Issue 16 – Home – Winter 2016


AJL Cover Issue 16

Current Issue
Issue 16
Table of Contents
Letter from the Editor
(Download PDF of all articles)


Articles from the Current issue


Cover Artby Davi Cheng[read online]

Writer’s Desk
Wedding Day Blissby Sophie Judah

[read online)

Book Reviews
by Susan Blumberg-Kason[download PDF…]


Holocaust Refuge in Indiaby Elise Braun Barnett[download PDF…]



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At Home in the World
Interview with Leza Lowitz
by Susan Blumberg-Kason

Asian Jewish Life: You have writtenover a dozen books on a wide rangeof topics, from young adult fiction tomemoir to yoga poetry to travel guides,multicultural mothering anthologies, andmany more. Did you always know youwanted to be a writer? And how did youget your start in publishing?

Leza Lowitz: As a child, I loved reading(still do!), and started writing at ageeight. I didn’t publish my first book untilI was thirty, after going to Japan to seekout poets who debunked the myth ofthe “docile” Japanese woman. StoneBridge Press published my anthology ofcontemporary Japanese women’s poetryin 1995. […] read online…

A Glimpse of Daily Life
Jewish Shanghai in Photographs

Recently, the William H. Hannon Library ( launched the Werner von Boltenstern ShanghaiPhotograph and Negative Collection, which contains,most notably, images of Jewish Holocaust refugees andother Jewish communities already living in Shanghai in the1930s-1940s. From daily work life to weddings to soccergames in ghettos, these images capture a wide range of theJewish experience as well as show the deep imprint Jewishculture has had on Shanghai’s history.[…] [read & view more online…]

The Jews of Cochin
Recording Community History
by Bala Menon

One of the tiniest and most ancient of all Jewish communities in the Diaspora is the Cochinim or the Cochin Jews in the southwestern Indian state of Kerala. They trace their history on the Malabar coast to approximately 2,000 years ago, first landing on those pristine shores as sailors in the fleets of King Solomon to purchase spices, apes, peacocks and precious metals.

Songs and oral traditions of this community give us a glimpse of their early settlements in Malabar in places like Paloor, Madai and the port of Cranganore (today’s city of Kodungalloor), soon after the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE. They call this the ‘First Diaspora’. One of the stories suggests they are descendants of Jews taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar in the 6th century BCE and came to India after being freed by the Persian king Cyrus the Great. […] [read online…]

Writer’s Desk: My Hope, Less Fears
A Homecoming Halted
by Melissa Uchiyama

My husband, Isaac, recently presented me with an affectionately inscribed Israeli cookbook, a coffee table book, cloth-covered, with gorgeous print type. Every page is a lush getaway. It was a Mother’s Day gift from him, my son who can’t stop kissing me, and my daughter who feels everything, dances and sings her ideas out. This cookbook A Homecoming Halted My Hope, Less Fears stirs-up old memories and desires. I want to make the lemony leek meatballs and learn the trillion ways to use chickpeas. What ingredients can I collect here, in this land of seaweed, mushrooms, renowned fish, cooking with mirin?

I open the book and picture myself again in the Old City marketplace, […] [read online…]

Tiger Mom vs. Yiddishe Mame
Part II: Traditional Education in Chinese and Jewish Culture
by Tiberiu Weisz

The rigidity of the traditional Chinese education and the flexibility of Jewish education has come into sharp focus in modern times. In her book Battle Hymn of Tiger Mother (Penguin 2011) the author Amy Chua, a women of Chinese descent and a professor at Harvard, married to a Jewish husband, also a professor, created quite a stir with the way she raised her two daughters. She raised her children in a fashion that was strict by even traditional Chinese standards. With seemingly little input from her Jewish husband, Tiger Mom conceded: “even though my husband’s not Chinese, I tried to raise my two daughters the same way my parents raised me.” With one slight difference: like sons.

How did Chinese mothers raise daughters in traditional China?[…] [read online…]





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Asian Jewish Life is a free quarterly publication designed to share regional Jewish thoughts, ideas and culture and promote unity. It also celebrates our individuality and our diverse backgrounds and customs.