Mon, Feb 14, 2005 - Page 2 News List

Taipei's Jewish community has deep roots

MAKING A HOME Taiwan has had a small Jewish community since the 1950s. The nation's only rabbi tells of its history and touches on links to the Holocaust


For meat to be classified as kosher, the animals must be slaughtered in a specific ritual fashion by trained specialists.

"Not everyone keeps kosher," Shapiro said.

For those who do, pork and shellfish are especially off-limits; meat and dairy are to be set apart.

According to Shapiro, a kosher meal is served on double tinfoil instead of on a plate, which may be contaminated by previously having pork served on it.

The Bible designates some animals as unclean, including pigs, rabbits and horses.

When receiving kosher inquiries from people who visit Taiwan, Shapiro sometimes recommends following a Buddhist vegetarian diet.

Hsu Yang-ya (徐央芽), the owner of the YY Steakhouse in Taichung, is one of the few chefs in Taiwan who knows how to prepare kosher food.

The restaurant was very popular among the Jewish community in Taipei until it was relocated to Taichung four years ago.

According to Hsu, his Jewish clientele has dwindled significantly over the years, as many foreign Jewish tradesmen have moved to China to seek business opportunities there.

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