A multipurpose Jewish community center opened in Taipei on Wednesday is to be a “new hub” for Jewish culture in Taiwan while fostering exchanges with Taiwanese, the Jewish Taiwan Cultural Association said.
“We wanted to share Jewish culture, traditions, education and religion” in Taiwan and “offer a space to call home for Jewish people in Taiwan,” Taipei-based businessman Jeffrey Schwartz said of the founding of the association.
“This goes beyond cultivating Jewish culture in Taiwan,” said Schwartz, who began working on the initiative to build the center in 2018 with his Taiwanese wife, Na Tang (?娜).
Photo: Chang Chia-ming, Taipei Times
“Our goal was to integrate the strengths of Taiwanese people and the fortes of Jewish people,” he told an inauguration ceremony. “We also want all Jewish people around the world to see the value and beauty of our Isla Formosa and to facilitate opportunities for global exchanges for Taiwan.”
The 2,090m2 Jeffrey D. Schwartz Jewish Community Center, named after the founder and chief executive officer of Four Star Group Inc, houses a synagogue, a mikveh (ritual bath), a kosher restaurant, banquet rooms, a kindergarten, and a museum of Jewish art and antiquities, the association’s Web site shows.
“The community center is at the center of Taipei, providing people with an opportunity to access and understand the Jewish culture with ease,” Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) told the ceremony.
Vice President William Lai (賴清德) said that the center would help “build a bridge for communication and interaction between Taiwanese and Jewish cultures.”
It would also promote friendship between the people of Taiwan and the Jewish community, Lai said, adding that both groups cherish the values of human rights and freedom.
Israeli Representative to Taiwan Omer Caspi said that the community center is “a significant and exciting milestone in the development of Jewish life in Taiwan.”
It symbolizes the prosperity and growth of the Jewish community, which has existed in Taiwan for decades, said Caspi, who heads the Israel Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei.
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