Asian Jewish Life - A Journal of Spirit, Society and Culture

Issue 10 - Sept. 2012

Barefoot and Jewish in Tirupati

by Miriam Wasser

Tirupati is home to one of South India’s holiest sites, the Sri Venketeswara Temple. This famous temple sits on top of a hill called Tirumala, which is one of seven important peaks in the area, and one of the richest pilgrim centers in the world. Every day, between 50,000-100,000 Hindu pilgrims visit this site to take darshan. To take, or receive darshan is literally to see and connect with something divine, like the image of their deity, or a great spiritual leader or guru. In the case of the Sri Venketeswara Temple, to take darshan is
[...] [read online...]

My Two Diasporas
On being Jewish and Chinese
by So-Han Fan

Diaspora. A fine word, a Greek word, full of grandeur and romance. It sounds desperate and aspirational. “I am the product of… diaspora.” In my particular case, two diasporas: Jewish and Chinese. My father, a Chinese immigrant, met my mother, the descendant of Ashkenazi Jews, in the United States, a place that neither was native to but, that both had been dispersed to, by various historical forces, both political and economic. Growing up I had limited contact with both cultures, learned languages of neither, and, in a rather peculiar turn of events, was unaware that I had Jewish heritage at all until the age of 21.
[...] [read online...]

The Unknown Jews of Bangladesh
Fragments of an elusive community
by Dr. Shalva Weil

It often comes as a surprise that there was once a thriving Jewish community in Pakistan. This is well documented. The real mystery and surprise is the fact that there was also once a Jewish community in East Pakistan, today Bangladesh, of which little is known.

Shalom Cohen (1762-1836) was the founder of the Calcutta Jewish community in West Bengal, which today is a part of India.

[read online...]

Is Judiasm the Yin to China's Yang?
Exploring the meeting of two ancient cultures
by Tiberiu Weisz

I can barely walk nowadays in the streets of Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing or even Kaifeng without meeting another Jew or an Israeli. Jews have “invaded” the Middle Kingdom, followed by the Israelis who found that China is one of the few countries that still welcomes Jews, or at least, they do not perceive the Chinese to be anti-Semitic or prejudiced. Back home, when I open a Jewish paper, I increasingly find more articles of the adventure of an Israeli, another Jew or a story of a Chabadnic in the land of the Middle Kingdom. […] [read online...]

Discovering / Rediscovering Shanghai
An Insider's Tour of Shanghai Today
by Helen Lippman

Shortly after arriving in Shanghai for his high school reunion, my husband, Ellis Jacob— an Iraqi Jew and native Shanghailander—was walking along the Bund when a stranger grabbed his arm. “Ellis, come talk to my people,” implored Dvir Bar-Gal, an Israeli photojournalist who conducts tours tracing the history of Jews in Shanghai. His “people” were the dozen or so men and women taking his tour. The story Bar-Gal tells began with Baghdadi Jews like Ellis’s forebears, the first of whom settled in Shanghai in the mid-1800s. […] [read online...]

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Asian Jewish Life shares regional Jewish thoughts, ideas and culture and promote unity. It also celebrates our individuality and our diverse backgrounds and customs.

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