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Parenting’s Asian-Jewish Connection
Miller-Mccune ^ | April 8, 2011 | Kathy Seal

Posted on 04/30/2011 10:38:48 PM PDT by TheDingoAteMyBaby

The hubbub over the Tiger Mom model presented in a recent best-seller left some recalling the stereotype of the Jewish mother. But what happens when couples are Asian and Jewish?

Asian-Jewish couples share remarkably similar values — but they’re not rearing their children like Tiger Mother Amy Chua, a new study reports.

Noah Leavitt and Helen Kim — a married couple and both sociologists at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Wash. — interviewed 37 Asian-Jewish couples over two years. The families lived in Northern and Southern California, Philadelphia and New York City. They included Asian-American men married to Jewish women and Jewish men married to Asian-American women, as well as straight and gay couples. Their ages ranged from 20s to 70s; some were parents and others childless. While most of the Jews were Ashkenazi (of Eastern European origin), the Asians’ origins were Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Filipino, Southeast and South Asian.

Despite their ethnic diversity, all the couples shared a set of core values including respect for hard work, community-mindedness, and “an incredible commitment to the upbringing of their kids, especially their education,” said Leavitt. The participants also emphasized their common feelings for family.

“The Jewish culture and the Chinese culture are very family-oriented,” a Chinese-American man married to a Jewish woman told the researchers. “When I came into [my wife's] family, it was kind of, I want to say, comforting.”

Leavitt and Kim heard no stories about mothers driving their children ruthlessly toward worldly accomplishment. “None of the parenting sounded to us anything like what’s depicted in Amy Chua’s book,” says Leavitt.

Nearly every couple described their aligned values as a congruence of Jewish and Asian traditions. Some referred to specific tenets of Judaism, Buddhism or Confucianism.

Most of the couples appreciated each others’ humor, adds Kim. “They were quite funny with each other and with us, especially about stereotypes about their identities,” she says. The Jewish half of one couple joked that a traditional Jewish blessing meant, “People try to kill us, we survived but celebrate – let’s EAT!” The husband cited the Chinese saying, “Thank goodness we’re alive. But celebrate, let’s eat!

“It always ends up, ‘Let’s eat!’” he laughed

To be sure, the couples were not randomly selected. Leavitt and Kim chose them from approx 300 people who responded to an online survey distributed through a national database of Jewish organizations, through multiracial and interfaith networks and through newspapers. So while the overwhelming majority of the couples were happy, the study didn’t prove that Asian-Jewish households are uniformly harmonious. It’s easy to imagine, for example, that couples struggling with conflicts would not respond to such a survey. And all those interviewed were highly educated professionals or in grad school.

Surprisingly, while some in the Jewish community fear that intermarriage is weakening Jewish identity in United States, this study found an opposite effect. Overwhelmingly, couples with children were raising them Jewish. “When we asked ‘Do your kids express Jewishness?’ we got a laundry list,” says Leavitt. “Over and over again we saw Jewish- Asian couples putting incredible thought and energy into helping children become Jewish.”

Leavitt, who is Jewish, and Kim, a Korean-American, have a 2 1/2-year-old son. The couples they studied shared so much closeness, love, trust and family support that after finishing the interviews, says Leavitt, “Helen and I felt more loving toward each other.”

TOPICS: Chit/Chat; Miscellaneous; Society
KEYWORDS: asian; asians; children; family; interracial; jewish; jews; parenting

1 posted on 04/30/2011 10:38:57 PM PDT by TheDingoAteMyBaby
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To: TheDingoAteMyBaby

I’ve known a handful of Jewish husbands married to Asian wives.

2 posted on 04/30/2011 11:02:29 PM PDT by TheDingoAteMyBaby
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To: TheDingoAteMyBaby

What do you get when a Jewish man marries an Asian woman? Kosher egg-rolls, and damned good, too.

Wontons are known as Kreplach.

Chop suey is known as “leftovers”.

3 posted on 05/01/2011 12:12:44 AM PDT by MadMax, the Grinning Reaper
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To: TheDingoAteMyBaby
And I'm just an English/French/German Catholic Conservative chick married to a 75% Irish 25% Hungarian Catholic Conservative guy, with a Chinese daughter and an English/French/German/Irish/Hungarian daughter that encourages my family to be all they can be, work hard, show respect, be responsible, stand up for what they believe in— but also have fun and be happy!

Maybe it's that lovable “mutt” quality about my family that makes us take happiness and fun over strict routine and pressure anyday!

4 posted on 05/01/2011 12:54:47 AM PDT by MacMattico
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To: dennisw; Cachelot; Nix 2; veronica; Catspaw; knighthawk; Alouette; Optimist; weikel; Lent; GregB; ..
Middle East and terrorism, occasional political and Jewish issues Ping List. High Volume

If you’d like to be on or off, please FR mail me.


5 posted on 05/01/2011 6:22:16 PM PDT by SJackson (Normal people don't sit cross-legged on the floor and bang on drums, WI State Sen Glenn Grothman (R))
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To: TheDingoAteMyBaby

A natural by-product of Jewish people celebrating Christmas by going out and eating Chinese food, I say.

6 posted on 05/02/2011 7:59:16 AM PDT by Jewbacca (The residents of Iroquois territory may not determine whether Jews may live in Jerusalem.)
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To: Jewbacca

There are a sizable number of kosher Asian restaurants in North Miami.

7 posted on 05/02/2011 8:47:33 AM PDT by TheDingoAteMyBaby
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To: TheDingoAteMyBaby

I have a friend who lived in China for a year, teaching English. While there, and afterwards, she studied and noticed a distinct similarity between Hebrew culture and Chinese culture, particularly when one looks at ethics and ancient history of each.

I think Jewish/Hebrew/Biblical culture is a lot more “eastern” than we in the West give it credit. She believed it was evidence for a common ancestry in the not so distant past coming through a guy named Noah...

8 posted on 05/03/2011 8:32:15 AM PDT by AnalogReigns
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To: AnalogReigns
Hebrew culture is not related to Chinese!

If you mean the ethics of learning and emphasis on education, that is only really emphasised by the elites in China, the upper castes in India and the Ashkenazi/Sephardic Jews. I don't see the same emphasis (or to be more precise the same LEVEL of emphasis -- these latter communities do emphasise) among most Chinese, merchant caste Indians and among Yemeni/Ethiopian/Indian Jewry (ok, among these jews, they are still more "learned" than the average person in the west, but still not as emphatic as Eastern European origin Jewry)

9 posted on 05/06/2011 10:34:20 PM PDT by Cronos (Libspeak: "Yes there is proof. And no, for the sake of privacy I am not posting it here.")
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To: Cronos
Hebrew culture is not related to Chinese!

In the sense that it is an Eastern culture, it is....

Also, I think she was speaking more about the ancient culture in honor for ancestors, value for family, and traditional (Confucian) ethics--and business sense. I know we in the West are most familiar with Ashkenazi Jews, and Sephardic Jews--with a different history--don't have quite the same emphasis on education (but they actually make up a large majority in Israel, interestingly, according to my Hebrew teacher).

She was working with University students too--so only really had contact with upper class Chinese.

I have heard some modern Chinese use the term "Jews of the East" when referring to themselves as well, interestingly enough--so there is even a current-day aspiration there.

10 posted on 05/08/2011 12:50:03 PM PDT by AnalogReigns
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To: AnalogReigns
Ah, ok, I misunderstood you. I've just heard too many folks here on this forum trying to say that the Ashkenazi Jews were not Hebrews at all but converted Khazars.

Incidently the Indians also call themselves the "new Jews" in the US and in Africa

11 posted on 05/09/2011 1:01:34 AM PDT by Cronos (Libspeak: "Yes there is proof. And no, for the sake of privacy I am not posting it here.")
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