Helen Kim and husband Noah Leavitt are the leading experts on Asian-Jewish intermarriage in the United States.
Whitman College professors Helen Kim and her husband, Noah Leavitt are the leading, and virtually only, experts on Asian-Jewish intermarriage in the United States. The two — she’s Korean-American, he’s Jewish — recently spoke with JTA by phone from Walla Walla, Wash., where they live with their 6-year-old son Ari and 3-year-old daughter Talia. This is an edited transcript.
Does anyone remember Amy Chua, the Tiger Mom (married to a Jewish dad) who sparked our righteous indignation few months ago, before we found ourselves judging the Anthonies (Weiner and Casey) to escape the news of wars, deficits and depressing budget cuts?
Well, I just discovered that Amy’s oldest daughter, Sophia Chua-Rubenfeld (the good one who practiced piano as per her mother’s prescribed regimen) is (gasp!) going to Harvard. She also has a blog — I suppose so she can snag a lucrative book contract of her own.
I wonder if she (little sister Lulu — the rebel — is still too young to be eligible) will be interested in participating in a new study of Asian-Jewish kids.
This summer novelist Gary Shteyngart told New York Magazine that he is engaged to a Korean-American woman. (Sadly, when I e-mailed him, playing up our shared alma mater Oberlin and hoping to feature him in a column, he declined to be interviewed, writing “I'm totally down with intermarriage and would love to talk about it, but my fiancee is very publicity-shy and I swore not to bring her into any media light.”)
Soon after, the New Yorker reported that Facebook Emperor Mark Zuckerberg is expected to marry Priscilla Chan, a Chinese-American medical student.
And then Tiger Mom Amy Chua jumped into the media spotlight, with Jewish hubby Jed Rubenfeld and their bat mitzvahed, sleepover-deprived daughters Sophia and Lulu in tow.