zoomed ahead. What was it that the West had that we didn't have that cause this to happen?

At first, the Academy thought it was the West's guns. The West had better weapons.

Then, the Academy did some more research and decided it was the political system of the West. The West had democracy and China didn't.

After a bit more study, the Academy decided it was the West's economic system. The West had the market economy and China didn't.

But, for the past 20 years, we've known the simple answer that lies behind all the other answers and namely, it was the West's religion.

By that, the Chinese Academy meant that the Judeo-Christian heritage conferred on the West it its perennial restlessness between the world that is and the world that ought to be which set in motion all of the creative developments of the last 5 centuries.
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
1 2 3 4 5 Next View All