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2016. Kaifeng Judaism Today: Between Revival and Reintroduction

 

2008. What Prevented the Reconstruction of the Chinese Synagogue? Kaifeng Jews Between Revival and Obliteration.

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                   קורות חיים

Noam Urbach | CV

 

Teaching Fellow, Chinese language and culture

East Asian Studies Program

Bar-ilan University

 

 

Education:

2007 – 2017    Doctoral candidate at University of Haifa, Israel. Theme: “Unrecognized Foreign Religions and the Challenge to Religious Policy in Post-Mao China.” Under the supervision of Dr. Nimrod Baranovitch and Prof. Yitzhak Shichor. Program renewed after 3 year break.

2005 – 2007    Various courses in Chinese philosophy, religion and politics at the School of Philosophy and Sociology, Shandong University, China.

2001 – 2005    M.A. cum laude in East Asian Studies at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem. Thesis titled “What Prevented the Reconstruction of of the Chinese Synagogue? Kaifeng Jews Between Revival and Obliteration," supervised by Dr. Nimrod Baranovitch. Overall score: 93.7, thesis score: 98.

1999 – 2000    Chinese language, music and culture studies at Henan University and Northeast Forestry University, China.

1995 – 1998    B.Sc in physics and computer science from Bar-Ilan University, Israel.

1989 – 1990    Courses in economics and business administration, Bar-Ilan University.

Talmudic studies at the High Torah Institute, Bar Ilan University.

1986 – 1989    Nechalim yeshiva high school, major in mathematics and physics.

 

Academic Positions:

2008 -             Teaching Fellow, East Asian Studies Program, Faculty of Humanities, Bar-Ilan University.

2011 - 2014     Lecturer and director of Chinese language studies, Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya.  

2005 – 2007    Teacher of Hebrew and Talmud, Center for Judaic and Inter-religious Studies, School of Philosophy, Shandong University, China.

                        Supervised the establishment of a Judaic Studies library at said Center.

2005                Teacher of Mandarin Chinese, Sapir College, Israel.

 

Publications:

 

 2016                “Kaifeng Judaism Today: Revival or Reintroduction?” in Becoming Jewish: New Ways of Joining the Jewish People. Tudor Parfitt and Netanel Fisher (eds.), Cambridge Scholars Publishing, pp. 83-105.

2008                “What Prevented the Reconstruction of the Chinese Synagogue? Kaifeng Jews Between Revival and Obliteration,” in Youtai – Presence and Perception of Jews and Judaism in China, Peter Kupfer (ed.) Frankfurt: Peter Lang Verlag, pp. 85-139.

2008                "Jews of Kaifeng, China" entry in Encyclopedia of the Jewish Diaspora, Avrum Ehrlich (ed.) Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, pp. 1160-1167.

2003                “Yahadut Kaifeng bein tchiya limchika: Ma meakev et bniyato mechadash shel heichal haemet hatehora" (Kaifeng Jewry between Revival and Obliteration: What’s Holding Back the Reconstruction of the Hall of Pure Truth?” Zmanim: A Historical Quarterly, 85:38-52 [in Hebrew].

 

Awards and Fellowships:

2008                Student Travel Grant for participation in the Annual Meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, Louisville, KY.

2007-2010       Doctoral Fellowship Grant, Haifa University, full three-year scholarship (approx. US$38,000).

2003                Best MA Thesis Award, The Ben-Zvi Institute for Research on Oriental Jewry, Jerusalem.

2003/2004       Peter Lougheed Graduate Fellowship in Canadian Studies, for research project entitled “Between Toronto and Kaifeng: Reassessing the Involvement of Bishop White and the Canadian Anglican Church in the Question of the Jews of Kaifeng.”

2003/2004       Israel Association for Canadian Studies Graduate Fellowship, for same research as previous.

 

Invited Lectures and Academic Conferences:

2017                “Islam and Christianity as Agents for the Conservation and Rejuvenation of Kaifeng Judasim” presented at the Fifth Judeo-Asian Conference, Haifa, Apr 2.

2017                “Religious-Zionist approach to Judaising Movements: The Case of Kaifeng” Presented at the Annual Conference of Neemanei Tora v'Avoda, Feb 24.

2016                Guest speaker and responder on student's review of my 2008 article, at the  Joint International Program for Outstanding Graduate Students of the Hebrew University and University of Haifa, May 31.

2015                “Sino-Christo-Judaica: The Christian Factor in the History of Kaifeng Jewry”. Presented at the symposium China and the Jews in the Modern Era, Ohio State University, April 19.

2015                “Religious Policy in Israel and China: Fundamental Difference vs. Surprising Similarities” Presented at East Asia, Judaism and Israel: Comparative Perspectives, Tel-Hai College, Jan 1.

2014                “Kaifeng Jews: Jewish Re-entry or Chinese Re-adoption?” presented at Converts, Returnees and Adherents New Ways of Joining the Jewish People, Van Leer Jerusalem Institute, Nov 3-4.

2013                “Baha'i Faith in China: Establishment without Administration”, Lecture Series in Baha'i Studies, Ezri Center for Iran and Persian Gulf Studies, University of Haifa, March 13.

2012                “The history of religious import to China as indicator for contemporary policy” presented at the Doctoral Seminary with visiting scholar Paul R. Katz, The Historical Society of Israel, Jerusalem, June 10.

2012                “The Status of Judaism in Post-Mao China: a comparative Approach to a religio-political question” presented at the international conference Between Mumbai and Manila: Judaism in Asia since the foundation of the state of Israel, Bonn. May 30 – June 1.

2011                "Stretching the Borders of Religious Legitimacy: Bahai's and Latter-day Saints in China” presented at the Third International Conference on Modern Religions and Religious Movements in Judaism Christianity and Islam, and the Babi-Baha'i Faiths, Jerusalem, March 22-24.

2010                “Analyzing the Unspoken: Studying Unrecognized Foreign Religions in China,” presented at the Methodological Workshop of Israeli Researchers Examining East Asia, Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace, April 25.

2009                “Sinification of Jews and Muslims and the Preservation of Religious Identity in China: Elaboration on the Eber Theory.” Presented at the international conference Satri Nidachim: Jews with Hidden Identities, Ben-Zvi Institute for the Study of Jewish Communities in the East, Jerusalem, June 16-18.

2009                “Unrecognized Foreign Religions and the Challenge to Chinese Religious Policy”, Colloquium of the Department of Asian Studies, University of Haifa, May 9.

2009                "Monotheism and State-Religion Relations in China Today," international conference Monotheism in Asia: Inter-religious Issues, Bar-Ilan University, March 17-18.

2009                "Globalizing the Religious Market in China: How Incoming Foreign Religions Affect State Religious Policy," presented at the international conference Religion and Globalization in Asia: Prospects, Patterns and Problems for the 21st Century. Center for the Pacific Rim, University of San Francisco, March 13-14.

2008                "The Religious Realm: Revival, Reform or Revolution?" Presented at the conference 30 Years of Reforms in China, University of Haifa, December 23.

2008                "Global Religions on the Gates of the Forbidden City: Challenging China's Religious Policy." Presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, Louisville KY, USA, October 16-19.

2008                "Mormons and Seventh-Day Adventists in China: Two Models of Religious Import." Paper presented at the Annual Conference of Asian Studies in Israel, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, May 21-22.

2007                “Hassidism and Mussar: Two Jewish Spiritual Movements’ Perception of Internal Harmony” (in Chinese). Paper presented at the symposium In Search of Internal Harmony, University of Qingdao, China, May 27-28.

2006                “'Normal' but not 'Recognized': The Changing Status of Unrecognized Foreign Religions in China.” Paper presented at the 5th Conference of Asian Studies in Israel, Tel-Aviv University, June 11-12.

2005                "Local Patriots, Foreign Missionaries and Two Stone Tablets: The Kaifeng Jewish Question in Republican China.” Paper presented at the 4th Conference of East Asian Studies in Israel, Hebrew University, Mt. Scopus, Jerusalem, May 17-18.

2004                “Between Toronto and Kaifeng: Reassessing the Involvement of Bishop White and the Canadian Anglican Church in the Question of the Jews of Kaifeng,” paper presented at the 10th Biennial Jerusalem Conference in Canadian Studies, June 25-6.

2003                “What’s Holding Back the Reconstruction of the Hall of Pure Truth? Kaifeng Jewry – Between Revival and Obliteration,” presented at the international symposium Youtai – Presence and Perception of Jews and Judaism in China, Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz at Germersheim, September 19-23.

2003                “Kaifeng Jewish Revival: Foreign Jewish Mission or Reconstruction of Unique Chinese Judaism?” presented at the Third Conference of the Center for Advanced Studies, the Institute of Jewish Studies, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, May 1.

2003                “What’s Holding Back the Reconstruction of the Kaifeng Synagogue? The Politics of Ethnic and Religious Identity in Post-Mao China”, presented at The Second Conference of East Asian Studies in Israel, Tel-Aviv University, January 20.

 

Commissioned Lectures:

2012                Two lecture series titled “China, Jews, Judaism” at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jerusalem: “Kaifeng Jewry as an international and inter-religious issue” and “The status of Judaism in Contemporary China” October.

2010                Lecture (in Chinese) at first Seminar for Chinese Educators on Holocaust Education, Yad-Vashem Museum and Holocaust Research Institute.

2009                Two lectures titled “Is Judaism Legal in China?” and “Kaifeng-Jerusalem: Chinese Jewish Descendants Plight for Recognition and Aliyah”; Design and participation in round-table titled “Is there a Jewish factor in Sino-Israel relations”, at Limoud conference, Paris, France, November 13-15

2009                "Why the prospects for Jewish revival in Kaifeng frightens the governments of China and Israel?" Beit Yad Lebanim culture center, Haifa, January 26.

2009                "Kaifeng Jews: Immigrant Community or Chinese Sect?" Ben-Zvi Institute, Jerusalem, March 4.

 

Documentary Filmography:

2003                  Director/creator of documentary short Slicha, Slichot (2003, DV, 15min, Israel's Channel One).          

2000 – present: In production of feature documentary Kaifeng, Jerusalem (uncompleted).

 

Languages:

Hebrew, English – fully bilingual

Chinese – working proficiency in reading, writing and conversation.

Yiddish, Aramaic – basic.

 

E-mail:   Nurbach@gmail.com