• Art & Culture

    Author Morris Gleitzman to Visit Hong Kong

    by  • 05/03/2014 • Art & Culture, Books, Education, Events, Holocaust • 0 Comments

    Headshot_Morris Gleitzman1

    A few years ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing bestselling Australian  author Morris Gleitzman. While he is well known for his humourous children's books, it was the book Once that got my attention. Once is the incredibly moving fictional journey of a boy, named Felix, during the Holocaust. Once was followed by Then, Now and After

    I confess to not having read After yet but I highly recomend the series (and After is top on my reading list).  Morris G_Once

     If you are in Hong Kong, Gleitzman is leading a number of interactive sessions for children as part of the Hong Kong International Young Readers Festival 2014

    His books are yet another great way for Hong Kong students to be exposed to the lessons learned from the Holocaust.

    As for his festival appearance, on March 16- 17, it is a wonderful opportunity for students to be inspired and to learn to draw on their own personal experiences to begin writing. 

    (Photos courtesy of the Hong Kong International Young Readers Festival)



    Music of Israelites and Jews of Africa and Asia

    by  • 07/01/2014 • Art & Culture, Communities, Events • 0 Comments


    Music of Israelites and Jews of Africa and Asia is a beautiful new CD by Irene Orleansky. It is the product of a 2,700 year journey that left Jews scattered in the four corners of the earth.

    Orleansky, a singer, Chapman stick player and music producer from Israel, traveled throughout Asia and Africa with her mobile studio visiting nine communities in seven countries to explore their music. Though the original purpose of Irene’s two year journey was to showcase the diversity of Jewish music and culture, she was deeply moved by the hardship, poverty and discrimination that many of these Jewish communities encounter in their daily lives.

    She will be using the proceeds from her sales to support those communities in need.

    The story of Orleansky’s journey to Andhra Pradesh, India can be found in Issue 11 of Asian Jewish Life: Bnei Ephraim in A Musical Journey to Andhra Pradesh-Understanding the Bnei Ephraim.

    19Miriam Yacobi and Irene Orleansky in Andhra Pradesh

    To purchase this incredible musical journey, the journey of the Jewish people, please visit Irene Orleansky’s site at: http://www.ireneorleansky.com/cd-music-of-israelites-and-jews-of-africa-and-asia.html


    AJL’s Thai Spices of Chanukah: “Tom Yum” Latkes

    by  • 02/12/2013 • Art & Culture, Communities, The World • 0 Comments

    Tom Yum Latkes

    This recipe appears in Issue 13 of Asian Jewish Life. 

    "Tom Yum" Latkes (an original recipe by Allaya Fleischer)


    2 stalks of lemongrass, trimmed with dead leaves removed (alternatively, use 2 tablespoons or so of dried, powdered lemongrass)

    3 shallots, quartered

    1 teaspoon cayenne pepper or, to suit taste

    2 teaspoons paprika

    1 teaspoon ground black pepper

    1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

    2 teaspoons kosher salt

    4-5 kefir lime leaves

    1 teaspoon oil

    1 handful cilantro (optional)

    For Latkes:

    2 pounds (approximately), shredded potatoes

    2 eggs, beaten

    lemon juice

    kosher salt

    potato starch

    1) Up to a day in advance, shred 2 pounds of potatoes. Liberally sprinkle with lemon juice and kosher salt, and toss to combine. Place potatoes in a colander to drain. The lemon juice will prevent the potatoes from discoloring, and the salt will help remove moisture.

    2) For the Tom Yum paste: wash lemongrass and remove the fibrous bottom and the scraggly top portion. There should be a good 10 inches or so that is light green; this is what you want to use. Slice and place into a food processor (this can also be done with a mortar and pestle). Add peeled and quartered shallots, cayenne pepper, salt, pepper, paprika, kefir lime leaves, and sugar. Process for a few seconds at a time, scraping the sides down with a spatula. When the particles become fine, slowly drizzle about a teaspoon of oil while processing and blend until the ingredients come together into somewhat of a paste. If it’s a little lumpy, that’s okay, as long as you can’t easily distinguish one ingredient from the other.

    3) Place shredded potatoes, a few handfuls at a time, into a dish cloth and fold cloth into thirds lengthwise. Wring the cloth with potatoes inside until you’ve extracted as much moisture as you can. Set aside in a large bowl. Continue with remaining potato shreds. Sprinkle potatoes with kosher salt, to taste (about a tablespoon will do it). Add beaten eggs and about 1/4 cup of potato starch. Add Tom Yum paste from food processor, and toss to combine.

    4) In a large skillet over medium heat, add about 1/2 an inch of oil. When glistening and hot, carefully add potatoes. It’s best to spread out the piles of potatoes into uniform patties, rather than a mound. Flip latke when browned on one side, and continue browning on the other. Remove when desired crispness is achieved and drain on paper towels. Serve hot.


    Have a very Thai Chanukah from Asian Jewish Life!

    To read more from Allaya, you can also visit her blog I Speak Food.





    India Spices Limmud Up

    by  • 14/11/2013 • Art & Culture, Communities, Education, Events, Limmud, News, The World • 0 Comments

    Limmud India 2013 305

    Following a representative participation in the regional Limmud China in Beijing in 2012 and in Shanghai in 2013, the Indian Jewish community of Mumbai created their own local event in early November 2013. With the sponsorship of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), this community’s inaugural Limmud event drew in 115 adults and 17 children as registered participants. A parallel Young Limmud kept the children occupied while the adults took full advantage of the opportunity to learn, engage and socialize in the dynamic environment that they created for themselves.

    Limmud India 2013 271

    As community member and Limmud organizer Florence Haeems explains, she was interested in helping bring Limmud to the community because she was attracted to the idea of being able to present a session, participate in other sessions and then to also volunteer. And this is exactly what the Limmud experience is about. As Haeems says, “it beautifully comes together.”

    The nine individual sessions while presenting wider Jewish issues and topics, also were representative of a very distinct local flavor. Key sessions included topics such as: Healthy Jewish Cooking, a Panel Discussion on Successful Jews in Business and session on the Future of the Indian Jewish community.

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    The event was an incredible unifying force and a source of positive energy for Jewish India on both an individual and a communal level. Individual participants felt empowered by the increased sense of ownership that they gained over their own Jewish learning and were likewise inspired by truly being part of something so much greater.  

    As Nurith Samuel, another organizer explained, “I experienced Limmud in all its exuberance during the earlier half of this year at Shanghai. What I loved about Limmud was the feeling of being involved, accepted and responsible for the program, starting right at the registration desk itself! As both a participant and volunteer at Limmud, I was responsible for my own learning as well as ensuring that my co-participants and volunteers had positive learning outcomes. This feeling of being responsible for oneself as well as others in your environment pushed me into thinking about organizing a Limmud India. As part of the small Bene Israel community in Mumbai, I have come to value the idea of being responsible for others and hope that at the end of Limmud India some participants come to value this idea too.”

    Overall, Salome Abraham, JDC staff member as well as a Limmud team member/ organizer summarized, “An event like Limmud India brings together people of ages and backgrounds. For the first time, we witnessed young professionals, accomplished businessmen, children, families, and college students all together under one roof…It was a chance for this community to strengthen the network of Jewish individuals who come together from time to time to celebrate their Jewish identity and feel responsible for their people and take steps in that direction.”

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    Susan Blumberg-Kason’s forthcoming memoir: Good Chinese Wife

    by  • 30/10/2013 • AJL News, Art & Culture, Books • 1 Comment

    We can hardly contain our excitement. It is really official now. AJL’s Books Editor Susan Blumberg-Kason will need to have her own memoir Good Chinese Wife- A Cross Cultural Memoir (Sourcebooks, July 2014) reviewed in Asian Jewish Life. Her memoir is now available for pre-order on Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Good-Chinese-Wife-Cross-Cultural-Memoir/dp/1402293348). We only wish that we had a cover image to tease you with…

    This memoir traces the five years she spent trying to assimilate into a Chinese family, after jumping quickly into marriage (after only six months) with a Chinese man. But over time, she comes to revaluate what she thought it meant to be a wife, have a family, and raise a child —even if it entailed her leaving her Chinese family and moving in with her parents as a single mother at the age of 29.


    You can follow Susan on her blog at http://www.susanbkason.com.

    At AJL, we are obviously huge fans and promise that you will soon be too!

    Film as a Bridge Between Cultures

    by  • 04/10/2013 • AJL News, Art & Culture, Communities, Events • 0 Comments

    The Beijing-Shanghai Jewish Film Festival recently announced their upcoming second annual festival http://www.jfilmfestival.org.


    Festival director Eytan Tepper hopes that this festival will, “strengthen a sense of community and identity of our Jewish audience but also to serve as a meeting point of different cultures and people, were friendships are born and grow.”

    The festival opens in Beijing on October 12, 2013 where an opening reception will be followed by a screening of the film Hava Nagila (The Movie), US 2013.


    Films include Red Dream Catcher, a CCTV docudrama on the Israel Epstein story. Epstein, a journalist, joined the Communist Party, befriended Mao Zedong, and fought against the Japanese during World War II. It is the story of how a Polish Jew became a Chinese hero.


    The 13 films span various genres including documentary, docudrama, drama and the avant-garde and are from around the Jewish world.

    The Beijing festival runs through October 19, 2013. Tickets are free but reservations are required. See the festival’s website for more information or contact them via email at info@jfilmfestival.org.

    Here or There – Photographs of Israel and Macau

    by  • 24/06/2013 • Art & Culture, The World • 0 Comments

    HereOrThere_cart“I was having a deja vu of Rua da Emenda while photographing the Carmel Market. While walking along the base of Fortaleza do Monte, I thought about the walls of the Old City. Was it just my illusion? Where I see similarities, I see differences. I do not know where I am anymore. Here or There, it is hard to tell.”

    We met photographer Mina Ao back in December 2012 at Livraria Portuguesa Gallery, in Macau, during her exhibition there. Here or There is a beautiful collection of her photography from Israel and Macau created between 2007 and 2012. 

    Mina is originally from Macau, married to an Israeli and living in the United States. She feels at home in all three places as they represent different parts of her identity.

    This exhibition explores the similarities and differences between two seeminingly different cultures. It offers an insightful perspective on what it means to be be a global citizen and on the beauty of the seemingly mundane. She carefully juxtaposes images that represent each of these cultures though when she intitially photographed the scenes, she wans't looking for anything imparticular nor was she looking to eventually pair them. The collection is a work of reflection. 

    HereOrThere_coffeeb-1A look through her lens, whether you are in Macau or Israel or elsewhere, will offer the viewer a new way of seeing street scenes and every day life. It will help viewers find beauty where they live and a piece of home wherever their travels take them.


    To see more of Mina’s work, please visit: www.minaao.net and www.israelmacau.com.


    Postcards of Calcutta India Jewish Theatre

    by  • 17/06/2013 • Art & Culture, Communities, History, The World • 2 Comments


    There have been a number of recent articles on the Jews of Bollywood and even a new documentary, 'Shalom Bollywood’, that will tell their story. 

    The beautiful images here feature a rare look at Jews on the Indian stage. They are all part of Stephanie Comfort's vintage postcard collection from Calcutta India Jewish Theatre. There will be other images from this collection in the upcoming print issue of Asian Jewish Life (June 2013, Issue 12).


    A very special thank you to Stephanie for her permission to include these in AJL but especially for making her collection public. Stephanie has been collecting postcards of Jewish life, synagogues and towns from around the world for many years. Tour her incredible 15,000+ Jewish postcard collection at http://jewishpostcardcollection.com. It is truly remarkable.

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