Thailand: Bangkok

The Big Birthday!

Bangkok

Thailand

September 20, 2015  

Hello,

My Birthday weekend has come to an end.  It was a quiet day today after two wonderful events.  

On Friday night, my actual Birthday, September 18, I decided to attend synagogue Sabbath services where I gave a brief talk appropriate for the day and the location.  

On Satuday night, I had a typical birthay party with both old friends and new friends.  We enjoyed a variety of Thai food dishes and two birthday cakes: fruit cake and mocha layer cake.  

Of course, I gave a short speech and thanked my friends for celebrating with me. (Photos attached.)

And thank you all for your birthday wishes from around the world.

Below is the text of my remarks at Synagogue.

Be well,

Jan

.....................................................................................

Temple Beth Elisheva

Bangkok, Thailand

September 18, 2015

Friday

My Dear Family.  My Dear Friends,

Shabbat Shalom.

I am Jan Robert Polatschek.     I live here in Bangkok.   I am a member of the congregation Temple Beth Elisheva.

Today, September 18 is a special day for me.

On this very day in New Rochelle, New York, Ruth Rebeka Lifson Polatschek and Otto Siegfried Polatschek became the proud parents of a six pound eight ounce baby boy.  The date on the Hebrew calendar was 15 Elul.

Bangkok: "The Red Shirts"

Part I - "On the March"

Bangkok, Thailand
Noon
Wednesday 17 March

Dear Friends,

To beat the mid-day crush of office workers on the streets, I left my apartment at about 11:00 and walked towards my local barber.

I needed to cross Sukhumvit Road, the main thoroughfare in my neighborhood. But along with all the traffic, I was stuck. The office girls were still working, but the Red Shirts were on parade.

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.  

A BIG Birthday

Bangkok

Thailand

August 15, 2011

Dear Barbara,

I am following up on your “Big Birthday” theme for our Taft High School Newsletter.

 I am not one of the “young ones.”   My “BIG One” was last September, 2010.

I thought that our friends and classmates would like to see the birthday party photos since my celebration was here in Bangkok; the party had a decidedly international flavor.

We had dinner at the Tamnan Thai restaurant near my apartment in downtown Bangkok: traditional Thai dishes both spicy and not, cold beer both Thai and not.

The cast of characters included two Thai ladies, my good friend Noy, and another friend Nai and her daughter Samantha, Harry from Afghanistan, Gary from South

Bangkok: "Loi Kratong"

Bangkok

24 November 2010

Dear Family and Friends,

My friend Noy and I celebrated Loi Krathong on Sunday.  Along with thousands of other celebrants we floated our krathong on the Chao Phraya River.

Loi Krathong takes place on the evening of the full moon of the 12th month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar. In the Western calendar this holiday usually falls in November.

"Loi" means "to float" and a "krathong" is traditionally made from a section of banana tree trunk. Modern krathongs are more often made of bread.  Regardless of the composition, a krathong will be decorated with elaborately-folded banana leaves, flowers, candles and incense sticks. A low value coin is sometimes included as an offering to the river spirits.

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