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

Hong Kong Jewry Photos

Model of the JCC Robinson PlaceInscription on Ohel Leah SynagogueStaircase down to Ohel LeahOverlooking Ohel LeahModern and OldBook of Prayer
Menorah lightedTapestryStar of DavidStained-Glass WindowsPlace markers for the Hebrew BibleWhat's in a Name
Synagogue SeatingAlterP1010153P1010152P1010150P1010149
Door entry view into the SynagogueRabbi's StudyHistory of the SynagogueEarly Jewish Life in HKView from the Jewish Community CenterMap of Jewish Migration to HK and China

allofasuddenpartJew1’s photostream on Flickr.

I recently got a VIP Tour of Ohel Leah Synagogue, United Jewish Congregation, and Jewish Community Center in Mid-Levels Hong Kong. Check out my pics!

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.**

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

An Afternoon at the Holocaust Memorial Museum

Washington D.C. is a haven for museum lovers.  There are so many types and most of them are free.

I like to introduce you to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.  It is exactly what its name implies – a living memorial to the Holocaust.

I started with the State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda exhibit that shows how the Nazi’s were able to wield and win power through the spread of their propaganda, or I call it , political marketing materials.  This exhibit combines video, art, and sound to create a compelling story of the Nazi party messaging and imagery used to influence minds.

Then, it was my turn to enter the permanent exhibition The Holocaust.  This is a very popular exhibition, so beware if you are planning a trip from March through August, you will need to get a free timed pass to enter. I was really impressed!  It was educational yet an incredibly moving experience.  While I traversed through the crowds, I pretended that I was a Jew who lived during WWII.  How would I act, feel, and do if I were faced with such hatred, atrocity, and hostility in my adopted homeland??!!!  That is a question that I can’t really answer…what would I do if I lost loved family members?!

I left the museum with a heavy heart and an etched memory of this dark chapter in human history. Let’s all work together to prevent anything like the Holocaust to happen again.  Genocide Prevention!

Disclaimer: allofasuddenpartJew is nonpartisan. Please also excuse any grammatical errors as English is not my first language and I cannot afford an editor. :)

Flashback….Growing up in Shanghai

I’ve gotten feedback from some readers that they would like to know more about my family history, where I grew up, and how I found out that I’m part “Jewish”.

Today, I am going to do just that.  I was born in Shanghai in 1981, a huge 30 years ago!  China, or Shanghai, was a much different country and city then.  We lived in the French Concession District, for those who do not know, Shanghai was divided among foreign powers earlier in the 20th century, it was the French piece.

I had a pretty normal childhood in this neighborhood.  My friends were mostly boy neighbors and I used to be such a tomboy.  I remember having bicycle races with the boys, and I used to be one of them.  I walked everywhere as my surroundings were tightly packed.  We lived in a Japanese built building converted into living quarters.  Money was very tight but my joy was our big backyard where I could run around.

Have you been to Shanghai before?

 

Disclaimer: allofasuddenpartJew is non-partisan, as of today.  I may or may not change my position depending on future learnings. Please also excuse any grammatical errors as English is not my first language and I cannot afford and editor. :)

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….;)

So that’s what that building is…the American Jewish Committee

I often walk past the American Jewish Committee on Steurt Street in San Francisco, wondering what it is.  Is it a museum? No, because it is not open to the public and you need an access card to swipe yourself in.  All my curiosity was solved this past Monday when I got the chance to attend an American Jewish Committee Board Meeting!

Thanks to Linda Frank, I got invited and was able to freely walk inside.  I met some great people there (i.e. Mervyn Danker, Director of AJC San Francisco, Professor Chen Yiyi, Director of Shanghai Jiaotong University’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Bill Epstein, President of AJC San Francisco, and last but not least Ms. Manli Ho, daughter of Chinese diplomat Ho Feng-Shan, who saved over thousands of Jews during the Holocaust by issuing them Visas to Shanghai.

The meeting was informative.  Linda Frank made a presentation on the recent AJC mission to Asia and Professor Chen Yiyi spoke about his work in China around Jewish studies.  I’m making my Jewish connections….:) My journey keeps trekking….until next time.

So…What do you do when you are dating a Jew?

According to Vikki Weiss Goldman, a friend of mine, and her book What to do when you’re Dating a Jew, there are lots of things to remember.

“Learn everything you need to know about the holidays, traditions, beliefs, and culture of the Jew you love . . . and his or her family. From what to order in a Kosher deli to what to wear to a Purim party, this book answers all the questions.”

A great reference to those who like to date inside the tribe…I highly recommend this for general Jewish Education.

Previous Older Entries

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,003 other followers