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! 😀

Will keep you guys updated on my progress!

Keep fingers crossed for me that I will be accepted!

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.

San Francisco Jewry: Temple Emanu-el

photo 1photo 2photo 3photo 4photo 5photo 1
photo 2photo 3photo 4photo 5photo 2photo 3
photo 4photo 5photo 1Start of Limmud ShanghaiJDC SessionNetwork Impact by Seth Cohen
Seth getting ready for interviewJDC Talk into Ohel Moshe SynagogueDestination ShanghaiOutside of Ohel RachelOhel Rachel SynagogueOhel Rachel Synagogue

allofasuddenpartJew1’s photostream on Flickr.

Temple Emanu-el. Reform Judaism

Personal Reflection on Last Week’s Horrible Events

Hi Everyone!

I’m writing to you from the midst of my final exams and term papers.  I only have 1.5 weeks to go so wish me luck. 🙂

Like most of you, I was deeply disturbed by last week’s horrible string of multiple events. Let me summarize in chronological order.  (Note: I am in Hong Kong time zone)

1. Boston Marathon Bombing – I woke up Tuesday, April 16th to a barrage of Facebook posts about a bombing at the Boston marathon. My first thought was not again, what happened this time?  Turned on the news and nothing but Boston. As the week went on, a manhunt continued for the suspects.  I followed the best I could without getting off track from my studying. At week’s end, the first suspect died and the second suspect was in custody.  Violence isn’t the answer to solve our differences people. When will this message stick. We are not cavemen, hunter gatherers nor warring nomadic tribes anymore (at least not where I am….)

2. Texas Factory Explosion – While the world’s attention was focused on Boston, a random explosion in West Texas (close to where I used to live and go to school!) happened.  Houses and business around the factory including the factory itself was flattened. The media obviously didn’t give this story as much attention as they should if the Boston bombs didn’t go off earlier in the week. I had to dig a bit deeper on the internet to learn about what truly happened. Sometimes, I feel the media twists stories to someone’s benefit. I’ve noticed that many lawyers have already pitched the victims for business. This is seems so tasteless to me.  I know lawyers need to make a living and all but at least wait until a bit after or let the victims approach you!  Also, did the workers perform regular maintenance on the factory or just let it go unchecked. I haven’t had the time to dig deep into this story-but that’s the first thought that came across my mind.

3. Letters to Obama – In the context of last week, this was also a tiny blip in the grand scheme of events.  Ricin, a type of poison, was found in letters sent to Obama.  I mean, I understand we all have political difference but we don’t need to resort to poison!! There is a thing in democracy called the debate-that’s where you should all duke it out!

4. Sichuan China Earthquake – Heading back to Asia from the West, another massive earthquake struck China. This piece of news broke out around the same time the second Boston bombing suspect was caught.  I found out through a friend’s post on Facebook. So natural disasters are also bad but do we humans have anything to do with it? We dig so many holes in the ground for subways, dig caves in mountains for mines, do they impact the environment? I’m sure it does as we are all interdependent on this earth. Something to think about.

What did you all think? Any major events impacted you recently?

Enough of my rantings or complaints! Ok, now back to studying!


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.

Xiaoming aka allofasuddenpartJew

Chinese and Chosen? Possible or not?

Thanks to Davi Cheng, Be’chol Lashon Los Angeles Regional Director, I came across an awesome site called “Chinese and Chosen” by Candy Cheng and Brad Stell. (Former Journalism students at Columbia U.)

Chinese and Chosen examines the intersections of Chinese and Jewish cultures in New York City through interfaith couples, adoptive families, and those born with duo identities. It includes an interactive timeline tracing the history of Jews in China and documented accounts of what its like to be Chinese and Jewish (at the same time). 😉

I was lucky enough to chat with Candy over the phone this past weekend to learn more about her and her mission. We will be keeping in touch in the future to do some joint projects I’m sure!

I highly recommend this site for more resources on the Chinese-Jewish connection. Until next time. 🙂

Toby’s Mah Jongg Classes — So much fun!

Ever since I met Toby at AJC’s Chinese-Jewish Mah Jongg event, I have been captivated by the art of the game.

Considering that I am Chinese, but ignorant about Mah Jongg, was not acceptable in my eyes.  With conviction, I coerced my mom to take the beginner’s course together  in Berkeley, CA.

Now Toby teaches the Jewish or American style of play, a kind of a twist on the Chinese version.  Every Wednesday evening, for 4 weeks, I get to sit with 6 other Jewish ladies learning the basics. Toby provides the refreshments, i.e. tea and cookies and is a great teacher and communicator.  My mom and I are the only ones who are not “100%” Jews at the class.

I get the feeling there is a sort of revival of Mah Jongg going on right now. When I think of Mah Jongg, I think of a more mature audience.  I hope to help change this and entice more younger generations to start cracking those tiles!  Do you know how to play?

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