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Korean performers wow, warm Jewish audience

Brooklyn Daily
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Korean Christians staged a free exhibition of cultural performances in front of a mostly Jewish audience at the Kings Bay Y on Wednesday, in a show that expressed the ethnic and religious group’s solidarity with people of the other faith and their support of Israel’s struggle to maintain its sovereign hold on the Holy Land.

“Their goal is to show their love for Jews and Israel,” said Ken Soloway, the assistant executive director at the Kings Bay Y. “It was a really special thing.”

The event’s organizers amazed their hosts with the speed at which they were able to organize the show, which featured world-class talents, including the United States Olympic National Taekwondo Demo Team Coach Kee Young Choi.

“I couldn’t have imagined it,” Soloway said, “how fast they put it together. This was a serious production.”

Even more impressive, however, was the sense of fellowship and love the Koreans showed their Jewish brothers, who were taken aback by a torrent of unsolicited hugs and displays of affection.

“They were hugging everyone they could hug, everyone felt so welcome and warm,” Soloway explained. “To Jews, that’s something they’re not used to, especially from non-Jews.”

Korea’s own long history as a besieged nation struggling to maintain its sovereignty and cultural identity among powerful, often aggressive neighbors gives many Koreans a strong empathy towards Israel.

The response amongst the audience, especially visitors from Israel, was worth seeing — perhaps as much as the show itself.

“There were some Israelis there, and they were crying,” said Soloway. “They were blown away, they never imagined, especially growing up in Israel, that there were people that felt this way towards Jews.”

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4514.
Updated 6:58 pm, August 19, 2013
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