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A Jewish New Yorker Becomes a Tibetan Pop Star. Plus… She Sings in Yiddish on Mongolian TV.

Ulaanbaatar is the capital of Mongolia.

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia at night.

Amalia Rubin has covered a lot of ground. I spoke to her recently via Skype, from my house in New York to her apartment in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia’s capital city, where she has been living for two years. We bonded over our cats, who both wouldn’t stop climbing across our respective computer keyboards. In person (or in a pixelated reproduction of a person) Amalia Rubin is funny, charismatic, and full of incredible stories ranging from hysterical to heart-wrenching.

And she certainly has ample experience to draw from: she’s been a Tibetan pop star, sang in Yiddish with a Mongolian band on a Mongolian singing competition, speaks and writes in fluent Tibetan, and is now working on a book about Mongolian shamanism, all while teaching and promoting culturally sustainable development and maintaining her Jewish culture.

Her dedication to both her own culture and others’ is remarkable. She has pulled disparate threads of her life and worldview into a strikingly harmonious composition.