We all know that moving to a brand new city without family or friends can be quite intimidating. For those of you that have come to Shanghai but left behind your much beloved bubbies (grandmas) at home with noodle koogle, white fish salad, lox and bagels, don’t fret: We’ve found a community that will make you feel as if you never left home.
Shabbat at Beit Menachem Synagogue, a Chabad in Shanghai, is an experience to remember. “Chabad” is the name of one of the major Hasidic movements in Orthodox Judaism, and there are “Chabad Houses”, which serve as both educational and observance centers, all over the world.
Rabbi Shalom D. Greenberg, who heads the Chabad in Shanghai, is one of those warm and inviting people that makes sure to introduce himself to the new and unfamiliar faces and strives to make them feel welcome in this community. Services begin ten minutes after the lighting of the candles and suddenly your ears are filled with prayer songs, some familiar and some not. No matter your affiliation with the synagogue, knowledge of Hebrew and level of commitment, it is open to all. This is part of the culture of Chabad: creating an inclusionary atmosphere where everyone can feel comfortable.
After the service is over, the tables are brought out and the buffet area is set up withan array of tasty traditional Jewish foods. The dinner consists of fish, vegetable salads, soup that make us nostalgic for the Passover Seders of childhood, as well as kosher meat. It’s a night of constant laughter, singing, and chatting with people from around the world. You can feel free to join this unique Jewish community within Shanghai whether you’re just passing through or staying for awhile.
To attend services on Friday nights please visit their website and reserve a spot. Students, children, and English teachers eat free. Prices vary for members and non-members.
Shanghai Jewish Center
Shang-Mira Garden, Villa #1.
89 South Shui Cheng Lu b/w Yan’an Xi Lu and Hongqiao Lu