About Us

The United Jewish Congregation of Hong Kong is a welcoming, Progressive synagogue that is home to a diverse community of Jews from around the world.

We are committed to seeking a relationship with God through community prayers; life-long Jewish learning; observance of mitzvot; and the pursuit of Tikkun Olam.

We seek to deepen our Jewish identity and build a meaningful relationship with Israel; promote the growth of Progressive Judaism throughout Asia; and create enduring connections with current and former members around the world.

Who We Are

We are a warm, welcoming, vibrant congregation, with adults and children actively engaged in all aspects of the community. The United Jewish Congregation (UJC) is an extremely diverse community, reflecting many traditions from around the world.

While UJC members come mainly from North America, we are also thoroughly international, including members from Israel, Britain, France, Germany, Portugal, Switzerland, The United States, Canada, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, Korea, China, and Thailand. Some UJC members have lived in Hong Kong for decades, while others are in Hong Kong for two to five years.

Our membership is comprised mostly of business people, attorneys, journalists, teachers, and academics, and includes many families with school-age children, as well as many young professionals.

Our History

The United Jewish Congregation of Hong Kong (UJC) was founded in 1988 by three long term residents of Hong Kong, Robert Green, Charles Monat, and Robert L. Meyer. Their objective for the UJC was “to advocate the cause of Reform, Liberal, Conservative, and other non-Orthodox Jews in Hong Kong” and to encourage their participation in Jewish life to the fullest.

The UJC grew rapidly from a few dedicated people to be a Jewish congregation in Hong Kong with about 170 family and single memberships. Since its inception, the UJC has been affiliated with the World Union for Progressive Judaism and is now a key congregation in the Union for Progressive Judaism and Asia Progressive Judaism.

In the Congregation’s early years, lay leaders and other volunteers conducted services, organized programs and taught classes, mainly using their homes and offices.  From 1989-92, Rabbi Samuel Joseph, Professor of Jewish Religious Education, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, Ohio, came to Hong Kong to lead High Holiday services. He served as the UJC’s first Rabbi in residence during 1993-94. In those days, the UJC had no home —- regular Friday evening Shabbat services and dinners were held at the American Club and the High Holidays Services were held in the modest auditorium of the China Fleet Club. Yet, under Rabbi Joseph’s energetic leadership, the UJC grew and members were offered a full congregational schedule including Shabbat and holiday services, life cycle celebrations, and a variety of special programs.

The UJC’s activities continued to expand throughout the 1990s. The move to a permanent home in the Jewish Community Centre (JCC) in 1995 gave a new impetus to the UJC’s expansion. It gave the congregation its first permanent sanctuary in the JCC auditorium as well as administrative and rabbinical office space, and housing for the UJC Rabbi in the adjoining residential complex.

As a consequence, the Congregation grew and strengthened its position in the Jewish community under the guidance of Rabbi Howard Kosovske (1994-96), Rabbi Levi Weiman-Kelman (1996-97), Rabbi Joel Oseran (1997-98), Rabbi Jordan Cohen (1998-2001), Rabbi Lee Diamond currently our Rabbi Emeritus (2001-2004), Rabbi Michael Schwartz (2004-2006) and Rabbi David Kopstein (2006-2007). Rabbi Stanton Zamek joined the congregation in 2008 and serves as The UJC’s spiritual leader.

Asia Progressive Judaism
World Union for Progressive Judaism
Union for Progressive Judaism

Since its inception, The UJC has been a member of the World Union for Progressive Judaism, which is the international umbrella organization of the Reform, Liberal, Progressive, and Reconstructionist movements representing over 1.8 million Jews in 50 countries, and the Union for Progressive Judaism  which represents the 27 WUPJ member congregations in Australia, New Zealand, and Asia.

The UJC is one of the founding communities of  Asia Progressive Judaism (APJ). With the growth of Progressive Judaism in Asia, there was a desire for an organization that brought together the diverse communities in the region, enhanced cooperation, and capitalized on the communities’ unique strengths. APJ communities are found from India to Japan and represent a broad spectrum of Jewish observance. In addition to providing a forum to share resources and provide support when needed, APJ programs include an annual Summit, Young Professionals gatherings, and twice a year Teen Shabbatonim. UJC members regularly take part in APJ programs and The UJC has hosted the annual APJ Summit several times.