Lee Diamond

Lee Diamond – A Simple Tale of Joy

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Lee Diamond – A Simple Tale of Joy

It was in Kaifeng China

Once the home of a thriving

Jewish Community

In the 12th century

 

The beautiful synagogue

Had  been long destroyed

And a Chinese hospital stood

In its place.

 

A small community of

“Descendants of the Jews”

Still exists.

They celebrate Jewish holidays

And events together.

Though they are distant in many ways

And integrated into their Chinese

Culture; though intermarried and

Far from “halachic”  observance

They strongly identify as the  “Descendants of

The Jews.”

 

An American Jewish family

Determined to celebrate their sons’s

Bar Mitzvah  at the site of the Kaifeng

Synagogue; now the courtyard of a hospital

Gathered for a Monday morning service

And Torah reading

 

We invited the

descendants of the Jews

To join us at our service.

AND THEY DID

10’s of them joined in prayer.

 

After the Torah reading

One of the young “descendants”

Asked to be called for an Aliyah

“He certainly didn’t look Jewish”

Yet his enthusiasm prevailed

 

His Chinese name meant “Joy”

And he received the Hebrew name

Of ‘Simcha”

He was called to the Torah as Simcha

And he was full of JOY

 

Two years later

As rabbi of United Jewish Congregation

Of Hong Kong

I looked out at the congregation

There before my eyes stood

A young  Asian man hardly bearded

in a “streimal”

And “capputa״

Tiny ״payot”

And “tzitzit”

A long black coat

Shukkelling and swaying

In his prayers

Like a veteran Hasid

 

BUT IN LIBERAL

Mixed seated  congregation

 

I wondered

And when the service ended

I approached this man

And introduced myself

And was addressed with the words

“Rabbi, don’t you remember me”?

“I’M  SIMCHA”

I’m learning in Lakewood To be a Jew

What A  Joy

God works in strange ways

 

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