A number of people have asked me why I was in China so early and it made me wonder if JTNews would want to clarify the following for your readers (“M.O.T.: A local rabbi’s ties to China,” July 20).
As a Canadian who had majored in Chinese Studies at York University, I applied for and was accepted as a participant in the first Canada-China Student Exchange Programme (that’s how we spell it back home). We were the first group of students admitted to study in China since the Cultural Revolution, even though the country was still feeling its aftershocks.
With the Yom Kippur War only months past, I was reluctant to go to China given its extremely anti-Israel position at the time, but my congregation’s rabbi encouraged me to do so and put me in touch with the Australian head of the World Jewish Congress, who in turn asked me to report on attitudes and events for him. Thus was born my interest in Jewish communal service and a lifelong passion for the intersection of things Jewish and Chinese.