If more Chinese are able to learn about Jews and Judaism it will be thanks to an Iraqi-Jewish philanthropist whose late wife Renee was born in the Sephardi community in Shanghai. This week, Nanjing university demonstrated its gratitude by making Naim Dangoor, 97, a consultant professor - the Jewish Chronicle reports:
A delegation of professors from a leading foreign university flew to London last Friday to honour a British supporter of their country's burgeoning programme of Jewish studies.
Philanthropist Naim Dangoor, who is 97, was made a consultant professor of China's Nanjing University in an award ceremony held in his Kensington apartment.
"We are very proud that you are now one of us," Nanjing vice-president Xue Hai Lin told Professor Dangoor, newly decorated in his black and red academic robes and sporting a black mortar board with red tassel.
Nanjing's Institute of Jewish Studies opened in May 1992, just a few months after Israel and China established diplomatic relations. According to Professor Xu Xin, director of the Nanjing Institute and president of the China Judaic Studies Association, there are now around 10 Jewish studies centres in the country.
Nanjing's 800-page Chinese translation of the Encyclopaedia Judaica is the standard reference work on Judaism in the country and its other works include a how-and-why of antisemitism as well as a translation of Martin Gilbert's Atlas of Jewish History. Iraqi-born Prof Dangoor said that he was "greatly honoured" by his award, which he received along with a gold thread embroidered tapestry of a kirin, a mythical beast which signifies good luck, prosperity and a long life.