Nick Frisch


Sha Boli, China’s Jewish Translator, Writer and Movie Actor

By Nick Frisch

Sha Boli, China’s Jewish Translator, Writer and Movie Actor
On a muggy day last year, I biked through Beijing’s gray-brick hutong, backstreet alleyways, beneath a smoggy sky. My front basket ferried a batch of fresh bagels bought from an entrepreneurial expatriate New Yorker. A nosh is the usual price of entry for a chat with Sidney Shapiro, one of Chinese literature’s pre-eminent translators into English.Read More


Wild Grass Grows High

By Nick Frisch

Wild Grass Grows High
Last Christmas, a group of very lapsed Jews gathered around a table of very treyf Chinese food — in China, for good measure. Eventually, someone remembered that it was the fifth night of Hanukkah, too. Soon, a low-rent menorah punched out of sheet metal was produced from a battered Chabad box, and candles were lit. Most of the assembled stumbled through the first prayer — “…shel Hanukkah” — and an awkward pause ensued as brains were racked for the second incantation. Eli Marshall stepped forward, scanning the battered box’s Hebrew print, and rendered melodically, to the amazement of all: “… she’asah nisim la’avoteinu bayamim haheim baziman hazeh.” Amen, and pass the spare ribs.Read More


Kosher Chinese: Jewish and Asian Currents Find Harmony in Opera

By Nick Frisch

Kosher Chinese: Jewish and Asian Currents Find Harmony in Opera
Presiding over a table stuffed with every imaginable Chinese delicacy, Stewart Wallace appeared very much the Jew at ease: cracking jokes, expertly wielding chopsticks and savoring every bite, his curly hair bobbing about. But this was a Saturday night ritual with a difference: Wallace’s dining companions were mostly Chinese musicians, the main language was Mandarin and the table sat in Beijing. Wallace was on his final trip to China before the premiere of “The Bonesetter’s Daughter,” his opera based on Amy Tan’s novel of the same name. Arrayed around the dinner table were representatives of the multiple cultures and disciplines — art, drama, music, letters — that made the opera into a reality.Read More


Schnorientalism: The Tao of Jews

By Nick Frisch

Schnorientalism: The Tao of Jews
As even the most tenuous speaker of Chinese can tell you, travels in that country mean having the same Inevitable Conversation over and over. And over.Read More






    Find us on Facebook!
    • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
    • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
    • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
    • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
    • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
    • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
    • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
    • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
    • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
    • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
    • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
    • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
    • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
    • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
    • from-cache

    Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















    We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

    Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.