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Chinese Americans Respond to Jewish Letter of Support Amidst Covid-19 by Delivering Thousands of Surgical Masks

Ties between Chinese and Jewish groups have existed for over a millennium. Jewish Americans have dined in Chinese restaurants on Christmas since the late 19th century. For a thousand years, a Jewish Chinese community in Kaifeng has struggled to retain Hebrew language skills and knowledge of the Torah. Today, World War II refugees continue to visit and express gratitude to Shanghai, the city that accepted more than 20,000 Jews during the Holocaust–more than any other city in the world.

On February 21, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) released a letter expressing support for Chinese Americans in response to rising hate crimes and anti-Chinese sentiment.

“We pledge to help ensure that Chinese people feel safe and supported, and to combat attacks and stereotyping on social media. We know from history, ours and yours, that such fearmongering can be devastating.”

Seventy-four Jewish organizations endorsed the letter. “Please do not hesitate to call upon us at any time,” it said.

In response, Chinese American organizations tapped into their resources and delivered thousands of personal protective equipment to Jewish communities, reported the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

United Chinese Americans donated 6,000 masks to the Jewish Social Services Agency in D.C.; The Committee of 100, a Chinese American leadership group, provided 1,200 PPE gowns to the Jewish Family and Children’s Service in Boston; and the Bank of China-America presented 12,000 masks to Jewish retirement homes in New York.

“They have many more connections in China than we do and they have ways of procuring PPE that many Jewish organizations do not and can help on an ongoing basis,” said JCPA president David Bernstein.

The president of United Chinese Americans, Haipei Shue, had no hesitations about this decision. “There are so many times that the Jewish community has shown up for us, this is really nothing.”

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