So, How do you say "Happy Chanukah" In Mandarin?

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living_stradivarius
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So, How do you say "Happy Chanukah" In Mandarin?

Post by living_stradivarius » Wed Dec 05, 2007 2:09 pm

SO, HOW DO YOU SAY ‘HAPPY CHANUKAH’ IN MANDARIN?

By DANIELA GERSON Staff Reporter of the Sun



Rabbi Michael Paley estimates about half the children at the Upper West Side Chanukah party he attended Sunday night were Chinese.

He was not surprised.

“All of a sudden we’re used to Jews who didn’t have grandmothers speaking Yiddish and flipping latkes,” said Rabbi Paley, director of community and synagogue outreach at UJA-New York.

Ever since China opened its doors to adoption a decade ago, Chinese-American Jews, primarily girls under the age of 10, have emerged as a new subgroup. As the children mature, particularly in New York where options for practicing Jewish and Chinese customs abound, their adoptive parents are faced with a dizzying array of ways to raise a Chinese Jew.

“It is an issue for many people of how much to emphasize and people are of different opinions,” said Faye Kilstein, who lives in Washington Heights with her 6-year-old adopted daughter. “To do both is a huge undertaking.”

Ms. Kilstein, while making it a priority to celebrate certain Chinese cultural holidays like the New Year and moon festivals, chooses to emphasize her daughter’s Jewish heritage.

“She’s an American now, she’s in a Jewish home.You have to decide what the priorities are and the world where you live in,” she said. “If I lived closer to Chinatown, I’d send her to Chinese dance class. But it’s a schlep to go down there.”

Last year, China was the top country for international adoptions, with the INS issuing 6,062 visas. While there are no exact records on how many Jews adopt Chinese children, Adam Pertman of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute said Jewish adoptions from China are “happening in a big way.”

There have been isolated groups of Chinese Jews in the past.A small community of Jews with Chinese physical characteristics, thought to be the decedents of 8th century traders on the silk route, lived in the Chinese city Kaifeng. They assimilated or emigrated centuries before their synagogue was demolished in 1860. Later, beginning in the 1920s, Eastern European Jews found temporary refuge in Shanghai, swelling to a community of 25,000.

But this is the first substantial community of Chinese-American Jews. “I joke in speeches something historical is going on here, we have Chinese cultural lessons in synagogues,” said Mr. Pertman, who is also author of Adoption Nation: How the Adoption Revolution is Transforming America.

Francine Crespi, 51, said she receives two e-mail updates daily: One from Families with Children from China, a national group with 2,000 members in New York City, and a second one from the listserv Jewish Families with Children from China.

The second mailing is filled with questions specific to Jewish Chinese families: The options for conversion and baby naming ceremonies. Do you enroll your child in Mandarin classes, Hebrew School, or both? And, increasingly, plans for Bat Mitzvah tours to China.

Ms. Crespi, who said she is not an observant Jew, sent her daughter to the New York Chinese Cultural Center, a school in Chinatown where more than one–third of the students are adopted children.There, her daughter took Chinese language and dance classes for about two years until she decided she wanted to “focus on kindergarten.” Hebrew School may come later.

Rachel Meyer, director of ABC Language Services, Inc, said Jewish parents seemed particularly intent in educating their children in Chinese language and customs. “One parent said, I had to go to Hebrew class when I was a kid, that’s my culture, she’s going to go to Chinese class,” Ms. Meyer said.

As adoptive parents struggle to find the appropriate balance in raising Chinese Jewish children, Rabbi Paley said conceptions of Jewish community would change. “This shifts the entire point of entry into Jewish life,” he said. “It means our boundaries are much more religious, much more philosophically based and less biologically based.”
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slofstra
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Post by slofstra » Fri Dec 07, 2007 12:06 am

This has always been one of my favourite songs:
http://youtube.com/watch?v=43J-gYOnLoI

Apparently it has something to do with Chanukah. I did not know that. And the subtitles are in Mandarin, I think, unless they're kanja.

Madame
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Post by Madame » Fri Dec 07, 2007 6:30 am

slofstra wrote:This has always been one of my favourite songs:
http://youtube.com/watch?v=43J-gYOnLoI

Apparently it has something to do with Chanukah. I did not know that. And the subtitles are in Mandarin, I think, unless they're kanja.
Words are in Chinese characters -- used in both Mandarin and Cantonese.
You are correct, Kanji is the same as Chinese characters, but the Japanese use their own katakana and hiragana along with Kanji in their writing

Donald Isler
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Post by Donald Isler » Fri Dec 07, 2007 10:10 am

Before a session of the monthly music appreciation/theory/performance class which I have for my students begins I sometimes let them entertain themselves by writing the day's date on the board in all the languages they know. Once this included Japanese and French. I asked a Chinese student if the date would be written the same in Chinese as the Japanese which appeared on the board, and he said "Well, of course! They took all our characters!"
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living_stradivarius
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Post by living_stradivarius » Fri Dec 07, 2007 3:28 pm

slofstra wrote:This has always been one of my favourite songs:
http://youtube.com/watch?v=43J-gYOnLoI

Apparently it has something to do with Chanukah. I did not know that. And the subtitles are in Mandarin, I think, unless they're kanja.

The subtitles are in Hangu (Korean).
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Post by Corlyss_D » Sun Dec 09, 2007 3:01 am

Omagod! Did it have to be Peter, Paul, and Mary?
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