Taiwan Jewish Community's 2023 Sukkah across from Taipei 101
Taiwanese Jews
Chinese: 猶太人
יהודי טייוואן
Regions with significant populations
Major populations in Taipei, also in Kaohsiung, Hsinchu, Taichung
English, Hebrew, Mandarin
Related ethnic groups
East Asian Jews
Jewish diaspora

The History of the Jews in Taiwan, also known as Taiwanese Jews, refer to the Jewish community residing in Taiwan, a country located in East Asia. While the Jewish population in Taiwan is relatively small compared to other communities around the world, it has a rich and diverse history that spans several decades. The first sizable presence began in the 1950s, when religious services were held in the United States military chapel, to which civilians also had access.

Currently, there are two synagogues in Taiwan. The Taiwan Jewish Community, which has been in Taiwan since the 1950s, and Chabad Taiwan, which began in 2011 and has been the center of multiple controversies.[1]


The presence of Jews in Taiwan can be traced back to the mid-20th century when a small number of Jewish individuals and families arrived on the island. Most Jewish immigrants came to Taiwan for business and professional opportunities, attracted by the growing economic development and trade possibilities in the region.

One significant influx of Jewish immigrants occurred during the Chinese Civil War (1945-1949) and the subsequent establishment of the People's Republic of China under communist rule. Many Jewish businessmen, who had previously settled in Shanghai and other parts of China, sought refuge in Taiwan to escape political uncertainties and to safeguard their livelihoods.[2]

As Taiwan experienced rapid industrialization and economic growth during the latter half of the 20th century, it attracted a larger number of Jewish businesspeople, investors, professionals, and academics. These individuals played a role in various sectors of Taiwanese society, contributing to its development and growth in an array fields such as the arts, governance, high-technology, medicine, finance, and education.

Community life and institutions

Despite their relatively small numbers, the Jewish community in Taiwan has fostered a close-knit community with various institutions and organizations that cater to their religious, cultural, and social needs. These institutions have helped promote Jewish identity and facilitate connections among the community members.

Taiwan Jewish Community

The Taiwan Jewish Community is an egalitarian, non-denominational Jewish congregation in the heart of Taipei. The synagogue's membership consists of Jews from all denominations, and includes both long-term expatriates from around the world as well as a more transient population.

In the 1950s Jewish religious services were held in the United States military chapel on Zhongshan North Road with services being open to both military families and civilians.[3]

In 1975, Rabbi Ephraim Einhorn (Hebrew: אפרים פרדיננד איינהורן; Chinese: 艾恩宏; pinyin: Ài Ēnhóng) arrived to serve as the island's sole rabbi.[4] Formally established as a non-profit organization in 1977, the Taiwan Jewish Community has been largely made up of foreign business executives and their families, students, diplomats assigned to Taiwan, and visitors to the island. For many years Rabbi Einhorn officiated at Sabbath and holiday services at the Landis Hotel and later the Sheraton Taipei. In 2015 the venue for the services moved to space in an office building provided by one of the community members. In 2020 the Taiwan Jewish Community moved to a location funded by the entire community. Attendance peaks around the High Holy Days, numbering around 200 individuals.[5][6][7][8] Rabbi Einhorn died in 2021 in Taipei and his role in running the organization Taiwan Jewish Community was passed on to Leon Fenster.[9] In 2023, Rabbi Dr. Cody R. Bahir joined the Taiwanese Jewish Community, becoming the congregation's first full-time rabbi, and Taiwan's first non-orthodox rabbi.

Jeffrey D. Schwartz Jewish Community Center of Taiwan

On December 29, 2021, the Jeffrey D. Schwartz Jewish Community Center of Taiwan was officially opened. The 22,500 square-foot center features a synagogue, mikveh (ritual bath), kosher culinary lab and kitchen, 300-person ballroom, classroom, library, and a museum of Judaica and Jewish art containing over 400 rare items. The center was funded, designed, and built by the Jeffrey D. Schwartz & NaTang Jewish Taiwan Cultural Association (JTCA), a non-profit organization founded by Jeffrey D. Schwartz, Founder and CEO of Four Star Group, and his wife NaTang, an actress, musician, and author. The center offers a variety of cultural activities and is open to membership and participation by everyone in the Taiwan community, including those who adhere to other faiths.[10]

Chabad Taiwan

In the summer of 2011, upon the coming of the new Chabad missionaries, Rabbi Shlomi and Racheli Tabib, the Chabad Taiwan was founded.[11]

The Tabib's are promoters of a controversial form of Chabad messianism that believes that Menachem Mendel Schneerson who passed away in 1994 was the messiah.[12]

Interfaith and Cultural Exchange

Renowned Jewish physicist George Zweig teaching at National Taiwan University.

The Jewish community in Taiwan has actively engaged in interfaith dialogue and cultural exchange with the broader Taiwanese society. The community has participated in interfaith events, fostering mutual understanding and respect among different religious groups in Taiwan.[2]

Moreover, Taiwanese society has shown an increasing interest in Jewish culture, history, and traditions. Jewish festivals such as Hanukkah and Passover have gained recognition and are occasionally celebrated by Taiwanese individuals and organizations. Jewish cultural events, including art exhibitions, film screenings, and lectures, have also been organized to promote cross-cultural exchange and appreciation.[13]

Relations with Israel

Because the state of Israel has full diplomatic relations with mainland China, it cannot fully recognize the government of Taiwan, which China considers separatist. Nevertheless, Israel maintains the Israel Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei (ISECO). In 2006, there was $1.3 billion worth of bilateral trade between Israel and Taiwan.[citation needed]

In 2023 Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel David Lau visited Taiwan.[14]

Holocaust remembrance in Taiwan

Chelujan Church (車路墘基督教會), site of the Taiwan Holocaust Museum.

In 2002 a Holocaust Museum was opened in Bao'an, Rende Township, Tainan County (now part of Tainan City).[15] It was founded by Chou Chou An (Chinese: 卓枝安; pinyin: Zhuó Zhī'ān), a Taiwanese priest who follows Messianic Judaism, considered by many Christians and Jews to be a form of Christianity. Chou Chou An received his religious education in Japan. The Kyoto Holocaust Museum has donated several artefacts to the Holocaust Museum in Tainan.[citation needed]

In 2021 an International Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony in Taipei was attended by Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen. The event was organized by the Israel Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei, the German Institute Taipei, and the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy.[16]


As of 2023 the Jewish community in Taiwan has grown to number more than 2000, according to the Chabad of Taiwan. The Jewish population of Taiwan is expected to grow, and is one of the fastest-growing Jewish populations in the world on a per-capita growth basis, as in 2016 the community numbered approximately 800, with 650 of those residing in Taipei, representing a 225% increase in the Jewish population of Taiwan in the 7 years between 2016 and 2023.[2][17]

Notable Individuals

Several individuals of Jewish heritage have made significant contributions to various fields in Taiwan. Among them is Dr. David Blondheim, a renowned pediatrician who established the first neonatal intensive care unit in Taiwan and played a crucial role in advancing neonatal medicine in the country. Taiwan has a small but notable Jewish community, whose members have made significant contributions to various fields and have played important roles in the country's development. While the Jewish population in Taiwan is relatively small compared to other communities, their impact is noteworthy. Here are a few notable Taiwanese Jews:

These are just a few examples of notable Taiwanese Jews who have left their mark in various fields. Despite their small numbers, Taiwanese Jews have made significant contributions to the country's culture, economy, and society, highlighting the diversity and richness of Taiwan's multicultural fabric.

See also


  1. ^ Haime, Jordyn. "Can a New Shul Unite Taiwan's Jews?". Tablet.
  2. ^ a b c "Taiwan's $16 Million Jewish Community Center a Work of Art and Dedication". Chabad News. Retrieved 21 June 2023.
  3. ^ Haime, Jordyn. "Former St. Louis synagogue B'nai El helped Jews establish community in Taiwan". stljewishlight.org. St Louis Jewish Light. Retrieved 12 October 2021.
  4. ^ Luxner, Larry (2007-09-30). "Overshadowed by China, a few Jews hold on in Taiwan". Luxner News. Archived from the original on 2016-09-09. Retrieved 2008-11-01.
  5. ^ During the 2020-2021 COVID-19 pandemic, owing to Taiwan's success at controlling the outbreak, the Taiwan Jewish Community experienced a resurgence in membership, and holiday events have enjoyed upwards of 200 participants. Yiu, Cody (2005-02-14). "Taipei's Jewish". Taipei Times. p. 2. Retrieved 2008-11-01.
  6. ^ Steinberg, Neil (2002-08-09). "A down-home davening in Taiwan". Jewish World Review. Retrieved 2008-11-01.
  7. ^ Halle, Charlotte (2008-10-30). "Toast of Taiwan". Haaretz. Retrieved 2015-01-16.
  8. ^ Yang, Sophia (2021-03-10). "Taiwan Jewish Community Holds World's Largest Purim Celebration". Taiwan News. Retrieved 2021-03-10.{
  9. ^ Haime, Jordyn. "Taiwan's longtime rabbi, whose life brimmed with international intrigue, dies at 103". www.jta.org. Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Retrieved 17 September 2021.
  10. ^ "Jewish community center in Taipei to be a 'cultural hub' - Taipei Times". www.taipeitimes.com. 2021-12-31. Retrieved 2022-01-13.
  11. ^ Jay, Phillip (2011-10-01). "Taipei officially opens a Jewish Community Centre". Jewish Times Asia. Retrieved 2011-11-01.
  12. ^ Goldstien, Jonathan. (2015). Jewish Identities in East and Southeast Asia. De Gruyter. p. 100.
  13. ^ Cohen, D. (2002). The Jews in China. Hippocrene Books.
  14. ^ HAIME, JORDYN. "Israel's chief Ashkenazi rabbi visits Taiwan in milestone for local Jewish community". jpost.com. Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 2 March 2023.
  15. ^ Mishani, Dror (2007-08-31). "State or state of mind?". Haaretz. Retrieved August 17, 2014.
  16. ^ Lim, Emerson. "Taiwan an active partner in global human rights efforts: President Tsai". focustaiwan.tw. Focus Taiwan. Retrieved 27 March 2021.
  17. ^ Limor Shmuel Friedman; Dana Regev; Eli Finarov; David Stavrou Kay; Ron Reitan. "In These Five Flourishing Jewish Communities, No One Is in Any Rush to Immigrate to Israel". Haaretz. Retrieved 8 April 2019.