With race at the center of the national conversation, multicultural Jews walk line between ‘otherness’ and belonging.
Noah Leavitt and Helen Kiyong Kim’s marriage is one of an increasing number of Jewish-Asian pairings in the U.S., a trend evident in many American synagogues. The two Whitman College professors have just released the first book-length study of Jewish-Asian couples and their offspring.
What does it mean to be Jewish and Asian?
The “Derby Bunch”, or “Six Pack” as my parents like to call them, are a motley crew of grandkids – three of each gender – born within a six-year span to my two siblings and myself.
Contrary to previous studies on intermarriage that argue for the erosion of Judaism and Jewish identity, our work has demonstrated the opposite.
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A few years ago, my wife casually mentioned that she doesn’t consider herself 100 percent white any more. She has blond hair, blue eyes and fair skin, and all of her ancestors have been Irish.
It was an atypical scene on an atypical occasion: a Chinese celebration of Passover, the Jewish holiday commemorating the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt more than 3,000 years ago.
Be'chol Lashon research scholars, Helen Kim and her husband, Noah Leavitt are the leading, and virtually only, experts on Asian-Jewish intermarriage in the United States.