2 April 2013: Check Out Erica’s Thoughtful Article

My Facebook Friend (and friend for real) Erica Cohen Lyons, editor of the Asian Jewish Review, wrote this great article some time ago on discovering me, alone, at Tung Wah hospital, following the finest precepts of Judaism, or Christianity. Yes, I was gorked out and on my ass and yes, she brought comfort in the tradition of the prophets of Israel. I appreciated the chocolate most but I need to cool it on the chocs because they aggravate cancer thru creating an acidity.

But even Tung Wah, with no Internet, was bearable. This was because I was lying in bed on Christmas day when my cellphone came alive and my brother came on line. As Erica writes, I also had had a visit from my sister (who’s not in her 70s, as Erica writes in a typo, but younger than me at 54) in November and was promised, in Dec, a subsequent and longer visit from my sister.

But I must deal with probably being in a hospital ward in a faraway land for an indefinite time and this is so hard because I have relied on my long legs for so long to scamper out of sticky wickets and now I cannot.

And I am the Kitchen God, a spendthrift who lay dying by the side of the road until a peasant girl took pity on him and fed him. It is a paradox, but the peoples most thought “clannish”, the Jews and Chinese, have in their tradition such a strong tradition of helping the non-Jew and non-Chinese outlander when that outlander is up the creek. Christ not the first to say that Jews needed to be Samaritans: Amos and Isaiah come to mind as prophets of Israel who said that Jews must be just to non-Jews. I believe the concept is “Tikkun”, the need to be ever more just to the stranger as well as to the fellow Jew so as to improve the world.

I was actually privileged to work for Tung Wah, albeit briefly, as a kindergarten teacher in September, but this was terminated by the death of my son which caused my illness to get worse. Tung Wah is a hospital chain founded in the 1880s because victims of a plague epidemic were overwhelming the original Tung Wah temple in Sheung Wan. It is best to care for the stranger and ask questions later.


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