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

The Extraordinary Adventures of Two-Gun Cohen
by Sara Jo Ben Zvi

Eight o’clock at night in the East End of London, 1929. The smell of frying fish and latkes wafts deliciously through the house. The table is laid with the finest china. “Who’s it all for?” the eight-year old asks his mother. “The Chinese general is coming,” she answers cryptically.

Cyril Sherer, now ninety, remembers the large hand that patted his head, the heavyset man in the suit who smelled vaguely of cigars, and how quickly the fish and latk - “This is General Morris Abraham Cohen” - and spoken to “Sir John” about buying trucks - hundreds of trucks - for millions of pounds. Trucks - for China.

Morris Cohen, or Ma Kun, as he was known [...] [read online...]

Just a Chinese Jew and his Tefillin
by So-Han Fan

I lay Tefillin every day. I don’t consider myself a particularly good Jew. I don’t wear a kipa, I don’t keep kosher and I only observe Shabbat and the holidays when I’m with other Jews, which is seldom. I can’t speak Hebrew, I don’t know the songs; most of my friends don’t even know that I’m Jewish. But against all odds, I do lay Tefillin every day.

I don’t always do it in a timely manner. I try to do it in the mornings but often [...] [read online...]

Becoming the Wagamama Bride
The beginning of my story
by Liane Wakabayashi

Aki worked for Akahigedo, a traditional Eastern medicine clinic that based its work ethic on the old Edo practice of training staff to surpass acupuncture and shiatsu technique. To become a master, you had to become acquainted with your own soul. The master of this clinic trained young inexperienced doctors and therapists to empathize with patients of any age and illness. The trade off for the long hours at work was that these therapists became highly skilled and wizened at a young age. And because Aki had chosen to commit to the life of a therapist at Akahigedo,   […] [read online...]

Mazel Tov, Yuto
Welcome to the tribe
by Leza Lowitz


“Japan is a difficult country to adopt from,” everyone says. Not only are there few children up for adoption, but it’s the only country in the world where you need to get the parents’ extended family’s approval for the process. Bloodlines are seen as all-important, one’s ancestors are one’s link to the past. The family registry or koseki goes back generations and lists each birth and marriage, tying family to family. When we got married, I did not take my husband’s name, and this caused a commotion at the ward office, as the clerk said there was no “official space” to put my own name on the form.

My husband stood his ground.
[…] [read online...]

Derech Eretz and the Confucian Way

A study of roots and inextricable links
by Tiberiu Weisz

Without the Confucian Way there would be no fundamentals of Chinese ethics, and without Derech Eretz, there would be no Torah

Long before China turned to Confucianism (2nd century BCE) and long before the Oral Law/halacha (3rd century BCE) became the standard in Judaism, both cultures drew inspiration from ancient oral traditions. Those traditions were the cornerstone of China and Judaism and were known as the Confucian Way and Derech Eretz respectively. What was the Confucian Way? What was Derech Eretz (The Way of the Land)? Semantically, both terms meant the same: conduct, customs and behavior. They both served the same purpose: to
[…] [read online...]

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