LETTER FROM THE EDITOR / MISSION
by Erica Lyons
Happy 2013 and welcome to the 11th issue of Asian Jewish Life.
In between issues, our staff has been very busy speaking on Jewish life in Asia and Asian Jewry. If you happen to be in Illinois, you can catch AJL Books Editor Susan Blumberg-Kason at a NCJW event on January 31 where she will talk about Jews in China and their contributions during World War II. She will also discuss Jewish novels and memoirs set in China during this world-changing era. Visit Susan at http://www.susanbkason.com for more information.
You can also catch a podcast on Hong Kong’s RTHK Radio 3 on Laura Margolis, adapted from our cover story (Issue 8), entitled Laura Margolis in the Spotlight- Portrait of a heroine in Shanghai. I will also be headed to Moscow in February to participate in the 20th Annual International Conference on Jewish Studies organized by Sefer, the Moscow Center for University Teaching of Jewish Civilization.
As for this issue, we are excited to bring you the cover story about the somewhat obscure story of a group of Jewish Holocaust refugees that were housed in Hong Kong’s Peninsula Hotel, entitled Five Star Refuge - A Week at The Pen.
We also have included the little known history of Jews in the Philippines by Bonnie Harris, Manila Memories - History of Jews in the Philippines. As Dr. Harris has done extensive research on this subject, we will explore this history, in greater depth, in an AJL series in future issues.
Also travel with musician Irene Orleansky for a rare inside look at the Bnei Ephraim in A Musical Journey to Andhra Pradesh-Understanding the Bnei Ephraim.
Also from India, we bring you A Memento, a beautiful short story by Sophie Judah. Judah is the author of Dropped from Heaven (Schocken, 2007). A special thank you to Yoraan Rafael Reuben for the use of his photographs to go along with Judah’s story. His photographs also appear on Page 2.
Again from India, we have our Lo Mein to Laksa food column. Yardena Ben-Israel offers her modernized version of Bene Israel Halwa, which she calls ‘sweet and simple’.
On the literary side we have included book reviews by our Books Editor Susan Blumberg-Kason as well as her interview of Xu Xi. Xu Xi, a Hong Kong writer, has interestingly woven Jewish characters into her novels and we have discussed with her why. (Being Hong Kong-based, we are also not quite impartial when it comes to all things Hong Kong.)
In this issue, we also hear from Gedaliah Gurfein, who has had some of his work translated into Chinese in Not Lost in Translation - A Torah scholar goes to China. And while we are looking at China, we hear from Tiberiu Weisz in Biblical Influence in Chinese Literature, a continuation of his AJL series that again explores the fascinating yin and yang relationship between Chinese and Jewish cultures.
Last, but definitely not least, For the Best of Asian Jewish Life feature, we look at the incredible regional work of AJWS in Feeding the World with Jewish Wisdom- A look at American Jewish World Service.
Thanks for reading!