By Stan Wilson and Casey Wian, CNN
Los Angeles (CNN) - When Chang Soon Lee reflects on his childhood years in North Korea, his joy quickly turns to deep sadness. Like millions of Koreans caught in the middle of the Korean War in the early 1950s, Chang at the age of 15 was forced to flee his native homeland.
His father, a prominent minister who survived World War II, disappeared just days after communist-led forces invaded Pyongyang. "After the (World War II) liberation of Korea, my father often visited churches and preached but one day we waited for him and he never returned home," says Chang.
By the time an armistice halted the Korean War in 1953, nearly 37,000 U.S. troops had been killed and more than 400,000 North Koreans soldiers were dead, according to the U.S Department of Defense.
Chang eventually emigrated to the United States on a student visa and became a minister, co-founding a ministry for Korean immigrants at Wiltshire United Method Church in Los Angeles, home to the nation's largest Korean-American population.
Read the full story on CNN's Belief blog
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(CNN) – "But you don’t look Jewish," Jen Chau remembers being told often as a child.
But then again, what is a Jew supposed to look like? The usual implication in those words was that it was not supposed to look like Chau, who was raised Jewish by her European-American mother and Chinese father.
"I still think society's idea of a Jew is someone who looks like Jerry Seinfeld or Woody Allen," said Chau, 34. "They don’t look at someone like me and think, 'Oh, she could be Jewish.'"
But the face of Judaism in America is changing, as the community becomes more diverse through intermarriage, adoption, immigration and conversion.
What defines you? Maybe it’s the shade of your skin, the place you grew up, the accent in your words, the make up of your family, the gender you were born with, the intimate relationships you chose to have or your generation? As the American identity changes we will be there to report it. In America is a venue for creative and timely sharing of news that explores who we are. Reach us at email@example.com.
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