Published Articles

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.

The New L 00 k

An edited version of his letter was to be published in To Thailand With Love, ThingsAsian Press, 2013. But at the last moment, the Editor made a different decision.

Bangk0k Thailand

02 August 2008

My Dear My0pic, Hyper0pic, and Fellow 20/20 Friends,

My classmate Jack Calabro had a neat trick.

My Taft High School classmate, and later, my University of Illinois graduate school classmate, Jack protected his mother from unnecessary worry.

Jack's mother wanted to know when we were leaving Champaign-Urbana, Illinois and when we would be arriving in New York. We would be driving all night across Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio, with a slight dip into West Virginia. As dawn arrived, we would steer into the sunrise across Pennsylvania to New Jersey and then north to New York. That's a long drive, even on Interstate highways. A mother could worry a lot.

So what was the trick? Jack knew when we were leaving and could estimate when we would arrive. So, the "departure" time he gave his mother was actually our arrival time! She was so surprised!

Here's my contribution to the concept of worry avoidance:

I am pleased to report to you that I have undergone and recovered from two lens replacement surgeries.

On the Road in Rajasthan: "Horn Please!"

This Travel Letter was "almost published."  The editor of To North India With Love liked this letter better than one she had already chosen on a similar topic, and she had to honor her commitment.

Jaipur to Bikaner
Rajasthan, India 
February 24, 2007

Dear Family and Friends, 

The phrase "Horn Please" is emblazoned in huge, colorful and artistic boldfaced letters on the rear end of every powerful, solid, steel-framed intercity truck. Or "Sound Horn" appears. Or "Blow Horn." My favorite is "Blow Horn." India is a nation of one billion horn blowers.

It is good form. Everyone is encouraged to sound his horn to alert the truck driver ahead that his rig is about to be overtaken. And, (and this is a big "and") every driver of every type of vehicle alerts everyone else of his presence and his insistence to proceed unimpeded according to some preordained universal master transport plan known only to himself.

Nawalgarh: "The Haveli and Mundan Sanskar"

This Travel Letter was published in To North India With Love.  ThingsAsian Press.  2011.  pg 71-72.

Nawalgarh
Rajasthan
India

February 20, 2007
Dear Family and Friends,

"Jan, why India?" "Why now?" Perhaps you are asking these questions. The obvious answers are: "India is close to Thailand." And, "There's no time like the present." True. Very true.

The real truth is that my friends in Mumbai, Paawan and Sushma, invited me to an auspicious family celebration.

Bangkok: "Halloween"

An edited version of his letter was published in To Thailand With Love, ThingsAsian Press, 2013

"The Hot Dog Man"

Bangkok, Thailand
Monday, October 30, 2006

My Dear Fellow Gourmands and Ghouls,

“English Solutions,” my occasional school employer, sponsored their annual Halloween party on Sunday afternoon.

The owners of the school, Brian and Jason, own a large house near the school. They redecorated many of the rooms into “haunted houses” and party rooms.

About one hundred and fifty young children from six different Bangkok orphanages were invited.

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