Source: The Daily Beast
SHANGHAI—Before he starts his walking tour of Jewish Shanghai, Dvir Bar-Gal warns his audience that they will be disappointed.
“Do you want to see,” he’ll start, before finishing the question with “a Jewish cemetery?… The shadow left by a long-gone mezuzah?… A once-thriving synagogue?”
At first, the tourists forget Bar-Gal’s advice. They respond eagerly to his questions: “Yes! Yes! We’d love to see that!” They soon learn that Bar-Gal’s standard response, delivered in his gruff, Israeli-accented English, is always “Forget about it.”
Most of this history has been destroyed, knocked down, paved over, carted away. The country is changing, and perhaps no city is evolving as quickly as Shanghai, which in a 30-year period has doubled its population, to about 24.1 million people, and seen mud flats and low-slung factories replaced by some of the world’s tallest buildings, creating a skyline and nightly light show that rivals that of New York City.