Spirituality at a Bangkok Synagogue

This essay was published in To Thailand With Love by ThingsAsian Press.  2013

 

As I descend towards Suvarnabhumi Airport, Wat Sothon Wararam Worawihan appears below.  Since the population of Thailand is 95 percent Buddhist, a temple complex near the airport is not unexpected.  What is unexpected is the large Aeyatul Muslimin mosque that towers beside the airport expressway en route to downtown Bangkok.  

Most Thai Muslims live in Southern Thailand, near Malaysia, but there is a sufficient population in the capital to support more than 100 local mosques.  Citizens of the Hindu faith maintain several mandirs.   

Christians of every denomination attend large churches or smaller neighborhood assemblies.  

As an American Jew who retired to Bangkok, I expected to find a semblance of Jewish life in this city.  But what took me by surprise was the vibrancy of the small yet devoted community.  I met Jews from the Americas, Israel, Australia, France, England, Romania, Hungary, South Africa, Afghanistan, and the Middle East.  

To Shanghai With Love

This essay will be published in To Shangahi with Love - ThingsAsian Press.

"When everything seemed hopeless, there was an open door.  I don't want anyone to forget where that door was.  That is why the story needs to be told.  Soon there won't be anyone around to remember how we survived against all odds."   Shanghai Refugee

                                          "To Shanghai with Love"

By Jan Polatschek and Cheng Na Dai (Daisy)

Jan writes:

The Goldstaub Family loves Shanghai.  The Blumenthal Family loves Shanghai.  The Rossback and Zysman and Rosenfeld Families love Shanghai.  These European Jewish families along with thousands of others owe their lives to the government of China and to the people of Shanghai.  When they visit China, they come to Shanghai with love.

South Africa? or Shanghai?

Bangkok, Thailand

15 June 2010

Dear Friends and Sports Fans Everywhere,

Back in 1994, when the FIFA World Cup was staged in the USA, I attended two matches at Foxboro Stadium outside Boston: Bolivia v Korea and Nigeria v Greece. I had never seen a football (soccer) match before. I loved the enthusiastic national pride of the spectators and I was impressed with the athleticism and skill of the players. I enjoyed the constant “stress” of the game. I was “sold.”

2010 Passover in Bangkok

Bangkok

15 Nisan 5770

Dear Family and Friends,

חג שמח

My best wishes to you and your family for a sweet and joyful Passover.

I will be attending two Seders here in Bangkok. The first night there will be a gathering at The Davis Hotel - 100-150 participants. The second night will be at the Shul - Beth Elisheva. Rabbi Kantor is an enthusiastic and brilliant religious leader. I am looking forward to both events where the Four Questions will be chanted in Hebrew, Yiddish (the Rabbi is a Chasid) and Thai (several members are married to Thai women).

2009 Barak Obama Inauguration

Bangkok, Thailand

20 January 2009

Dear Friends,

At the appropriate time I will be attending an inauguration party sponsored by an active group called "Democrats Abroad Thailand." The party will be at The Roadhouse Grille - American cooking....BBQ, hamburgers, etc.

I am cautiously optimistic that the next years will bring what we are hoping for. I even remembered to bring back an American flag that is now displayed in my apartment.

David Sprout and Nai run the Soi 1 Guesthouse, just up the street from my building. We have been friends for two years.

David is from South Georgia and Nai is from South Thailand. They have a young daughter named Samantha.

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