by Erica Lyons

Erica Lyons Editor-in-Chief

Dear Readers:

I’m very excited to introduce the premier issue of Asian Jewish Life to the region. What a journey this has been! I have enjoyed the tremendous successes and challenges that have accompanied the incredible process of producing a new publication.

Asian Jewish Life reflects the diversity of the Jewish experience in the region, all the while with the aim of building community ties. As Jews in Asia we are but a tiny minority unified by tradition, a love for Israel, common contemporary concerns and shared values. As a charitable organization, Asian Jewish Life is also committed to helping other charitable organizations who have ties to the region.

I want to take this opportunity to thank, first of all, my husband Steve and our children, for putting up with my long hours and a sometimes short temper. A very special thank you to Eddie Hanapole, whose talent, advice and friendship were responsible for producing the initial design template for the magazine. Thank you to Amy Happ who lent her photography expertise and Aliza Horowitz for the logo.

I also want to thank the writers who have submitted their poetry, fiction, and essays to this issue and for future issues.  The artists, writers, organizations and public personalities that took a leap of faith and have agreed to participate in a startup are truly amazing.

Our featured artists, in this issue, include profiles of Siona Benjamin, who is an American, Bene Israel painter, and Nava Levy, who specializes in Vietnamese lacquer painting with Israeli spirit. Jordan Potash, the author and photographer of Reflections on Sichuan, is also an artist as well as an art therapist.

I hope you enjoy, too, Why Japan Will Never Forget, by Jane Schrantz, which offers a rarely seen glimpse at Holocaust education from a Japanese perspective. Likewise, I hope that the Best of Asian Jewish Life profile of Save a Child’s Heart helps to bring them the success and accolades they deserve as they are truly an inspiring organization.

Other features in this issue include an in-depth Q&A with the Israeli Ambassador to Beijing, Amos Nadai, Kneading Light - a retrospective on the attack in Mumbai by Goldie Avtzon, and a memoir, Don’t Buy Dishes, by Sandi Butchkiss. Other unique features include the Expat Diary, by Aimee Weinstein, and Flashback, a page dedicated to helping preserve the history of Jewish life in Asia.

Please feel free to give feedback and make suggestions. Let us know what types of articles you would like to see. AJL is a reflection of who we are as Jews living in Asia and as Asian Jews living in Israel and throughout the Diaspora.

Thank you again for the incredible support you have offered me. As we move into a new year, I am excited about the future for Asian Jewish Life and making a contribution to the wealth of Jewish culture and diversity we have in Asia.


Erica Lyons

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