If you are interested in MahJong pls. email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The MWC currently has TWO MahJongg groups – the original group and our new MWC MahJong, Too. Both groups play American MahJong. The MWC’s first MWC MahJong group is currently fully subscribed and not open to members. However, the MWC’s second group – MWC MahJongg, Too! – has started recently and IS accepting new members. They play on Tuesdays from 2-5pm and meet (for now) on the Upper West SIde.
If you are a MWC Member who interested in playing MahJongg please email us as per above and you will be put in touch with the group’s communications coordinator, Jennifer Dossin. We provided a month of kick-off instruction this past January and are likely to offer additional sessions sometime soon – but none are currently scheduled. If you have some prior MahJong experience (but are by no means an expert!) you can jump right in. This is social MahJong and other players are willing to give advice and encouragement. However, if you want to play but have had NO prior Mah Jongg experience, we suggest the following:
Get Yourself a 2019 National MahJongg League Card – All play starts with the card issued annually by the National MahJongg League (the one with the tile combinations you’ll need to win MahJongg!) – CLICK HERE to go to their website to get yours.The National MahJongg League’s website also offers a lot of information and also an online instruction capability – go to their site or give them a call (212-246-3052) if you want to know more.
Consider Taking A Few Lessons – HONORS Bridge is now offering MahJongg Lessons as are several other groups. It’s a good, quick way to get going and you can jump right in.
Check Out YouTube – There are a number of YouTube videos which offer really good instruction. Either go to YouTube and type in “MahJong” in the search bar, or CLICK HERE or HERE to be taken to some of them – but there are many, many of these on YouTube.
Learn From A Book – There are many how-to books about MahJong. We recommend this one, for beginners, on Amazon (CLICK HERE to find it) but there are many others as well.
There’s an App for That – In fact there are many, many MahJong apps out there – for both the Android and IOS mobile platforms. One highly recommended (and free) one is: MahJong Myth. Go to either the Apple Store or Google Play and search for “MahJong” and you will have many to choose from – both free and paid.
[Thanks to Jennifer Dossin for compiling all of the information above!]
Before you know it, you’ll have just enough familiarity with MahJong that you can hop right in – and we’ll be glad to have you!
BACKGROUND OF MAHJONG
While Mahjong is popularly associated with Jewish grandmothers spending hours at the game, it just so happens that it is now cooler than cool. And the subject of a PhD. dissertation: “Mahjong: Race, Gender and the Transnational Politics of Culture” by one Annelise Heinz , a doctoral candidate from Stanford University. Yikes, that sounds like an incredibly intellectual and maybe a tad overbearing way to present the enduring appeal of a game which while still popular in Jewish enclaves is also just as popular anyplace where women get together and enjoy each other’s company. (Hmmm…. doesn’t seem like men play it too much.) Some go so far as to say there’s a Mahjong Renaissance going on right now !
America’s first love affair with Mahjong started in the 1920’s when it was brought to the country by one (quite WASP-y) Joseph Babcock after he had been stationed in Shanghai by his employer, Standard Oil. He had learned the game in the cosmopolitan expatriate clubs there and when he returned to the United States he not only decided to import Mahjong sets, but also rewrote the rules for an “American” version. His timing was spot-on since the 1920’s were a time when there was a huge interest in this country for everything Oriental which seemed exotic and sophisticated. By the 1930’s a National Mahjong League (still in existence) was formed. It wasn’t until after WWII that Mahjong became associated with Jewish women. Why that happened is open to speculation but one theory is that it was a time when huge numbers of people were moving out of cities and spreading into suburbs where Jews were often a minority (uh, go read Laura Z. Hobson’s best-selling, GENTLEMAN’S AGREEMENT). What MahJong was then – and remains to this day – was a really powerful tool for building community, connections and social cohesion. Something which is important in any era and with groups of people (ok, mostly women) from all backgrounds. Those Jewish grandmothers knew what they were doing.
The game’s visceral associations are strong. The soft clicking and clacking of mahjong tiles. The quiet murmur and sometimes exclamations of conversation, gossip and kibbitzing. And then there’s the snacking and maybe a bit of alcoholic refreshment! The strong secret-society feeling is enhanced by the foreign-looking tiles bearing Chinese characters, flowers and images of bamboo. Amy Tan’s best-selling novel, THE JOY LUCK CLUB, used Mahjong as the structure by which you came to know her characters, during years of conversation and revelations during their games.
We’re thrilled to have TWO MahJong groups within the MWC … and hope to accommodate as many as want to play!