LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
by Erica Lyons
Happy Chinese New Year! I do love the opportunity to reflect on the occasion of the New Year and here in Hong Kong, as Jews, we have three. At Asian Jewish Life, we have much to celebrate this season as we publish our first anniversary issue. Asian Jewish Life has truly grown in the past year in terms of readership, scope, development and geographical reach; and will continue to grow in the Year of the Rabbit.
While I loved putting together the special India Issue, this issue finds Asian Jewish Life back looking across the broader region. Of course, India is not forgotten, with a beautifully, moving piece, How I Moved to India and Rediscovered my Judaism: A JDC Jewish Service Corps Volunteer reflects by Jeanine Buzali. Out of India we also have In an Ancient Land Revisted: Trade and Synagogues in South India by Dr. Shalva Weil.
For the first time, we have an article that depicts Jewish life in Korea. In Finding Kosher Kimchi in Korea: A Jewish US Army Chaplain's report, Chaplain (CPT) Shlomo Shulman gives us a glimpse of not only what Jewish life is like in Korea but also a look at daily life on a United States military base.
Our cover story, Never Forget, Never Forgive in Feudal Japan: Not a comic social commentary is a look at Rami Efal's graphic novel, Never Forget, Never Forgive (republished as The Lantern and the Wave). While admittedly, I am by no means an expert on this genre, Efal helps explain a bit about the graphic novel, and manga, as well as the power of images to stand for words. Using the story of Japanese samuri in a clan war, infused with his voice as the descendant of Holocaust survivors, Efal has given this craft a new edge.
Perhaps it is my imagination or my own now uniquely Eastern-skewed view of the Jewish world, but the topic of China and the Jews has seemed to permeate the Jewish press in recent months. While we have not put together an ever-so-popular Tiger vs. Jewish Mother piece, we have put together an exciting series of China related articles of our own.
Taglit-Birthright explains why they are now looking east, including at China, in our Best of Asian Jewish Life piece, Towards Jerusalem with an Easterly View: Taglit- Birthright's shifting focus by Gidi Mark. Professor Lihong Song has also contributed an enlightening piece entitled, Mapping my Judaic Studies Career in China: An academic confession that explains how a Chinese academic chose to teach Judaic Studies and the personal connection he has forged with Jews and Judaism. Also from China, we have an Expat Diary piece, Letter from Modern Kaifeng, where Yair Osherov writes about his experience in Kaifeng and tackles some tough questions as he reaches out to the descendents of Chinese Jewry.
Long overdue, being Hong Kong based, is an AJL article actually from Hong Kong. Amelia Allsop, representing the Hong Kong Heritage Project, has written an article entitled The Lost Records Revealed: Hong Kong Heritage Project's Jewish collection. The article takes us through their archives to get a glimpse at this rare and newly discovered collection. Last but of course not least, Asian Jewish Life brings you the poetry of novelist Rachel DeWoskin and book reviews by our own books editor, Susan Bloomberg-Kason.
Again, please write in and tell us what you think and what stories you would like to see. Thanks for reading!
Erica Lyons Editor-in-Chief