The Life of Jews in Japan

Thursday, November 9

USA 12:00 pm PT / 3:00 pm ET

UK 8:00 pm / France 09:00 pm / Israel 10:00 pm

The talk will last approximately 90 minutes

About this talk

There have been Jews in Japan since the 16th century. Ashkenazi Jews joined exiles from the Spanish Inquisition in Nagasaki and Yokohama. In the 20th century, Kobe had the largest Jewish community. Some 40 families from Iraq and Syria settled in the city, together with hundreds from Russia.

Although Japan was allied with the Nazis during WWII, it initially welcomed Jewish refugees, and the diplomat Chiune Sugihara saved thousands of Jews from Eastern Europe. However, after Pearl Harbor, many were deported to Shanghai. Today there is a small expatriate business community in Japan.

In this talk, you will meet two very special presenters, both of whom grew up in the city of Kobe. They will provide an overview of the Japanese Jewish story and share their families and their own personal experiences about being Jewish in Japan.

About S.David and Rachel

S. David Moche was born in Kobe, Japan. His family was originally from Baghdad and his father moved to Japan, in 1936 as a single businessman. He has a special interest in the Jewish community there and has carried out oral interviews to document its history and also created a blog from them. He is a businessman living in New York City with his wife, Nancy, and two daughters, Elsie and Ma'yan.

Rachel Wahba is a San Francisco Bay Area based writer and psychotherapist. An Egyptian-Iraqi Jew, Rachel was born in India and grew up stateless in Japan within an international community based in Kobe. The wait to immigrate to the United States took twenty years. The many dimensions of her exile and displacement are a constant theme in her professional work as well as her activism as an advisory board member for JIMENA (Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa).

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With your contribution, you will also be donating to JIMENA, an organization founded with the mission to preserve and protect the heritage of Sephardic and Mizrahi Jews

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