TC to offer lecture about Jewish dynasties in China on Oct. 21

Temple Concord will hold a Zoom program with Jonathan Kaufman, a Northeastern University journalism professor and award-winning journalist, who will talk about his new book “The Last Kings of Shanghai:The Rival Dynasties that Helped Create Modern China” on Wednesday, October 21, at 7:30 pm. There is no cost to attend. Pre-registration is required and can be made at The program is sponsored by Temple Concord and Temple Etz Chaim of Franklin, MA.

“Did you know that two Jewish families who were originally from Baghdad controlled much of the commerce in Shanghai, China’s leading commercial city, until the Communists took it over in 1949?” organizers of the event asked. “Did you know that those families created luxury hotels that set a world standard for excellence? And did you know that they were also instrumental in saving thousands of European Jews from the Holocaust? Learn about these families when Jonathan Kaufman discusses his new book, which Forbes called ‘engrossing’ and The Economist said was ‘illuminating.’”

Jonathan Karp, a professor in the Judaic Studies Department at Binghamton University, called Kaufman “an excellent writer and journalist.” Eve Berman was interested in the program because her sister’s in-laws’ family escaped from Prague to Shanghai during the war; and Berman had the opportunity to visit the Jewish quarter in Shanghai and wants to know more about what occurred. 

Rabbi Rachel Esserman recently reviewed the book in The Reporter. She noted that “this fascinating chapter of Jewish life is worth exploring for anyone interested in Jewish or Chinese history.” (To read the complete review, visit