A Japanese Jewish Family in Hong Kong Reaches Out

from back l to right … Mayumi Brenner (Honda), Emiko Kamoshida (Grandma), Brian Brenner, Joseph Brenner, Yoshikazu Honda, Shintaro Honda, Ahmed Musakani (Grandma’s remarried husband)

by Erica Lyons

Hong Kong’s Brian and Mayumi Brenner are doing everything ‘right’ to give their children a strong Jewish identity and Jewish values. They are active members of Hong Kong’s United Jewish Congregation and they send their boys to Hong Kong’s Jewish Day School, Carmel School. They are raising their boys to like themselves to make a positive contribution to the world and of course to embrace the Jewish value of tzedakah.

The Brenner’s interest in helping Japan, while very much connected to their Jewishness, is much more. It is deeply personal. Mayumi is Japanese and grew up in Mito & Hitachi Naka City which is along the east cost of Japan half way between Tokyo and Sendai. This is also about 40 to 50 Km from the Nuclear Power Plant in Fukushima. Her parents and her three brothers and her sister, along with their spouses and children, still live there.

At Hong Kong’s Jewish Community Center yesterday, the Brenner’s were approached by many well wishers. The conversation quickly turned to practical matters like how to appropriately assess on-the-ground needs and how to raise awareness as to the level of assistance required.

The Brenner’s have been doing their best to remain in contact with Mayumi’s family and hope that by blogging their experiences for them, they will raise awareness of what is really happening on the ground and in the event it is needed, will be able to drive much needed aid to the areas that most need assistance. As Brian explains, “The earthquake was only 5 minutes long and tremendous damage was caused. A lot of what we do not know about is what concerns us most. We just don’t know exactly what will happen next, which is why we started to blog. One minute things may seem fine but with so much uncertainty on infrastructure, we just wanted to make sure that we could monitor the situation and broadcast the first hand information we are receiving. “

Ultimately they hope that their very personalized story will be able speak to people on a level where numbers and statistics fail.

You can follow the Brenner’s family story on their blog, HItachi Naka City Earthquake Recovery Blog.

Asian Jewish Life and eJewish Philanthropy are partnering together, leveraging our global contacts, to bring first-hand information on how the Jewish/Israeli world is responding on the ground in the aftermath of the Japanese quake. For more, see Japanese earthquake updates.