My Tikvah Center Application for Jewish Study

February 15, 2014 is known to the world as the day after Valentine’s Day. To me it was the deadline to apply to study at the Tikvah Institute. This past Saturday, I compiled my application into one PDF file that included my CV, a personal statement, an essay on the 20th century figure whom I admire, and my thoughts on a significant challenge faced by the Jewish people. I logged into the Tikvah website, attached my supporting documents, swallowed and pressed send.

According to the Tikvah Fund website, “The Tikvah Fund is a philanthropic foundation and ideas institution committed to supporting the intellectual, religious, and political leaders of the Jewish people and the Jewish State.” The Tikvah Center for study is based in New York City, in midtown Manhattan. I discovered this learning treasure trove a little over two years ago, when I googled for ‘Jewish learning’. At the time, I had just started writing this blog and was relocating to Hong Kong, so I thought I would wait before I applied. Now, more than two years later, I feel more than ready to tackle New York City and the intellectual rigor and challenge of this program.

I applied for three Spring Advanced Institutes. My first choice is the Jewish Idea of God, followed by The Future of the Family and War and Human Nature. Three incredibly interesting topics in my opinion. I also plan to apply for the summer semester as well. Topics like Is Judaism a Religion?, Jews, Power, and the Bible, Reason, Revelation, and Jewish Thought, Zionist Statesmanship: Ben-Gurion and Begin, Divine Justice and Human Creativity  in Jewish Literature, and The Rabbinic Mind and Divine Law. There, I just listed all of them! :D

Will keep you guys updated on my progress!

Keep fingers crossed for me that I will be accepted!
love,
Xiaoming

Yom Tov – Tu B’Shvat

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Thanks to Chabad’s creative photo, I like to wish everyone a Yom Tov Tu B’Shvat.

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Jewish Shanghai: The Moller Villa Story

If you plan to visit Shanghai, there is a building that you should not miss. Its official name is Moller Villa, named after Eric Moller, a Jewish resident of Shanghai in the early 20th century. When I had a seventeen-hour layover last week, I decided to stay there overnight—it has since been converted into a hotel. Located on South Shanxi Road in the former French foreign concession area, Moller Villa is a sight for sore eyes. It may seem out-of-place to the virgin traveler. In the midst of modern apartment buildings, shopping centers, and a lot of traffic noise—this villa is a tranquil place of relaxation.

According to local legend, Eric Moller built this Villa for his beloved daughter in 1936 after she had conveyed her dream of having a fairytale castle. Moller was a Swedish-British merchant who first came to Shanghai in 1919. After much success in the shipping business, he became well-known in Shanghai elite circles and a member of the notorious Shanghai Race Club. He invited many different architects to design the Villa to become his own private residence. The end product is a hybrid-fusion style that includes Western and Eastern architectural elements.

The building today still stands in its original condition, protected by the local Shanghai government. At the entryway to the villa, there is a plaque that explains its current status in Shanghai. The plaque states in English and Chinese that it is an “Important Monument under the State Protection.” Not bad for an almost-decade old foreign structure. The villa itself is a mix of browns and reds intermixed with a layered-brick feel. The pointed rooftops give the boxy rectangular structure a much-needed softness by drawing the eyes from the ground to the Shanghai skies. Two traditional Chinese lions flank the front steps providing an interesting mix of East and West styles.

A small garden covers the area to the mansion’s immediate side and back area—easily accessible from the front door and back porch of the restaurant area. A small creek flows through the miniature garden flanked by tall hundred-year-old trees. The wooden foot-bridge takes you from one side of the garden to the other—transporting you through the world the Moller family built.

Once you step inside the main hotel area, if feels as if you are living in Europe. The tall stained-glass windows are covered in nature designs of greens, pinks, and shades of gray and black. Elaborate crystal chandeliers reflect the outside sunlight throughout the check-in area. Lush upholstered couches lay opposite of the wooden check-in area—welcoming guests to a villa fitting for a gentleman and lady. Photographs of the Moller family, his horseracing, and the villa’s stories in Shanghai history line the walls.

Next time you are in Shanghai for a 24-hour layover or longer ;-), try exploring Moller Villa and add it to your itinerary. It is a gem of a sight for the modern age.

Moller Villa — A Small Piece of Jewish Shanghai

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A quick greeting from Shanghai, China! I’m checking out the Moller Villa part of Jewish Shanghai.

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Project allofasuddenpartJew: 2013 Recap

As the year 2013 comes to a close, I would like to reflect on the milestones this year for allofasuddenpartJew. From Limmud conferences in Hong Kong and Shanghai, traveling to Japan to visit the Chabad house, and walking around Jewish Lower East Side–I feel I have furthered my understanding of the Jewish people and beliefs.

  • Limmud - A Hebrew word that means learning, I attended my first Limmud conference in Hong Kong and Shanghai. Made a few valuable connections from the Jewish philanthropy and non-profit space.
  • Jewish Japan – Traveled to Japan (My new favorite Asian country) and spent Sukkot at the Chabad House of Tokyo. Many Japanese people are interested in Jewish people. Some Japanese believe they are descendents  of the lost tribes.
  • Melton Mini-School – After an initial Intro to Judaism course at the United Jewish Congregation of Hong Kong, I felt I needed to go deeper. I enrolled in the Melton Adult Mini-School course at Ohel Leah Synagogue and have enjoyed the teachings from Rabbi Oser.
  • Chinese Studies - Continued my studies in relevant topics. I started to pursue an MA in Chinese Studies at CUHK to deepen my knowledge of China.
  • Jewish New York City - Visited NYC to visit Jewish enclaves like Williamsburg and the Lower East Side.

I have to be honest, I haven’t been keeping up with my social media as much as I would like. My social media stats for as of December 2013 are:

  • Blog – allofasuddenpartJew (83 posts)
  • Facebook – page under the same title (480 Fans)
  • Twitter – account under the same title (285 Followers)

Looking forward to 2014–the year of the horse in Chinese astrology. The horse is a highly respected animal in Chinese culture–one that symbolizes strength, agility, and endurance. Even the German carmaker BMW’s brand name in China is 宝马(Baoma), which literally means treasure horse, contains the character for horse.

Happy New Year 2014!

Chinese Year of the Horse

Chinese Year of the Horse

Jewish Lower East Side

Eldrige Street SynagogueSynagogue and MuseumAnother AngleClose upIntroduction of buildingAngel Orensanz Foundation
Inside OrensanzBluish LightsYours Truly InsideFrom the second floorInside the SukkaChabad of Tokyo Sukka Mobile
Front ViewInside the Chabad HouseView from outside inBooks at the Chabad HouseHarp Emblem of King DavidMe at City of David sign
Live Archeology at City of DavidTower of David at NightChandelier Fixture inside Tower of DavidOld City ArchwayOld City architecture close-upView of City of David at hills of Jerusalem

allofasuddenpartJew1′s photostream on Flickr.

Starting at Katz Deli, I walked around the Jewish areas of the Lower East Side in New York City. So much history and so much to see, so little time.

Merry Christmas to Christian friends worldwide

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On this Christmas Day, December 25, 2013, I would like to reflect on the power of one man’s birthday. Jesus was a great Jew who brought together many people to the one true G-d.

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