Explore six thought-provoking reads that depict some of the many facets of the Jewish Asian American experience.
T Kira Madden
“This stunning, compulsively readable debut memoir tells the story of T Kira Madden’s coming-of-age in the swampy, surreal world of wealthy Boca Raton, Florida.… Madden gropes through the shadows of memory and research to uncover family secrets and determine who she is as a biracial (her mother is Chinese-Hawaiian and her father is white Jewish), queer girl.” — Jessie Szalay
Madelyn Rosenberg and Wendy Wan-Long Shang
“Lauren is Chinese American and Jewish. She has always been aware of her mixed heritage — how could she not be, when one of her grandmothers, Wai Po, lives with her family, and the other, Safta, lives nearby? … By the book’s conclusion, she has become one of the more memorable characters in contemporary middle-grade books, a complex and self-aware young woman, forgiving of others’ weaknesses and proud of her own newfound strengths.” — Emily Schneider
Helen Kiyong Kim and Noah Samuel Leavitt
“We were curious how other couples — JewAsian because of racial, ethnic, and sometimes religious difference — were figuring out, in light of these types of differences, how to sustain and nurture a marriage and family.” — Helen Kiyong Kim and Noah Samuel Leavitt, “Three Takeaways from Interviewing 110 ‘JewAsian’ Couples and Kids”
“The novel, set in both the United States and Europe, spans several decades, from the 1940s through current times… Sexism is one of the novel’s central themes, and Katherine, as a woman who attempts to carve her own path, who, like the ‘tenth muse,’ refuses to ‘sing in the voice of men,’ is a perfect target.” — Ona Russell
“I moved to an all-white New Jersey suburb at the age of seven; Indian-Jain and Jewish made me a double minority in the States, too. But here, people were less tolerant. I was the wrong religion and the wrong color, and frequently elicited foul treatment from other children.” — Diane Mehta, “‘I Am a Bombay on the Move’: Growing Up Jewish and Jain”
“I now have a deeper appreciation for the parallels between the Jewish and Vietnamese cultures, and others. I eventually converted to Judaism, though the process of conversion was challenging. It’s difficult for most people, but it was particularly difficult for me, an Asian woman adopted into a Christian household.” — Nhi Aronheim
Becca Kantor is the editorial director of Jewish Book Council and its annual print literary journal, Paper Brigade. She received an MA in creative writing from the University of East Anglia. Becca spent a year in Estonia on a Fulbright scholarship, writing and studying the country’s Jewish history, and another year in Germany volunteering at the Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial. She lives in Brooklyn.