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Trade has been just as much of a driving force of migration in Jewish history as persecution and antisemitism.
The Silk Road trade brought Jews to Kaifeng, China in the early 12th century. For 800 years this community maintained both economic and religious contact with the rest of world Jewry, which in turn allowed them to maintain their own Jewish practices. When modern European innovations in oceanic shipping displaced the Silk Road, the Jews of Kaifeng lost touch with the global Jewish community and declined rapidly due to assimilation and intermarriage. While there has been a kind of Jewish revival in this community, they are subject to persecution by the Chinese government as an illegal religion.
The overseas trade of goods across the Indian Ocean from India to Arabia brought Jews to India, perhaps as early as the 1st century CE. Hindu rulers did not treat Jews as a threat to their religion. In the southern Indian coastal state of Kerala, an especially large and prosperous Jewish community developed in the port city of Cochin. Unlike virtually all other waves of “mass” aliyah in Israeli history, the Jews of India in the 20th century did not face anything like the religious discrimination experienced by Jews in Christian and Muslim lands. Rather, they were pulled by their incredible love of Israel and ardent Zionism.