In The Journal of Rabbi Levy Wang much of the action pivots around the Chinese city of Kaifeng and the Jews who traveled the Silk Road to settle there in approximately 960 AD. The novel also relates the true tale of a Chinese Jew from Kaifeng named Ai Tian, who in the year 1605 traveled to Beijing and met Matteo Rici, a Jesuit priest. The original group who arrived in Kaifeng established a synagogue, and many generations later Levy Wang, who escaped to Wu Dang Mountain with the jewel from Moses’ staff in the story, was one of their Rabbi’s (that part is fiction).
The band of Jews who arrived in Kaifeng over generations intermarried with the locals, but today a small group still practice the Jewish traditions. Recently three Chinese Jews from Kaifeng joined the Israeli Army. These are the first Chinese who will serve in the Israeli Army.