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

Project allofasuddenpartJew: 2011 Recap

Earlier this year, over a family gathering in San Jose, I learned that I supposedly had an ancestor who was Jewish.  Great-great-grandfather to be exact mentioned by my mother’s cousin in passing to me. I asked why this was not mentioned earlier, and the response was it was not that important.

I have always been fascinated by different cultures, history, and diversity so it wasn’t long before I became completely absorbed, curious, and obsessed in learning the following 3 things:

  • Genealogy and Family History – confirming, validating, and researching my ‘Jewishness’ through traditional family history research and DNA testing
  • Jewish Culture and History (and how it relates to China) – going to many Jewish events, meeting Jewish people, and reading about Jewish history and culture in and outside of China
  • International Relations – furthering cultural and historical understanding between two groups without politics nor religion.

While I understand my story is still a hypothesis awaiting confirmation; records were not kept to today’s standards and difficult to trace in some areas, my curiosity has not waned but only strengthened over time. I have a soft spot for Jewish (and Japanese) people! Since then I have created three items to help further my learning and goals.

  • Blog – allofasuddenpartJew (29 posts in ~3-5 months)
  • Facebook – page under the same title (272 Fans in ~ 3 months)
  • Twitter – account under the same title (153 Followers in ~ 3 months)

With a recent move to Hong Kong, quitting a job I wasn’t passionate about, and starting grad school, I hope to make 2012 great! I want to touch more Jewish/Chinese fans, non-Jewish/Chinese fans, and spread more cultural understanding and diversity awareness.

**Any mention of Jews and Chinese in this blog solely refers to the cultural and historical aspects of both groups.  I am apolitical and agnostic and do not plan to be political nor religious in the future.**

International Moves are Challenging – No Jews here.

WARNING: The below post has nothing to do with Chinese nor Jewish relations, history, nor genealogy. It is a random posting of my rantings about the troubles of an international move and all the headaches that comes along with it.

So, I am leaving on a jet plane this Friday, 25 of November. To be precise, my flight on Cathay Pacific leaves at 12:05 a.m., right after the American holiday of Thanksgiving. This year I’m thankful that I finally got the resolve to move to Hong Kong to embark and fulfill the vision I have for myself and my life in Asia.

Of course I have taken care of the most important tasks (fun) first such as:

1. Update all my social media accounts to say that I now live in Hong Kong
2. Seeing my San Francisco friends one last time and request that they come visit sometime in the future
3. Updated all my personal time instruments (i.e. iPad, phone, and laptop) to the Hong Kong timezone to help myself adjust ahead of the curve. (A great tip of mine for people trying to adjust to jet lag)
4. Connected with my Hong Kong friends to plan outings upon my arrival

The least important tasks (boring) are difficult to start such as:

1. Packing 2 massive suitcases, which I hope won’t be over 50 pounds each
2. Figuring out what clothes and accessories I really need in Hong Kong, need vs want
3. Exchanging and transfer my USD to HKD, Opening an account in HK

I have read packing tips from Real Simple (highly recommended) and some HK budgeting tips from Bootsnall to facilitate the boring tasks.  I booked a bed for my first four nights through Airbnb (another highly recommend) with an Australian couple in Central.  This will be my first time living with Australians in Hong Kong, should be an interesting experience.

I close with the below night scene of Hong Kong. Beautiful isn’t it?!  Asia’s World City here I come! Ya’ll come visit!! Until next time, from Hong Kong.

xoxo

Image Source: http://www.discoverhongkong.com

Update from allofasuddenpartJew: Onwards to Hong Kong

Dear readers,

Thanks for following my journey thus far. I have some news to share with you all. I have left my 9-to-5 corporate job to pursue a graduate degree and my dream life in Hong Kong effective end of November. This move is based in the following rationale:

1. Passion for Asia’s growth and region
2. Long term desire to live and work in Hong Kong (One of my favorite cities in the world)
3. Proximity to China (Shanghai, my birth city) and better access to do my Jewish genealogy research
4. To be where the action is in the world right now
5. Promote Chinese and Jewish understanding from the East

I hope you will continue to follow me.

Xoxo
Xiaoming aka allofasuddenpartJew

To birthright or not to birthright, that is the question.

At my regular job in the finance industry, I have a lot of Jewish or quasi-Jewish co-workers.

In passing conversation with our Intern one day, whose dad is Jewish, mentioned to me the Taglit-Birthright Israel organization.  I googled it when I got home and below is a quick summary from their site of what they do:

“Taglit-Birthright Israel provides a gift of first time, peer group, educational trips to Israel for Jewish young adults ages 18 to 26 from around the world. Taglit Birthright Israel is a unique partnership between private philanthropists through The Birthright Israel Foundation; the people of Israel through the Government of Israel; and Jewish communities around the world (North American Jewish Federations, Keren Hayesod and the Jewish Agency for Israel).”

Well, I am not in their age range but I did discover “some” Jewish heritage, however small… I wonder if I should apply? How do you prove if you have Jewish heritage or not, I certainly do not look Jewish.

Next steps, I will be checking out their events and going to meet some people involved with this organization.  More to come!

Chinese and Jewish Mahjongg Wars…

So, another week has gone by and my Jewish event of the week was, believe it or not MahJongg!

The AJC of San Francisco and the AsianWeek Foundation co-hosted a Chinese Jewish MahJongg event that I attended last night.

There were about 150 total players. It was my virgin Mahjongg experience, believe it or not. I was at the learner’s table and met a few interesting Chinese and Jewish beginners. We had a wonderful teacher named Toby Alice Salk. She taught the basics: i.e. the pieces involved, the rules, and the American or Jewish style of play. Jewish style mahjongg was a bit of surprise so I ask how it made it to the USA. Apparently, a business man brought it back to NYC from China back in the 1800’s. I really need to catch up on history – which I find so fascinating. We also got to preview a short documentary called “Tiles that Bind” that documents Jewish and Chinese ladies playing mahjongg together.

Until next time….;)

Crashed the San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society member meeting…

Being on Twitter really pays off! I found Linda Frank author of After the Auction on Twitter. Saw her tweet about her talk at the SFBAJGS so I decided to pay a special visit. The meeting was held at Beth Israel in South San Francisco, a drive I have taken before to a nearby golf course.

As soon as I walked into the meeting, I got stares and questions of “are you in the right place?” I am Asian female so definitely looked a bit out of place….in a Synagogue. After I explained my reason for being there “searching for a Jewish great great grandfather”…I was welcomed with open arms.

Some random observations:

1. Only Asian

2. Youngest attendee by at least about 15-20 years (I always knew I’m mature for my age)

3. Everyone is passionate about Jewish genealogy

I walked away with so many resources and even got invited to a American Jewish Committee of San Francisco Board Meeting on my birthday on July 18 by Linda Frank. I accepted the invitation immediately. There is also a Jewish library that I will need to check out….

Everyone that I have met so far has been so supportive of my search….can’t wait to dive in more deeply.

Thank you also to Janice Sellers for sending along the contact info of Peter Nash, a famous China Jews expert…

Until next time…:)

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