17

Monday

Unknown to most of the Western world is that China has been host to a substantial Jewish population since as early as the eighth century. Marco Polo encountered the Jews of Kaifeng along the Silk Road and wrote about them in his diaries; Emperor Tsung was delighted by their presence and allowed them to use the surnames Ai, Lao, Jin, Li, Shi, Zhang, and Zhao. (Coincidentally, Shi and Jin are the equivalent of the common Western Jewish names Stone and Gold.) After several floods and several destroyed synagogues, the “Lost Jews of Kaifeng” are identified today in China as only “those who do not eat pork.” In conjunction with Sixth & I Historic Synagogue’s “Jews of Kaifeng” exhibit, Salomon Wald, an expert on Jewish–Chinese relations, will deliver the lecture “China and the Jewish People: Old Civilizations in a New Era.” The talk begins at 7 p.m. at the Sixth & I’s Historic Synagogue, 600 I St. NW. Free. (202) 408-3100. (Megan Maher)