There's an amusing NY Times story about many Chinese adoptees turning 13 and having bat mitzvahs, in keeping with their Jewish families' traditions. There's video and a slideshow of Cecelia Nealon-Shapiro's preparation and bat mitzvah activities. It's an article about the melting pot that is New York and the oddness of having a variety of strong influences. Well, it's odd to everyone else, maybe. From the NY Times:
Yet for Cece, as everyone calls Cecelia, and for many of the girls like her, the odd thing about the whole experience is that it’s not much odder than it is for any 13-year-old.
“I knew that when I came to this age I was going to have to do it, so it was sort of natural,” she said a few days before the ceremony at Congregation Rodeph Sholom, a Reform synagogue on West 83rd Street where she has been a familiar face since her days in the Little Twos program. Besides, she said with a shrug, “Most of my Chinese friends are Jewish.”
And important things to know about Cece's bat mitzvah: It happened on Chinese New Year's Eve (and the Year of the Pig - hee!), it was held at Columbia's Faculty House, and she did not want a Westernized Chinese dress. We can't wait for Part 2 and Part 3 of the series: "Joining the Religiously Jewish But Ethnically Chinese American Club at College" (circa 2012) and "Chinese Orphans Using JDate" (circa 2019).
The rich intertwined nature of Jewish and Chinese cultures is apparent in a couple ways. Jews have been in China for over a thousand years and they love Chinese food. Pop culture wise, there's the Chinese Woman episode of Seinfeld and Gish Jen had a hilarious take on a Chinese-American living in Jewish classmates in Westchester in Mona in the Promised Land. Another thing to note: Cece's parents are a lesbian couple, and after May 1, the Chinese government will refuse to adopt children to gay couples.