Joy Katzen-Guthrie's Heritage Tours of China

Six remarkable visits to China since June 2000 have taken me through many of China's beautiful and historic regions. How can I describe the magnificence and exhilaration of my visits to Beijing, Kaifeng, Luoyang, Yichang, Qingdao, Qufu, Ta'an and Tai-Shan, Shaolin, the Three Gorges, Xi'an, Guilin, Guiyang, Guizhou Province, Hangzhou, Suzhou, and Shanghai? Best by saying it was a privilege for me to share these journeys with you as tour creator and Scholar-In-Residence.

In addition to creating and serving as Scholar-In-Residence on these Jewish Heritage Tours of China, I have continued to create these tours for individuals, families, and groups of all sizes. I maintain friendships with many in China as well as those with whom I had the joy to travel. My appreciation of China has led me to continuous study of the religious philosophies and cultures of Asia, including Taoism, Confucism, Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism, and other faiths of Asia. I now share a bond with individuals from around the world who have been to and loved China - some of whom, like myself, have returned again and again. I look forward to leading groups within inland and coastal communities where Jews thrived and into remote regions where we may experience peoples relatively untouched by the changing world around them.

Through these tours, we have experienced the 5,000-year-old history of this land and its many nationalities and the Jews in China who are known to have lived in China since at least the 8th century and may have existed there as early as several centuries before the common era. For two millenia, traders, adventurers, and refugees traveled the thousands of miles of the Silk Road between the Mediterranean and China or rode ship into Chinese ports. Jewish refugees from Europe during the Holocaust were welcomed within China, which today remains one of the only nations in the world that has never persecuted Jews for their faith. These six visits to China have been a life-changing experience for me, and I know they will be for you as well. Each tour is a means of discovering how people overcome seemingly insurmountable barriers to create lifelong friendships. We join Jewish communities in China, visit historic communities and see artifacts of Jewish history. We walk today's busy alleys and thoroughfares where stateless refugees with their citizenship revoked by Nazi Germany once formed a thriving ghetto community.

Our scenic group visits the scenic tea plantations of Guilin!

I continue to assist the planning of private or group tours to China and am happy to help you create an itinerary for yourself, your family, or your group to travel at a time that is perfect for you. E-mail if you have an interest in this kind of visit to China. Regent Travel and I will make any arrangements for your travel, including special food, hotel, and schedule arrangements as needed, with carefully planned itineraries that meet your precise travel needs and interests.

Here are recent comments from travelers whom I and members of Regent Tours Beijing have assisted in creating and guiding their tours. They have been thrilled with their visits to China and their personalized and first-class guidance, and it has been our thrill to create it for them.

Date: Tues., 13 July 2010 • Yin & Joy, I just wanted to take a moment and thank you for a wonderful trip to China. All went extremely smoothly and we all had a wonderful time. I especially want to point out that our guide in Beijing, Macy, was fantastic … Our experience was outstanding! Great trip! ~Howard Miller, St. Petersburg, FL

Date: Fri., 13 Nov 2009 • All: Our journey is now over except for the memories and photos. We have returned home after five most wonderful weeks. The trip could not have been better. Everything far exceeded our expectations. June and I want to thank you for all the hard work you put into making this the most enjoyable, interesting, and educational vacation we have ever taken. I can't say enough and will be glad to give you a reference anytime one is needed. I've attached a picture you might enjoy seeing. Once again, cudos to you all and thanks.~Irwin F. Harris, Austin, TX

Date: Thurs., 22 Oct 2009 • Yin: Just want to thank you for a wonderful few days in Bejing. You made it an unforgettable experience. Also, just as important, we want to thank you for finding us a guide from the Jewish Institute in Shanghail, especially on such short notice. His knowledge greatly enhanced our visit to Jewish Shanghai. ~Irwin F. Harris, Austin, TX

Date: Sun, 18 Oct 2009 • Coco: Thank you for all your help. Richard, the Guide, was wonderful. Mr Wong, the driver, was excellent. The entire tour of Beijing was wonderful! Warm wishes, Rabbi Dov Peretz Elkins, Princeton, NJ

Date: Sun, 18 Oct 2009 • Joy: We're on our way tomorrow to Xi'an. The trip has been wonderful. Everything is working out so well and we're having a wonderful time discovering so many new things. Thank you for your help in putting this together. ~Irwin F. Harris, Austin, TX

Date: Wed., 7 Oct 2009 • Joy, I have been meaning to send you a note to let you know we thoroughly enjoyed our trip. Everything was first class, and the guides were fantastic. The food situation worked out very well, as all the guides knew where to take us. In some cities, there was only one Buddhist vegan restaurant (Xi'an and Chengdu), but these were great restaurants. And Anna in Beijing was great, having a list of 15 places we could eat. The ones we went to were all good. I want to say again the guides were uniformly fantastic, taking care of everything we needed and going out of their way to make sure we had what we needed. There was Benny in Hong Kong ... very intent on getting us where we wanted to go. And Rosie in Guangzhou, coordinating with her driver to get us to family villages and actually meet a relative. And Anna in Beijing. A lot of fun and eager to help. And Ryan in Xi'an ... eager to help find a place to sketch in the Terra Cotta Warrior exhibit. And he got us a free upgrade in the hotel to a fantastic suite (complete with Mah Jongg room already set for players). And Melissa in Chengdu, taking us directly to the panda reserve and helping the restaurant understand that we needed to bring home food with us on Friday evening for our lunch on Saturday. She needed to return to her village that night, but she stayed long enough to get the food ordered properly. And Gom, who walked around with us in Chengdu on Saturday afternoon and drove us to Chongqing to the boat on Sunday (with two stops along the way). And, of course, the cruise got us to see the eclipse while standing at the Three Gorges Dam. That was the best!! And Lisa, the guide at Yichang who got us to the airport, with a stop in town since we had extra time. She was as helpful as she could be. And, of course, Leon in Shanghai, who told us many interesting stories of Jewish life there. And back to Anna in Beijing for the walking tour in the Forbidden City and then to Jinshaling/Simitai on the Great Wall. What a walk!! When I saw the swinging footbridge at the end, I wondered how I got into an Indiana Jones movie, but I survived and the scenery was fantastic. Our days were productive and everything we did was good. ~Sheldon Waxman, Livingston, NJ

Date: Wed., 15 July 2009 • Joy, we're having a great trip. The days are full of things to do. The guides are excellent. We are finding Buddhist vegan food in each city, including Xi'an, where we are now. There is a restaurant near the Big Goose Temple that the guide here found for us. Also, the Beijing guide had made a list of about 15 restaurants there and some were very conveniently located. In Guangzhou we found one and were able to eat at Chabad for the other meals, right next to hotel. In Hong Kong, the kosher restaurants were good. Vegan food is very cheap and filling. Through cleverness of the guide in Guangzhou and very lucky, we found a second cousin who knew the names of San Francisco relatives. ~Sheldon Waxman, Livingston, NJ

Date: Sun, 11 May 2008 08:47:18 -0400 • Dear Joy, I often think about the wonderful time I had on our trip to China. Our guides were excellent. Fine hotels and great Chinese food. Fun shows, too. Thanks to everyone for a beautifully planned trip - even the weather cooperated. I feel so fortunate for this great experience. (I was especially fascinated by Shanghai, its history, architecture and ambience.) Thanks again. Sincerely, Roz Sedlezky, Sarasota

Date: Thu, 17 Apr 2008 17:17:15 EDT • I had a wonderful time and I am thrilled that I actually went and that I did it with you and your arrangements. I have beautiful memories of all the places we went to and of the guides and your singing on the way to Kehillat Beijing and of the delicious oily vegetables, etc. My cholesterol levels dropped, probably from little meat and more walking, and my other blood tests came out perfect, I'm sure, due to the trip. My photos are fun to watch and I'm still unsure of all the labels I should be putting on, but each and every day was delightful and full of discoveries. You are an inspiration that we should pursue our curiosities and learn all we can of a foreign culture. Thanks so much for everything. Welcome home and have a peaceful, happy pesach. Fondly, Linda Borsykowsky, New York

It is always my desire to help you create a specialized trip of your lifetime, filled with personal moments that will light up your life.

Please contact me at to plan your unique visit to China.

Amazing Experiences

I hope you will want to see China through these kinds of unique and lasting discoveries. If so, we have the chance to travel together. My deepest thanks to all who have expressed their enjoyment of this site and what it has meant to them in planning their travels and gaining a better understanding of the Chinese people as well as their connection to the Jewish community.

The tour pages of this site remain as a resource to you. Online Photographic tours that were on the site previously are being converted to beautiful slide shows that will make it much easier for you to access and navigate the site. They are located in the Tour Gallery of the site, which now contains several first slide shows while many more are being created. Links, history, tour recollections, and testimonials are easy to locate.

Joy Katzen-Guthrie

Click to Visit Traveler Comments & TESTIMONIALS
Click to Visit Joy's Spectacular Gallery of PHOTOGRAPHS FROM CHINA
Click to Visit Joy's Compilation of CHINA'S JEWISH HERITAGE
Click to Visit Joy's Compilation of JEWISH CHINA RESOURCES
Click to Read about Heritage Tour Scholar-In-Residence Joy Katzen-Guthrie.
Click to Read What Is Extraordinary About Regent China Travel?
Click for any additional information or questions about this tour or any of our tours to China

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Contact Joy Katzen-Guthrie • Katzen and Guthrie Associates, Inc. • 727-785-4568  (Tampa Bay Area)  •