CONFERENCE PROGRAM: China and Ashkenazic Jewry: Transnational Encounters

Kathryn Hellerstein's picture
China and Ashkenazic European Jewry: Transnational Encounters

Sponsored by:

Glazer Institute of Jewish and Israel Studies, Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, Nanjing University

University of Pennsylvania China Research and Engagement Fund

Jewish Studies Program, University of Pennsylvania

Institute of Advanced Studies, Nanjing University

Monday and Tuesday, June 4-5, 2018

The June 2018 International Conference, “China and Ashkenazic European Jewry: Transnational Encounters,” aims to deepen discussions of how Jewish and Chinese cultures have been enriched by the points of contact between peoples and nations, which arise with the translation of literature, philosophy, and other humanistic texts.  This conference is the first to focus on the transnational cultural exchange specifically between Ashkenazic Jewry and China.  It aims to provide a unique opportunity to investigate such translation, both from the languages and cultures of Ashkenazic Jewry into Chinese, and from Chinese into those Jewish languages and cultures.  As well as looking at cultural ramifications of texts and translations, the conference also intends to highlight the roles played by actual, personal contact between Jews from Central and Eastern Europe and Chinese people in China during the turbulent decades of the mid-twentieth century.  We hope that the papers, presented by scholars from a range of disciplines (literature and translation, history, sociology, religious studies) based in China, North America, Europe, and Israel, will lead to a cross-disciplinary dialogue that will open new ground for understanding how cultures and peoples so different have found ways to communicate and will illuminate where such communication becomes problematic.  Such an investigation of how people talk to each other through translation has profound implications for our contemporary global society.


Conference Program



Monday, June 4

Venue: Shao Yifu Building, Room C308


8:40-9:00 Welcoming Remarks

Tang Zhengdong (Dean, Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, Nanjing University)

Kathryn Hellerstein (University of Pennsylvania)

Xu Xin (Nanjing University)


Group Photo



Keynote: Xu Xin (Nanjing University). Jewish Communities and Modern China: Encounter of Modern Civilization

Moderator: Fu Youde (Shandong University)


9:35-10:50 Religious Jews in China: 20th & 21st Century

Samuel Heilman (Queens College, CUNY). Chabad Lubavitch and Contemporary China: Explaining the Connection

Marc Shapiro (University of Scranton). The Mir Yeshiva and Its Shanghai Experience

Ai Rengui (Henan University). When Did the Muscle Jews Come to the Far East: Jewish Sports and Identity in the First Half of Twentieth Century Shanghai

Moderator: Rebecca Kobrin (Columbia University)


Tea Break: 10:50-11:05


11:05-11:55 Comparative Theologies

Fu Youde (Shandong University). Reform Judaism in Germany and the New Cultural Movement in China

Hu Hao (Henan University). Comparative Studies on the Theological Faith of Taoism and Judaism

Moderator: Samuel Heilman (Queens College, CUNY).


Lunch (Third Floor, International Conference Center)


14:00-15:15 Jews in Shanghai I

Wang Jian (Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences). On the Routes of the Escape of Jewish Refugees to China during World War II from the Newly Found Historical Materials

Nancy Berliner (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston). Jewish Artists in Shanghai: Visions of a Place and Time

Yang Meng (Free University of Berlin). Jewish Exile in Shanghai

Moderator: Maisie J. Meyer (London School of Economics)


Tea Break: 15:15-15:30


15:30-16:45 Immigrants & Travelers

Rebecca Kobrin (Columbia University). From Angel Island and Ellis Island: American Jews and Chinese-Americans in the American Immigration Regime

Stephen Jacobs (Rochester Institute of Technology). Mordechi Marches to Manchuria: A Case Study in the Challenges and Rewards of Adapting and Expanding Historical Documents for the World Wide Web

Bao Anruo (Columbia University). The Image of China in the Yiddish Newspapers during the Russo-Japanese War

Moderator: Jan Schwarz (Lund University)


16:50-17:40 Cross-cultural Dialogue—Drama and Pedagogy

Zhang Ping (Tel Aviv University). Life is Bigger than Suffering: Hanoch Levin’s Suitcase Packers and Cao Yu’s Beijingers in the Light of Cross-textual Dialogue

Li Dong (Shanghai International Studies University). How to Teach a Class of Jewish American Literature to Chinese Students---With Anzia Yezierska’s Short Fiction Children of Loneliness as an Example

Moderator: Fu Xiaowei (Sichuan International Studies University)


Dinner (Third Floor, International Conference Center)





Tuesday, June 5

Venue: Shao Yifu Building, Room C308



Keynote: Zhang Longxi (City University of Hong Kong). Jewish and Chinese Literature as World Literature

Moderator: David Stern (Harvard University)


9:35-10:50 Translation & Reception: China and Yiddish

Kathryn Hellerstein (University of Pennsylvania). China in Yiddish: Translations of Poetry and Theater

Fu Xiaowei (Sichuan International Studies University). The Influence of Central and Eastern European Jewish Literature in China

Jan Schwarz (Lund University). I. B. Singer’s Art of Ghost Writing and Its Chinese Reception: Enemies, A Love Story

Moderator: Zhong Zhiqing (Chinese Academy of Social Sciences)


Tea Break: 10:50-11:05


11:05-11:55 The Hebrew Bible in Chinese

Irene Eber (Hebrew University). From Rags to Riches: Joseph and His Family

Liu Yan (Beijing International Studies University). The Transcultural Characteristics of the Chinese Bible Translated by Jewish Christian S.I.J. Schereschewsky (1831-1906) ---A Case Study of Song of Songs

Moderator: Meng Zhenhua (Nanjing University)


Lunch (Third Floor, International Conference Center)


14:00-14:50 Jews in Shanghai II

Maisie J. Meyer (London School of Economics). The Transnationalism of Shanghai’s Baghdadi Jews

Han Yi (Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences). The Council of the Jewish Community Shanghai and Its Relief Activities

Moderator: Wang Jian (Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences)


14:55-16:30 Chinese Perception of Jews and Israelis

Zhong Zhiqing (Chinese Academy of Social Sciences). The Reception of Amos Oz in China

Cao Jian (Sun Ye-san University). The “Jewish Question” and Its Discussion in China

Zhou Jiaxin (Nanjing University). Studies on Moses Hess in China

Song Lihong (Nanjing University). Israel in Chinese Eyes

Moderator: Zhang Ping (Tel Aviv University)


16:40-17:10 Conclusion

David Stern, Zhang Longxi, Song Lihong and Kathryn Hellerstein


Dinner (Third Floor, International Conference Center)