Jew, French in China, Hong Kong

Jew, French
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People Name: Jew, French
Country: China, Hong Kong
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 800
World Population: 524,200
Primary Language: French
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Christian Adherents: 1.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.50 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Jews
Affinity Bloc: Jews
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

Jews represent the oldest monotheistic religion of modern times. Because of the uniqueness of their history and culture, all Jews have a strong sense of identity. Persecution and discrimination against the Jews have been the historical reasons for their migrations and settlements around the world. They have migrated to many places, but perhaps one of their most surprising places to live is Hong Kong.

French speaking Jews arrived in Hong Kong when it was ceded to the UK by China in 1842. The prominent Sasson family arrived at that time, and in the 1850s, they built a Jewish community around themselves. Many of these people were French speaking. In the decades to follow, there was a Jewish cemetery and a synagogue. This community has always been small, but they have also been wealthy. Their wealth came from worldwide trade.

Where Are they Located?

The vast majority of French speaking Jewish people live in France. There are smaller populations in Belgium and Switzerland, and even smaller populations in Monaco, Algeria, Israel, and Hong Kong.

What Are Their Lives Like?

French speaking Jews in Hong Kong blend in well with other Jewish peoples. They share the same synagogues and Jewish Community Centre (JCC) which includes recreational, athletic, and cultural components. It includes a large library. This Jewish community has strong ties to Israel.

Language is one of the distinguishing features among Jews. While Hebrew and Aramaic are the common languages of prayer, sacred, and legal matters, the Jews are quite at home with other languages and dialects. Though the French speaking Jews have frequent social dealings with other Jewish peoples, they are still set apart to some degree by their use of the French language at home.

French speaking Jews in Hong Kong might be involved with worldwide trade, they might be shop owners, or managers of restaurants.

What Are Their Beliefs?

For religious Jews, God is the Supreme Being, the Creator of the universe, and the ultimate Judge of human affairs. Beyond this, the religious beliefs of the Jewish communities vary greatly. European Jews are extremely diverse in religious practice. The Ashkenazic Jews are the most prevalent, representing the Orthodox, ultra-Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform movements. The unusual and adamantly traditional Hasidic movement was born in Poland and has gained a strong following in the United States and Israel. The Sephardic denomination is similar to the Orthodox Ashkenazic but is more permissive on dietary rules and some religious practices. Each Jewish denomination maintains synagogues and celebrates the traditional Jewish holiday calendar. While most European Jews are religiously affiliated, there is a significant minority which is not religious.

What Are Their Needs?

The Jews have a wonderful understanding of their connection with the Abrahamic covenant. However, they also have a history of rejecting Jesus Christ as Messiah, the one who has fulfilled that same covenant. Pray that as the gospel is shared, it will not be viewed as anti-Semitic, but rather as the fulfillment of what God promised through Abraham centuries ago.

Prayer Points

* Pray for the Holy Spirit to give French speaking Jewish people teachable and understanding hearts.
* Pray that a strong movement of the Holy Spirit will bring entire Jewish families in Hong Kong into a rich experience of God’s blessing.
* Pray for French Jewish families to be drawn by the Holy Spirit to seek forgiveness and to understand the adequacy of Christ’s work on the cross.
* Pray for teams of believers to do sustained, focused prayer for the Lord to open the hearts of French Jewish family leaders to experience God’s blessing through a movement of family-based discovery Bible studies.

Text Source:   Keith Carey