In Person

The Beijing Haggadah: A Meeting of Two Ancient Cultures, Jewish and Chinese

April 7, 2023
4:00 - 5:30 PM EDT

Join Leon Fenster for a deep dive into his acclaimed “Beijing Haggadah”, the first of a series of vibrantly illuminated Haggadahs that will be based on specific cities and communities. The Haggadah is a traditional book used by Jews each year at the festival of Passover. This time, Leon has used illustration, typography and commentary to situate it in historical Beijing, a historically radical act!  Leon will have James Heimowitz, President of China Institute join him in the conversation.

This program is made possible through the support of the Chinese International Education Foundation, and generous supporters of China Institute.
This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.


Leon Fenster

Leon Fenster, an artist from London, depicts the city through a distinctly exilic lens: a unique form of visual story telling which re-imagines and reinvents the familiar, taking the viewer on dream-filled journeys into worlds known and unknown. Leon is perhaps best known for exploring a city and then representing the entire city in a single artwork. Or, similarly, interviewing a family and then depicting their entire world in a single artwork.

For many years Leon devoted himself to designing, writing, drawing and lecturing on the topic of architecture as a means of telling our shared stories. These explorations are evident in his subsequent art.

He is currently engaged in creating commissioned artworks in Mexico City, New York, London and Taipei.

James Heimowitz

James Heimowitz is the President of China Institute. He has 40 years of experience in building trust and understanding between China and the U.S.  James went to China as a student before it opened to the West, and has formed deep relationships in China over several decades. His background, education, and on-the-ground professional experience have come together to create a unique insight into some of the country’s most important initiatives. Prior to joining CI, James spent nine years at Hill + Knowlton Strategies where he was CEO for Asia, and Chairman, China.

He has also held multiple positions of leadership in Finance and Consulting, serving as Managing Director for Corporate Strategy at Bankers Trust/Deutsche Bank, and Manager of the Boston Consulting Group’s World Wide Asia Team. Earlier in his career at Chase Manhattan Bank, he led a successful re-entry to China, opening a representative office in Shanghai and a branch in Tianjin – the bank’s first in China since 1949. James is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and sits on numerous boards of companies in the media, finance, technology and China sectors.

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