As French expands as a language spoken by Jews in Beijing, a local Jewish community center has begun offering programming specifically with the French-speaking population in mind.

Rabbi Nussin and Miriam Rodin, the newest Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries to Beijing, arrived in August to assist Rabbi Shimon and Dini Freundlich at the local Rohr Family Chabad Community Centre. Nussin Rodin, a native of Ottawa, Canada, gave his first French-only class Saturday night on the Mishnaic-era text known as Pirkei Avot, or Ethics of the Fathers.

Lucy Gutierrez, who hosted the first class along with her husband Israel, termed the subject matter "very interesting" and was optimistic about further activities for the city's French speakers.

Rodin, who does a lot of work with Jewish college students in Beijing, said that he's found a lot of students from France and Belgium who came to learn Chinese. He gives informal classes on campus and hosts students for Shabbat meals in a local hotel. He's even planning a winter-break trip.

"We have a lot of big plans," he said. "We seem to be successful and we want to keep going."