LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
by Erica Lyons
Having just returned from Israel after nearly a month there, I am inspired and energized. While in Jerusalem, I attended the rally for Gilad Shalit on July 8th. Tens of thousands of people gathered together in Independence Park. Looking around at the faces at the rally was again a reminder of the mission of Asian Jewish Life. The rally was a snapshot of the Jewish people.
Though the rally was in Hebrew a chorus of other languages buzzed through the park and Jews united behind one cause forgetting for a moment that differences that divide us. The sanctity and value of a human life was the unifying force. Birthplace, race and affiliation melted away. Asian Jewish Life aims to live in that moment of unity.
That same week, also in Jerusalem, I was given the opportunity to speak at the PresenTense Institute (a joint with the Israel-Asia Center). My talk entitled Off the Jewish Radar: Growing a Jewish non-profit addressed Jewish life in Asia in general as well as the challenges of launching a Asia-wide project in terms of reaching an audience over a vast geographic area, raising funds from a rather finite pool, and the ability to create a product that truly expresses the diversity of Jewish life in Asia. Asian Jewish Life is working hard at meeting these challenges with some measure of success along the way.
In April 2010, just following the publication of our second issue, the Hong Kong Government officially granted our tax exempt/ charitable status made retroactive as of January 2010.
With respect to appealing to a diverse audience and representing our readership, please let us know how we are doing. This issue spans the continent and the spectrum of Jewish belief and observance. We feature the moving story of a young Jewish man’s journey to his native Korea in search of his birthmother and the lessons he learned along the way in The Way Home. The journey of the Bene Menashe is also again examined in Michael Freund’s article, Finding a Lost Tribe in India.
Taking us to China is the cover story and some insight into the inspiration of a Chinese film-maker to produce of film on the Jews in Shanghai. Representing Japan, we have included Akira Oshiko’s Viewpoint essay, The Endless Jewish Audience, while Raquelle Azran, hailing from Israel and Tel Aviv, has contributed a short story of adventure in Cambodia, entitled Ain’t No Glass Slippers in Cambodia.
In the creative category, we also have the poetry of Eliyahu Enriquez, a Filipino Jewish lover of words and spirituality. Also hailing from the Philippines, we have included a unique twist to our Expat Diary by opening up a glimpse at the world of a domestic helper working for an observant Jewish family in Hong Kong.
Additionally, Michael Fox has written a feature on his activism work in Japan, entitled A Week without Weekends. Our Artist Profile is back with a look at the work of Nir Segal in an article by Amy Har-Even.
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