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Hong Kong

HONG KONG, former British crown colony (1842–1997), S. China. The *Sassoon family arrived on the scene when Hong Kong was ceded to Great Britain in 1842. They transferred their offices from neighboring Canton to Hong Kong and helped to develop this new port. The Sassoons and the *Kadoorie brothers made it their policy to employ only Jewish managers and clerks, mainly of Baghdadi origin. The Hong Kong Jewish community was first established in 1857 and the Ohel Leah synagogue, built by Sir Jacob Sassoon, was opened in 1900. The outbreak of World War II and the consequent Japanese occupation of Hong Kong temporarily suspended all Jewish activities there. The Jewish population numbered 60 Sephardim in 1882; 100 in 1921, mainly Sephardim; 250 in 1954, half Sephardim and half Ashkenazim; 230 in all in 1959; and 200 in 1968, 70 Sephardim and 130 Ashkenazim. An honorary consul of Israel resided in Hong Kong.


I. Cohen, Journal of a Jewish Traveler (1925), 115–21. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: C.B. Pluss, A Social History of the Jews of Hong Kong: A Resource Guide (1998).