Choice, January 2004
Reviewed by K. E. Stapleton, University of Kentucky
A community of Sephardic Jews was growing along with China’s great commercial center Shanghai. By the early 20th century, the leaders of this community had prospered to the point that they controlled much of Shanghai’s property. Meyer provides a detailed and fascinating history of these men, many of whom came to Shanghai by way of British India after leaving Ottoman territory during periods of persecution. Their community developed in symbiosis with British colonial power, and Meyer’s discussion of how community life was affected by this relationship is very effective. Other chapters discuss synagogues and rituals, the famous 1923 Lincheng kidnapping case, and the Sephardic reaction to the influx of Russian and western European Jews fleeing the Russian revolution and rise of the Nazis. Meyer includes a chapter on the limited and unsuccessful efforts the Shanghai Jews made to “save” the Kaifeng Jewish community. Recommended. All levels and collections.