BY Eric A. Freeman, CMT
A young Korean male, I meet at Starbucks of Douglaston, who I shall call pastor “Kim”who I meet approximately 4 years ago, was curious as a cat’s tail end to find out, why “white” Jewish folk are so curious about Asian culture. I said to pastor” Kim”that I can not speak for my Anasazi or Sephardi Jewish brothers. However, I can speak for myself…
I explained to him that my grandfather used to sit my brother and I to simmer down by the TV. Yep, every Saturday. My brother and I were brainwashed with kung fu flicks every Saturday morning. I remember horsing…
Around with my brother making kung ku sounds and pretending we were kung fu fighters. Our WWII grandfather who saved a whole platoon, awarded the Purple Heart and, the bronze star, as a medic, allowed us to watch his prayer time, and physical work out time. At 80 he, still doing pull ups!!! This causal energy as I explained to the young Korean pastor was enough to wash us with Asian glee. Also the staple of Asian food keep my non kosher Jewish family hooked.
The Korean pastor seemed to get it. He wanted to take me out for Korean food. I decided we had a good enough relationship. I trusted the man.This was the first time I ate Korean food, and had Korean hospitality. I grew up with many Japanese, Chinese kids, and Indian children. As children we did not see race we saw each other as unknowing humans in the beginners mind‘s eye. As an adult in a Korean restaurant I felt like an outsider though yet still welcome with hospitality.
The food looked a bit weird and I had no clue what the dishes were called. All the food was great. Today, I love kimchi, that it’s kind a like a spicy cabbage yet still an exotic spicy food. The starbucks pastor( He worked and studied there) continued his inquiry. I explained to him: As a child I took Tai Kown Do, and as I grew into adulthood yoga, Tai Chi, Aikido, and Judo saved myLIfe. I explained to the Korean pasture”Kim” that theses arts brought me closer to my Jewish ancestral roots. The pastor was impressed. I returned the hospitality by taking him out to a kosher Deli in Long Island, NY. I found out Jesus saved his life. He was suicidal at a point in his timeline. He loves the cristin life so. Today he is married and lives away from NY, and is a youth leader and pastor. In conclusion, east meets west west, meets east, and here we are melting in the pot of NY Queens.