Are You in a Jewish-Asian Relationship?
Are you a "Jasian" couple?
Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan are a famous example of a Jewish-Asian couple. Brian Greenberg and Jamie Chung from Once Upon a Time, The Hangover, and the Real World are married, too.
But let's not forget that before them, Maury Povich and Connie Chung were the hot and heavy Jewish-Asian couple in the limelight.
In this article, I speak to three couples made up of Jewish guys and Asian women. They answer questions about meeting hot spots, cultural issues, and their perspectives on how dating, marriage, and family issues come together in their unique interfaith and cross-cultural partnership.
Couple #1: David and Ivy
- Ages: Both 23
- Status: Dating
- City: New York City
Since your cultural and family circles are different, how did you meet?
"We met in med school." David notes that educational settings are fertile ground for Jewish and Asian students. "Medical school is a popular place. Med school is full of future Jewish and Chinese doctors. It's an intensive and intimate setting, and you can't help but meet and mingle with your classmates. Another popular educational setting, I think, is pharmacy school."
What do you feel is the attraction in Jewish and Asian couples?
David: "I think Asian people and Jewish people have a lot of values in common. We believe in discipline, we're success-oriented, we study until we pass out! And when you meet in the same setting—as we met in med school—you really both have the same goals. That starts off the attraction right there."
Couple #2: Joshua and Ky
- Ages: 28 (Joshua) and 27 (Ky)
- Status: Married
- City: Chicago
Are there cultural issues that ever threatened to keep you apart?
Joshua: "Jewish parents tend to want their sons to marry Jewish girls, so at least in my case it was awkward at first when I brought her home. But my parents fell in love with Ky as did I. They realized she was smart, educated, and she had an easygoing personality. They decided in the end that it was all right."
Was there anything different in how you went about dating?
Ky: "Even though I was 23 when we met, my parents insisted on meeting him before we even went out on our first date. I think that must have felt a little pushy for him, but he passed all their tests. Chinese parents can be really over-protective. I know mine were."
"I also had to get used to people staring at us when we were dating—people on the street, in restaurants, everything. Strangers still look at us now, but we're used to it. I think in this day and age seeing an Asian girl with a white guy still weirds people out a bit."
Couple #3: Jude and Akiko
- Ages: 37 (Jude) and 32 (Akiko)
- Status: Married
- City: Philadelphia
How did you handle your intercultural marriage?
Akiko: "Japanese people tend to not be very religious, so I was not going to convert to Judaism. We had a non-religious ceremony. Jude is also not one for praying so he was fine with that. I know his grandparents weren't happy with it, but they got through it."
What about having children as an intercultural and interracial couple. How do you handle it?
Akiko: "We have a 3-year-old and a 2-year-old. I am not sure right now what we are going to raise our kids as. We might just teach them to believe in God without specific religion or sect. I am not so sure sending our half-Japanese children to Jewish religion classes will be right for their identity. We are still working on that issue."
"As for the race part, that isn't so much something we are concerned about. America is a highly mixed society. At this point we feel like we fit right in."
Questions & Answers
Question: Aren't there any cases of relationships the other way round, AMWF?
Answer: There totally are, I just don't know of any famous couples. One of my former colleagues is a white woman married to a Taiwanese doctor.