A few months ago, I was invited to the annual Asian-Jewish Film Festival in NYC.
I arrived to a small, welcoming room filled with people of various ethnicities and cultural backgrounds.
I sat down at a table with a young Jewish man from Israel, a Lebanese American woman, and a Chinese man from China.
All of them spoke Hebrew.
The conversation was a bit more subdued than the conversation I had with my Jewish friend, but I couldn’t help but feel a little uncomfortable as I listened.
After all, what would I say if I were an Asian-Jew living in the US?
The young man, who I will call Daphne, began by asking if I had heard of the band The Shins.
She was shocked to learn that there is no such band in the United States, but then I added that I was aware of them and had heard that they were doing a cover of my song “Ain’t That a Shame.”
She responded, “I am going to be an honorary member.”
Daphny is not the only Asian-Israeli to attend the Asian- Jewish Film Festival.
One other Asian-Israel-American has been nominated for the award, and he too has been surprised to learn of the award.
The other nominees include an Asian American actress and musician who has sung for Asian American and Hispanic artists, as well as a Chinese-American writer.
The Shin was nominated in 2007, the year of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The group, which is composed of Daphnea, Toni, and the singer, has been performing regularly since 2001.
I can’t say I am surprised, but the other nominees may have a point.
For me, “Aiyanas” is one of the most memorable and meaningful songs on the Shins’ debut album, “Bodhi,” which is out today.
I was very touched by the fact that the Shinta had nominated me for an award, given that my song has such a direct connection to the tragedy in Palestine and the conflict that continues to rage today.
And I’m so grateful that the award came to be, given my connection to it.
I also remember that the awards were a chance for the Shints to say goodbye to their beloved fans.
I am grateful that they have been able to honor my memory with an award.
Afterward, we walked back to the bar where we had started the evening, where the crowd was chanting “Aiya, Aiyanas.”
As we walked toward the bar, I heard a woman tell her friend, “It’s not your fault, it’s just the Shiniens.
It was so nice of you to tell them.”
My friend smiled and said, “Of course it is.”
This story is part of the New York Post’s The New York Times 100 Most Influential People in Pop Culture series.
Follow The Times of Israel on Facebook and Twitter.