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By 1904 about 10 Jewish families resided in Tientsin. They formally registered their community (The Hebrew Association (THA) of Tientsin - Тяньцинская Еврейская Община) with the Russian Imperial Consulate in Tientsin. 

A plot of land was acquired for the cemetery. The Jewish presence in Tientsin was formally launched. Religious worship was regularized. The community combined forces to provide assistance to those in need. This was typical of Jewish communities of that day In China. 

The 1917 revolution in Russia was the cause of the very rapid growth in the Jewish presence in Tientsin to 500-600 families. These families left Russia and managed to find their way to Tientsin via Manchuria.

Those who could afford it went on to the United States and Europe via Shanghai. 
Those, without documents or the means to travel further remained in Tientsin. Being of limited means they needed to adapt rapidly to their new surroundings.

As they settled in the community commenced a structured existence. 

In 1920 the community was formally called The Hebrew Association of Tientsin (THA) - Тяньцинская Еврейская Община. In this context the community built a synagogue, engaged a Rabbi and a Shochet, provided full religious services. The following committees were formed Social, Cultural, Arbitration, and a committee for Eretz Israel affairs It was at this time that the hospital was founded to treat Jewish patients and others of all nationalities who could not obtain medical services from other communities. A singular feature of the community was the establishment of the Benevolent Society 1n 1920 whose aim was to assist Jews in need and help them during the transition period of settling into their new environment .

The information office for Eretz Israel was established in 1921. Its name was changed in 1922 to The Zionist Organization of Tientsin. It is safe to say that all cultural activities of the Jewish community at this time were directed by one or another Zionist Organizations.

The Tientsin Jewish School was established in 1925. It provided free education in Hebrew and English to those children needing it. By 1936 the school had 110 students and 15 teachers. Most of the students, even then, received free education.

The school budget was covered through donations and the income fromthe annual new year party. In 1928 the amateur dramatic society established itself under the name of ''Kunst'' which means ''Art'' in German. This went on to become the center of the Jewish communal life including a fine club, restaurant, meeting halls, theater and of course a well stocked library The Charity Society (גמילת חסד) was established in 1931. This society provided interest free loans to the needy.

A Branch of the Women's International Zionist Organization (WIZO) set up in this year. The Revisionist youth movement BETAR was opened in 1932. It was to remain the only Jewish youth movement in Tientsin. The Jewish agency set up a permanent presence in Tientsin in 1936, but contacts commenced in 1932-3 It is to be noted that at this time all the above institutions were established and managed by Jews from Russia. Jews of other nationalities did not have a separate identity and merged seamlessly with the Russian Jews.


By 1933 it was necessary to coordinate the various activities of the community. To this end the Tientsin Hebrew Association (THA) was to be created. It was to act as central committee. The directors of THA were the presidents of the various organizations.

The THA, was to act as a central organ, and represent the Jewish Community of Tientsin. Prolonged discussions ensued and. Consensus was finally reached and in June of 1934 elections were held. It can be said that the THA started its official function from that day forward. The functions of the THA were broken down into the following committees: Religious, Cultural, Arbitration, Archival, Taxation It is interesting to note that the THA started registering births and deaths. The registration process was made with the assistance of BETAR. In 1934 The THA was broadly divided into two sections Religious, Civil Income was found to be negligible at that time and forward budgeting was not possible. This prompted the decision to impose a community tax.

The, proposition was put to the general assembly of the THA. A decision was reached, to impose the tax as of 1 April 1935 with a vote of over 50% of registered, members and it was decided that every member of the THA pay into a central fund, according to his means. To enhance its standing the tax committee consisted of the Presidents of all the sub committees. In all the committee decided on 9 tax rates ranging from 25 cents to 10 dollars per month. The THA accounts for 1934-1935 show Religious SectionаExpenses: 11,742.41 Income: $ 7,932. The Civil Section Expenses: $2.251.50 Income: $1211.50.

The overall deficit was covered by a reduction of the THA paid capital.  The Initial Board of Directors of the THA consisted of Piastunovich, L. J - President, Berman, M.P., Baeff, J, Attias, M.C., Witgob, G. M, Gutbetsal, G.L, Gershevich, L I, Zein, C J, Zolovich, J M Izgur, A C, Kaufman, L I, Lerman, F J, Morris, Joy, Manevich, M C, Pregensky A G, Slepak,I B, Stekol,A G, Topper, P L, Friedman, B M, Ferber.

The Presidium of THA was made up of the following members; Gershevich L I - Chairman of the Board and the Palestine Committee, Pecker, I B - Vice President, Slepak I. B. - Vice president and President of the Arbitration Committee, Topper, P Lаа- Hon, Treasurer, Izgur, A Cаа- Hon Secretary, Berman, K P - Hon Secretary, Manevich, M Cаа - President of the Finance Committee and Social Assistance, Morris, Joe - President of the Tax Committee, Lerman, F J - president, of the Religious Committee, Attias, M.C.- President of the House Committee, Friedman, B M - President of the Cultural Committee.

 The Revisionist Committee: Patack, O - President, Shapiro, IA - secretary, Sitsky, BA - Member.

 The Tientsin Jewish School (TJA)

 TJA was ten years old in the 1934/35 school year The aim of the school was to provide affordable Jewish and general education in English. In general terms the curriculum was based on the British Grammar School system.

The level of English was such that student were able to sit for the Cambridge oversea examinations. In addtion religion, Hebrew and Jewish culture and History were taught. From 1935 Russian was added and one of the languages of tuition. The following subjects were taught:

  • Hebrew,
  • Bible (Readingin Hebrew),
  • Jewish History,
  • English ,
  • Chinese,
  • Russian,
  • English Literature,
  • General History and the History of England
  • Geography,
  • The reading of the Bible in English,
  • Arithmetic,
  • Algebra,
  • Geometry,
  • Handicrafts,
  • Gymnastics,
  • Art,
  • Singing

From the September 1935 school year advanced Russian was introduced for students wishing to continue higher education in the Russian Language.

1934 statistics show 75% of time was spent on general subjects and 25% on Jewish themes. 
There were 95 students in 1935 of which 79 were Jewish and 16 were of other religions. The non Jewish students were of different nationalities :

  •  6 Russian 
  •  2 Tatars 
  •  4 German 
  •  1 Indian
  •  1 Armenian 
  •  1 Greek 
  •  1 British

Of the total student body, 14 received a discount of 25% of the school fee and 32 students or 33% of the total studied free of charge. That year the faculty consisted of

  • Izgur, AC, Headmaster, School Director, Hebrew and Jewish History,
  • Greenfeld, P D Ц Hebrew,
  • Bihovsky-Epstein Z Iаа- Kindergarten,
  • Kloesterboer G Ц English, Bible in English and Handicraft,
  • Baeff, C Ц English and Vocal Training,
  • Vainer, R Ц Mathematics,
  • Kabalkin, I Ц Mathematics, Art and Gymnastics, 8.ааааPelukova A.M Vocal Training and Director of the School Choir,
  • Yasacov, A C - Chinese and Russian 

The school was subsidized by the THA, The Jewish Welfare Society and the Club ''Kunst'' each contributing at least 600 dollars each The school committee was elected by the General assembly of the THA In 1934 the following were elected:

Gershevich L I Ц President and the Representative of Club ''Kunst'', Dr. Perzel MJ, head of the Teaching Committee, Schik G Jаа - Honorary Treasurer, Witgob, G. M - Hon Secretary, Izgur A C - Director of TJA, Gershevich, M I - Committee Member, Kabulianskaya - Committee Member, Jacobson, , LA - Committee Member, GreenbergЦ Committee Member. Piastunovich L Jаа- President of the THA, Baeff R. J - Committee Member, Iochvidov C H - President of the Jewish Benevolent Society.