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!
    • A new Gallup poll shows that only 25% of Americans under 35 support the war in #Gaza. Does this statistic worry you?
    • “You will stomp us into the dirt,” is how her mother responded to Anya Ulinich’s new tragicomic graphic novel. Paul Berger has a more open view of ‘Lena Finkle’s Magic Barrel." What do you think?
    • PHOTOS: Hundreds of protesters marched through lower Manhattan yesterday demanding an end to American support for Israel’s operation in #Gaza.
    • Does #Hamas have to lose for there to be peace? Read the latest analysis by J.J. Goldberg.
    • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
    • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
    • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
    • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
    • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
    • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
    • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
    • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
    • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
    • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
    • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
    • 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.