NEW YORK, NY (Feb 2018) – Introducing the first annual Tokayer Heritage Tours as we bring you the unknown story of the Jewish experience in the Far East. Many of the oldest and most prolific Jewish communities in the world were located not in Europe or the Middle East, but in Asia. But as Jews we tend to look West and not East, and the history, beauty and vibrancy of these communities often go unnoticed. We don’t read about them or hear about them. They have been written out of our history… a missing page.
What is a Tokayer Heritage Tour?
For decades, Rabbi Marvin Tokayer, the former Chief Rabbi of Japan and the first Chief Rabbi of Asia, dedicated his life to bringing awareness and knowledge of these beautiful remote Jewish communities to the West. Who knew there was a synagogue in Myanmar with 126 Torah scrolls, that Mongolian Jews were governors in Genghis Khan’s court, and that Jews founded and built one of the largest Chinese cities that now has a population of over 5 million?!
These journeys through Jewish eyes™ will follow in the footsteps of Rabbi Tokayer based upon the 35-year proven itineraries he created and continue his legacy of telling the stories that so often go untold. We will visit the sites and discuss the Jewish figures who shaped these remote communities, both within its Jewish walls and far beyond. We will meet members of these communities, often the last remaining ones, and speak with distinguished academics and government officials who know the subject and are very proud of the local Jewish contribution and influence.
Departing July 1, 2018, Journey Home: Japan and China Through Jewish Eyes™ will be led by Rabbi Tokayer’s son, Dr. Amiel Tokayer, who was born and raised in Japan and has led a number of Jewish tours to the Far East.
Journey Home features the “must see” highlights of Japan and China including Tokyo’s Imperial Palace, magnificent temples and gardens in Kyoto, the Terra Cotta Warriors of China’s first emperor in Xi’an, and more. The tour also delves into the unknown Jewish experience in China and the intriguing, yet little known history of Jews in Japan. A memorable highlight is a private concert by a Japanese Hebrew Choir, in Kyoto.
“Few people are aware of the deep and historic Jewish connection to the Far East,” states Dr. Tokayer. “Participants will learn the role of Consul Chiune Sugihara (the “Japanese Schindler”) in saving 20,000 Jewish lives during the Holocaust,” said Tokayer, and also attend fascinating presentations by noted authors and experts including Professor Pan Guang, author of The Jews in Shanghai and director for the Shanghai-based Center for Jewish Studies, and others.
The fully-escorted tour cost is $8,888 per person, based on double occupancy, and includes international group airfare from New York (JFK) via Japan Airlines, deluxe hotel accommodations, intra-Asia flights and transportation including bullet trains in Japan and China, all meals (kosher and strict Buddhist vegetarian), fascinating lectures, meetings with local Jewish communities in Japan and China, enticing cultural sightseeing and events, English-speaking local guides, taxes and service charges, and all gratuities throughout the trip. The only additional expenses are passport, visa fees and insurance.
Other upcoming heritage tours include Exotic Far East, visiting Mongolia, Manchuria, Siberia and South Korea, from August 4-19, 2018, led by Rabbi Tokayer’s grandson, Yoni Rozenberg, who previously co-hosted two of these departures; a journey through Southeast Asia including Singapore, Thailand, Myanmar and Cambodia, led by Rabbi Rachel Safman who lived and taught in Singapore and Thailand; and India My 2nd Home, a tour of Mumbai, Cochin, Calcutta and Delhi, from January 16-29, 2019, led by Professor Nathan Katz, one of the world’s leading experts on India and Jewish India, and a long-time colleague of Rabbi Tokayer.
All tours include a $900 per person tax-deductible donation to FRJC, a 501(c)3 not-for-profit educational charity devoted to preserving and promoting the underserved remote Jewish communities on the periphery of the Diaspora. Since its inception in 2003, FRJC has distributed more than $1 million for Jewish libraries, scholarships and sustainable farming projects in those endangered Jewish communities. Learn more at www.frjc.org