But assimilation eventually began to take its toll. The last rabbi of Kaifeng died two centuries ago, and by the middle of the 19th century, the community was forced to sell the synagogue, Torah scrolls and its other remaining assets.
Until today, however, there are between 500 and 1,000 identifiable descendants of the Jewish community, and in recent years an awakening has been taking place among them, as increasing numbers of young Kaifeng Jews seek to reclaim their heritage.
In October 2009, seven young men making aliyah were interviewed at Ben Gurion airport together with three of their friends who made aliyah four years earlier. These descendants of the Kaifeng Jewish community were helped in finding their new home in Israel by Shavei Yisrael, an organization that strives to extend a helping hand to all members of the extended Jewish family and to all who seek to rediscover or renew their link with the people of Israel.