• Author Morris Gleitzman to Visit Hong Kong

    by  • 05/03/2014 • 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)



    The Power of Art – Holocaust Survivor Sara Atzmon’s Hong Kong Exhibition

    by  • 25/02/2014 • 0 Comments

    IMG_9726                 Hair, 1996

    An exhibition preview of Surviving Evil- The Pictorial Language of Sara Atzmon was held on 25 February 2014 at the University Museum and Art Gallery of The University of Hong Kong. The exhibition was a result of the incredible collaboration of the Hong Kong Holocaust and Tolerance Center (HKHTC), the Goethe-Institut Hongkong and the University of Hong Kong Museum and Art Gallery.

    IMG_9714                 Jeremy Amias, Chairman of the HKHTC openning address


    And while Sara Atzmon's art certainly spoke for itself, she was also present to deliver a moving and powerful address that detailed her journey from her childhood in Hungary, through the horrors of the Holocaust and then ultimately to Israel. Her speech was presented in Hebrew and later translated as she explained that the language of Hebrew must be heard outside of Israel also. 

    Atzmon explained in her speech and through her art that "the pain is constantly there" and she spoke of the difficulty of openning old wounds. Her work is a haunting reminder of the devestation suffered and a powerful call for rememberance.

    IMG_9718                 Sara Atzmon

    Consul General of the State of Israel in Hong Kong Sagi Karni, in his address, reminded that our culture is built on memory. He pointed to the irony of the openning of this exhibition in Hong Kong while hundreds of copies of Anne Frank's diary have been destroyed in Tokyo. This further speaks to the importance of such an exhibition in the Far East.

    IMG_9733                  Eyes in the Wire, 1990

    Surviving Evil – The Pictorial Languague of Sara Atzmon runs from February 26th through May 4th at the University Museum and Art Gallery on 90 Bonham Road from 9:30-18:00 on Mondays through Saturdays and from 13:00-18:00 on Sundays. 






    A Glimpse of Jewish Harbin

    by  • 11/02/2014 • 1 Comment

    Harbin, China, today the capital of Heilongjiang Province, while perhaps best known for its Ice Festival, was once known as the “Moscow of the East.” At its height it was also home to over 23,000 Jews (including the grandparents of former prime minister Ehud Olmert) who created their own rich religious, cultural and educational life.

    Even though the last Jewish family left Harbin in 1963 and Judaism isn’t a recognized religion in China, two historic synagogues (the Main/Old and the New Synagogues) as well as various other Jewish institutions, have physically, in some form, seem to have stood the test of time — without Jews.

    CIMG0801              Main (Old) Synagogue

    CIMG0767              Former Jewish School


    B10 - Jewish Buildings - New Synagogue              New Synagogue

    C5 - Cemetery - Chapel                Jewish Cemetery Chapel

    C53 - Cemetery - Solomon Kadish & Girsh Kruglakov             Jewish Cemetery

    B1 - Jewish Buildings - Private Hospital                Former Jewish Hospital




    Karel Weiss Photography Collection: Old Hong Kong

    by  • 16/01/2014 • 0 Comments

    These are just a few photographs from the Karel Weiss collection (courtesy of the Hong Kong Jewish Historical Society). The photographs were taken throughout Hong Kong between the 1940s-1970s.

    Scan 57

    Scan 60 copy

    Scan 58

    Scan 60

    Karel Weiss was born on July 15, 1904. He was originally form Piestany (Postyen), Czechoslovakia and arrived in Hong Kong circa 1930 from Prague.

    KWwithDavidSassoonincenter 001

    He co-founded the Far Eastern Economic Review and also founded the Graphic Press. He wrote a book, The Hong Kong Guide, in 1955.

    He was also the purported Hong Kong bridge champion as well as the Hong Kong chess champion who taught children in the community how to play chess and often sat in the Jewish Club on Sunday mornings playing chess.

    He died on 23 June 1994 and is remembered as a devout Jew who was a daily regular at Hong Kong’s Ohel Leah Synagogue. Many can recall the sound of his cane on the stones as he slowly approached the Synagogue. 

    Music of Israelites and Jews of Africa and Asia

    by  • 07/01/2014 • 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 • 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.





    Just a photo…

    by  • 17/11/2013 • 0 Comments

    Just a photo (supplied by IsraAID) to give a face to the survivors of Typhoon Yolanda. It has now been 10 days since Typhoon Yolanda devastated the Philippines. While medical care and the distribution of medical supplies is a priority, IsraAID reports that they are also looking into addressing other needs, namely: psycho social/trauma care...

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