Thursday, September 27, 2007

Shout Out to All the Korean Jews in the Sukkah!

"Koreans and Jews are basically the same people: We have the most tyrannical overbearing mothers, and even if the Jews beat us on the neurosis, self–hatred, and wordplay, we’re both cheap bastards and we’re stubborn beyond belief. " —David Choe

I was just going thru my website stats and noticed that behind the US and Canada, Korea is where my highest blog viewers are coming from. So I thought now would be
the best time to do a posting on Jewish Koreans. Not an easy challenge I assure you but within minutes of a MYSPACE scan I found a few.
In no particular order we have Junghoo a Virgo from Rockville Centre wherever the heck that is who says:
"Hey, im an adopted korean from taegu city, making me a rare find, a korean jew. i like taekwondo, hiphop dancing, paintball, and soccer. ive doing all of these things for most of my life and still love them." BPositive says keep on keeping on to young Junghoo the Korean Jew

Loving the name and loving the mix we have Devorah bat Hannah
from Michigan: "I'm a rare and spicy mix... Korean/African American Hebrew, yes... I am a Korean Jew and so proud of it. I've learned so much about my Jewish and African heritage, now I am eager to learn more about my Korean heritage... but yet and still... like said above... I'm a Korean Jew!!!"
Then there is Lynn over on Friendster who gave her full name but since she obviously doesn't know how dangerous the net is I am not going to post it here. I should tell her mother. I mean when she got up this morning would she have ever thought that her picture and mini-bio would end up on a crazy site like this one:
"I'm your average half-Korean Jew that sings tenor, fences, tap dances, and plays oldies/emo/rock/alternative/beatles/dylan on the cello. Theatre is my passion: I'm trying to decide between NYU-Tisch and Wesleyan for a drama degree. I'm fairly introverted until someone with a good sense of humor makes me open up. Hmmm...I'm a senior in the Math/Science Magnet Program at XXXX School (she named her high school as well which I just removed, you would think with the jewish asian mix that she would be paranoid/modest..oh well kids these days)...Senior Class pres..working with the mock trial team and thespians...directing "Fiddler on the Roof" at a local middle school. Feel free to send notes or IM me (I removed her IM as well..I am calling her mom or better yet I will IM her dad)

From the message boards I found the eyes of a Korean Jew. To which another poster replied: "So does that make you a jeenk, or a chew?"

I wasn't expecting things to get this crazy but check out this little story on a Korean Jew and how he views religion and culture. Warning; you might learn something
The Plight of The Non-White Jew By: Jacob Duprey.
The Jewish public at large is in jeopardy. They risk becoming as closed minded as those they oppose. The fact is that Jews must expand their definition of what constitutes a Jew. Jews are not a race, they are not genetically distinct nor is their Judaism predicated upon the fact that they were born that way. Additionally not all Jews practice in the same manner and some
practices are quite different from the public perception of synagogue. Judaism is in fact a faith, a set of beliefs and a group of people who are united because of what they believe in.
Traditionally a Jew is thought of as a person with dark curly hair, long sideburns, a big nose, a fat wallet and a funny hat.
However the definition of a Jew is rapidly expanding. The Israeli and Ashkenazi Jews form only part of the greater whole that is the Jewish Faith. Communities in China have rediscovered their Jewish roots and have begun to practice again. The Black Ethiopian Jews have been around since the 1600's when they fought for their survival. The Indian Jews, the Bene Israel (Son's of
Israel) claim to have been in existence since the 2nd Century BCE. All of these groups are Jewish, but if seen walking on the streets you would not assume they were Jewish. Thus the original definition of Jew must be expanded to encompass the new definition.
Closer to home, Asian Jews are not taken seriously. I, as a Korean Jew, must every year explain to teachers and friends why I will not be coming in on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Everyone I meet must first be introduced to the idea of an Asian
Jew. The common response is:
"You're Jewish?!?
To which I must respond "Yes".
My friend, an Aryan-German Jew, must calmly explain to people that race and religion are independent of each other. Many people seem to believe that Judaism is a race. A common exchange is as follows:
"You're Jewish?!?" "Yes".
"But you're German!"
"Yea, well they didn't get all of us".
A long explanation should not be required to convey one's religion. This is why a change is in order. More to the point, not all Jews are born Jewish; although the population of people who covert to Judaism is small.
Within my immediate family alone: my Father converted from Catholicism and my brother, sister and I were all converted from the indigent religions of Peru, China and Korea respectively. Although my family does represent something of a racial bouillabaisse it still proves the point that Jews of all shapes and colors do indeed exist and they are asking for public opinions to
The school of Judaism that a person follows is another division within our sect. The divisions are as follows: Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, and Reconstructionist. The first two can be thought of as the traditional forms of Jewish study and prayer, the Orthodox representing the more strict and formal of the two and Conservative being the more colloquial of the two. Orthodox
services are conducted in the traditional manner, in some cases even separating men from women. Conservative services are run much like a standard church service, except in Hebrew. The last two are rather different from what usually springs to mind; often prayers are said in English or members of the congregation may offer up their own suggestions. Reform Synagogues are not as formal, allowing for provocative thought and changing of customs and prayers. Reconstructionist, to which I belong, encourages challenging the old faith and improving it as an effect of time. All of these schools of thought are Jewish but the latter 2 would be thought of as less "Jewish". This is simply not true and thus we must change our vision of what it is to be "Jewish".

Judaism is a faith, a set of beliefs and values. It is not predicated on physical traits, genetic lineage or geographic heritage. Judaism is, in my belief, a set of values that gives us conscience and modesty. It is a way of life that gives you something to believe in; it is nothing but faith. A person is a Jew because they profess Judaism, not because they look "Jewish". Obviously there will always be the stereotype of what construes a Jew but this author begs for a change in what you, the reader, believes to be a Jew. Public perception can change on the whim of a single person as long as the rest of the world believes them. You can be that one person.
After more internet searching things got even stranger as you can see from this snip it:
Korean Collective Action: The Hunts Point Market Demonstrations and Boycotts
by Hee Won Yi '00
What is ironic to me is how Korean immigrants have now been given the racial epithet of "Kew" or "Korean Je w." This connotes the idea that the massive Korean entry into small businesses is following the traditional immigrant path of the Jewish immigrants before us ("The Koreans," 219).
And finally since my eyes are getting tired and my back sore we have Cristina Yang from Grey's Anatomy. I guess since this is a TV character this info is from Ficipedia:
Cristina Yang is a doctor of Korean descent and a native of Beverly Hills, California. Raised Jewish (her mother converted upon re-marriage to oral surgeon Saul Rubenstein). She has at times referred to herself as Jewish, although she believes only in science and is a strong atheist. Her biological father died when she was nine years old in a car accident, where she watched him bleed out before help arrived. She has a B.A. from Smith College, an M.S. and a Ph.D in chemistry from University of California, Berkeley and earned her M.D. from Stanford University, graduating first in her class.


LoveAsianGuys said...

All that, and only the lucky ones get to end up with a Jewish Korean spouse... *sniff*
Why is it so hard to find Jewish Koreans, if there are so many of them??! Dx

bpositive said...

Dear Loveasianguys,

Well I wouldn't say there are so many of them. Figure this, less than 2% of the US identifies themselves as Jewish and of that 6 million or so probably less than 20% inter marry and of that 1.2 million 10% or less probably marry Asian and of that 120,000 maybe 30% marry Korean, and of that 36,000 maybe 75% have children and of that 27,000 figure 50% of their kids will be male so if they only have one child then you are chasing after 13,500 half Jewish half Korean boys and some of them may be over 50 years old leaving you with under 10,000 around the US to choose from and probably half of them are already married or under 15, so I would say there are not so many to choose from. But if you like the far east flavor you can find a lot of Jews that are practicing Zen budists..the bujews which i have a posting on.

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