My kids learned in Sunday school this past weekend that today is Israel Independence Day. Although it’s far from Israel, Hong Kong celebrates this day in style at the gorgeous, 111-year old Ohel Leah synagogue.
Last year around this time, my husband Tom and I traveled to Hong Kong. On our second day there, we mostly walked up the mountain to meet my friend Erica before heading to Ohel Leah.
The synagogue had been decorated days before that for Israel Independence Day. This is what it looked like inside.
Hong Kong used to be crucial to Israelis who traveled to Asia. Back when I first lived in Hong Kong, Israel and China did not have diplomatic relations. It must have felt for Israelis the same way it felt for folks from the US who came to Hong Kong before the US and China re-established relations. Now things are different, as China and Israel not only have diplomatic relationships, but also enjoy a nice relationship.
Still, because of this photo, I think from now on I’ll always think of Hong Kong when I think about Israel Independence Day.
And one more link between Hong Kong and Israel: when Jews left China after WWII, many first stopped in Hong Kong on their way to their new home–Israel.