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Uncharted Territory: When Ohel Leah Had a Reform Rabbi

Sunday, May 5, 2019, 7 pm
King David Room, JCC
Cost: HK$50 per person

More than half a century ago, in the midst of a severe water crisis in Hong Kong, Rabbi Ferdinand M. Isserman (1898-1972) became the rabbi of Ohel Leah Synagogue. The first Reform rabbi to serve in Hong Kong, Rabbi Isserman’s tenure lasted for most of 1963. In a short period of time he raised the community’s profile and pushed for significant ritual changes.

Drawing on archival material, Rabbi Asher Oser will uncover why the Synagogue employed Rabbi Isserman, the changes he wished to institute, and his interaction with different community members. This forgotten chapter of Hong Kong’s Jewish history presents a complex portrait of a community that strove for peace and tradition, and was sometimes open to new experiences, as it moved forward.

Join us as we hear about Rabbi Isserman’s life and his contribution to Jewish life in Hong Kong. It promises to be both interesting and entertaining.

Jewish Book Club: “The Secret Book of Kings”

Wednesday, April 17, 2019, 7:45 pm
Library, JCC
Cost: Free

At our next meeting we will be discussing “The Secret Book of Kings”, which Elie Wiesel called “a riveting novel based on textual sources about the experiences of David and Solomon”.

There are three easy steps to join:
1. Buy the book from The Book Depository or Amazon.
2. Sign up by emailing us at
3. Be ready to discuss the book.

Hong Kong Jewish Cemetery Tour

Sunday, March 31, 2019, 2 pm
Hong Kong Jewish Cemetery, Happy Valley
Cost: HK$50 per person

Join our Howard Elias as he takes us on another tour of this fascinating part of Hong Kong’s history.

Howard will share the stories of some of the cemetery’s more notable residents, which includes members of the Kadoorie, Belilios, Sassoon, Odell and Weill families, as well as some amazing stories about a few people you may have never heard of. He’ll also discuss religious laws and customs regarding burial, and the work the Ohel Leah Synagogue Charity has undertaken over the past decade to maintain the cemetery grounds.

“We attended the Jewish cemetery tour today and wanted to say thank you. It was fascinating. Thank you so much for sharing your passion. The hard work and time you put into the research is truly appreciated.” – Jackie

“I want to thank you for the visit you organised last week of the Jewish cemetery of Hong Kong. My wife and I found your explanations and numerous anecdotes fascinating.” – Fabrice

“I would just like to drop you a big THANK YOU for taking time yesterday and doing the tour for the public on a Sunday. It was very informative and it was such a valuable lesson for me. I will definitely take my nephew when he’s older in a few years’ time. I had heard of names like Kadoorie, Sassoon, Belilios since I was a kid in HK but little did I know of the stories that lay behind them… now I know, so thank you! I’m glad that there are still people like your good self to delicate their time and effort to study, preserve and promote their own heritage and culture to the public, thanks!” – Maggie

“Thank you. I learnt a lot!” – Naomi