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Chabad House: Judaism Makes Its Mark in Beijing (2)

CRI Online)  11:12, October 29, 2012

Books wait to have their secrets revealed in Beijing's Chabad House. ( Wang)

Stained glass windows portraying images of important Jewish buildings worldwide (plus one of the Great Wall -- why not?) create enough mood lighting to allow visitors to browse through a library of English and Hebrew Jewish texts. The other half of the room is designated as a Sino-Judaic museum, though for the moment it is more like a continuation of the library.

Friday and Saturday are the busy times here at the Chabad House, when people congregate to witness Shabbat rituals. After all, if God created the heavens and Earth in six days and rested for the seventh, surely us hardworking folk can accept a rule to relax a bit on the seventh day as well. Fifteen minutes before Friday evening's sunset, candles are lit (exact times available on the Chabad Lubavitch of Beijing website), followed by prayers, songs and a celebratory meal. Saturday morning continues the celebration with Shabbat services and a meal.

Saturday afternoon also creates a peak time for Cafe Miniature, tucked into the far end of the building. The cafe provides a surprisingly contemporary aspect to the Chabad House. The smell of fresh-baked bread wafts through the brightly lit room filled with red designer chairs and glass tables. Servers are friendly, and the food is all homemade (though the regular coffee is instant).

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