Cover Story: Worlds Apart in Singapore
A Jewish Family Story
by Lisa Ginsburg
My grandmother, Annetta Ginsburg, was a captivating storyteller. With a regal British accent from her life in colonial Singapore, she adeptly narrated a dramatic family history, which spanned generations and continents. Her proper Queen’s English was mixed with Malay phrases and a colloquial syntax, reminiscent of the Yiddish spoken in shtetls her grandparents had left behind. In 1986, I informally interviewed my grandmother in her peaceful San Francisco apartment, high atop Nob Hill. My portable cassette recorder was set on the dining room table, where we sat drinking tea. I did not know how precious that recording would become. My grandmother, who was 81, died shortly thereafter.
The following are my grandmother’s memoirs, which I have woven together based on my audio interview and subsequent conversations with family to clarify certain events [...] read online...
A Family Flower Garden
Raising My Jewish Chinese Daughter
by: Lauren Goldman Marshall
Abby was found at the gate of the orphanage complex on the night she was born. Our only artifacts are the handmade cotton clothes she was wearing and scrap of ledger paper with her birthdate and time scrawled in imperfect Chinese characters.
In third grade last year, my daughter Abby had to do a family origins project for school. She was to answer questions such as “Where do your grandparents come from?” Wanting to simplify her job, I asked do you want to focus on your adoptive family or your biological family? [...] [read online...]
The Cantor Joseph Cysner Story
Jewish Refugee Rescue in the Philippines
(Part 2 of 2))
by Bonnie M. Harris
Joseph Cysner, a German-Jewish Cantor deported
by the Nazis to Poland, came to Manila in 1939,
escaping the horrors of the Holocaust. This was
possible through a sponsorship program that had
the potential to save hundreds, if not thousands more, were
it not for the bombing and occupation of the Philippines by
the Japanese, at which point rescue turned into incarceration
again for some, such as Cysner, and a struggle for survival.
In Cysner’s flight to the Philippines, he shared quarters on a ship with many refugees bound for Shanghai. In one year’s time, the Jewish refugee numbers in Shanghai went from 1,500 near the end of 1938 to nearly 16,000 by the end of 1939. Many jumped ship in ports-of-call, disembarking in places such as Bombay, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Manila – especially Manila, since it was the only American-held port city in Asia at the time. […] [read online...]
An Interview with Susan Blumberg-Kason
On Good Chinese Wife:
A Love Affair With China Gone Wrong
Interview by Jocelyn Eikenburg
When it comes to the success of a cross cultural relationship, does culture or personality matter more? Susan Blumberg-Kason’s stunning new memoir Good Chinese Wife: A Love Affair With China Gone Wrong offers a very personal answer to that question.
Set in Hong Kong, Mainland China and America, the story follows Susan’s whirlwind courtship and marriage to Cai, a dashing young man from Mainland China who turns out to be more trouble than she imagined. Instead of leaving, she resolves to become the perfect “Chinese” wife, […] [read online...]
Jewish-Muslim Relations In South Asia
Where antipathy lives without Jews
by Navras Jaat Aafreedi
The nature of relations between Jews and Muslims in South Asia is largely determined by Muslim attitudes towards Jews. This is because of the miniscule number of Jews both in absolute numbers and in comparison to the Muslim population. South Asia is an extremely important region for studying those attitudes for there are more Muslims in South Asia than anywhere else in the world. Furthermore, Muslims from this region have a diaspora larger in size and geographical spread than the Muslims of any other part of the world and they often take these attitudes and perceptions with them. According to official sources […] [read online...]