Harbin, China, today the capital of Heilongjiang Province, while perhaps best known for its Ice Festival, was once known as the “Moscow of the East.” At its height it was also home to over 23,000 Jews (including the grandparents of former prime minister Ehud Olmert) who created their own rich religious, cultural and educational life.
Even though the last Jewish family left Harbin in 1963 and Judaism isn’t a recognized religion in China, two historic synagogues (the Main/Old and the New Synagogues) as well as various other Jewish institutions, have physically, in some form, seem to have stood the test of time — without Jews.
Main (Old) Synagogue
Former Jewish School
Jewish Cemetery Chapel
Former Jewish Hospital