Meng Hosts Jewish-Korean Discussion

Staff Writer

Jewish-American and Korean-American leaders came together in Bayside for a discourse about nurturing community collaboration.

The Jewish and Korean-American Intercultural Dialogue was held at the Kupferberg Holocaust Resource Center and Archives at Queensborough Community College on March 31. Hosted by U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing), the evening featured performances, guest speakers and a discussion about how the two communities could work together.

After introductions by Dr. Arthur Flug, the executive director of the Kupferberg Center, Meng spoke to the audience about the commonalities between the Jewish and Korean people.

“South Korea and Israel know a little bit of what it’s like to live and work in a bad neighborhood. Locally, our families co-exist,” she said. “We have so much in common, whether it’s family values, educational values.”

Meng was followed by Se-Joo Son, the Consul General of the Republic of Korea, who said that the two communities shared abuse at the hands of the Axis Powers during World War II.

“Our two peoples also share one common, violent experience,” he said. “We need to work closer together to never permit such terrible tragedy to befall our future generations.”

The discussion itself featured Rabbi Robert Kaplan, director of the Center for Community Leadership; Dong Chan Kim of the Korean American Civic Empowerment group; Torah Center of Hillcrest Rabbi Moshe Faskowitz; and Linda Lee, from the Korean Community Services of Metropolitan New York.

The four panelists talked about community issues and inter-community partnerships.

Lee mentioned that one significant issue for both ethnicities is immigrant aging, with the need for better resources to communicate with seniors.

Faskowitz said that poverty, security and housing were all important issues for his community. He added that he believes the younger generation will best be able to work together on these problems.

Kim said a main concern for many Asian communities was immigration reform and building better healthcare.
For Kaplan, the dialogue was part of the solution that he felt his Jewish community needed to address; how to effectively work with and build leadership with other communities.

Reach Joe Marvilli at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 125,, or @Joey788.