Speaking in fluent Mandarin, a texas Rabbi has taken the sole responsibility of tackling Jewish stereotypes by educating Chinese audiences on TikTok.
Rabbi Matt Trusch, with his two degrees in Asian studies and 15 years of his life spent living and working in China, now has a popular TikTok account where he educates Chinese audiences about antisemitism and other Jewish tropes found to be offensive.
Posting regularly, Trusch passionately shares Jewish parables from the Talmud and the Tanya, relating them to the life and business lessons they may offer Chinese viewers. With nearly 180,000 followers, his videos have accumulated nearly 700,000 likes.
This being said, the Rabbi has to face loads of hateful comments himself. On one of his most viral videos, which has over 7 million views and explains how China helped give refuge to Jews escaping Europe during World War II, comments laced with antisemitic tropes seem to outnumber the ones thanking Trusch for sharing Jewish culture and wisdom.
“You don’t want to take my money, do you?” reads one top comment. “Wall Street elites are all Jews,” another comment says; others call Jews “oily people,” a play on the Chinese characters that spell out the word for “Jew.”
It is a common notion in China that the Talmud is not a Jewish religious text but a guide to getting rich. The belief has spawned an entire industry of self-help books and private schools that claim to reveal the so-called money-making secrets of the Jews, and Rabbi Trusch wants to eliminate these claims one TikTok at a time.
Trusch’s mission since he started posting on Douyin was to connect Chinese people with Jewish culture and wisdom, especially given China’s ongoing COVID-19 restrictions that prevented cultural exchange.