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After years of studying and practicing Buddhism at a Zen center near Chicago, he received lay ordination as a Zen Buddhist in 2002."I am a Zen Jew struggling to resolve these two identities," he writes.On one of my trips to India a few years later, I visited Janaki in her remote Himalayan retreat.
"Oh," my wife interrupts, "by the way, it's my husband's religion, too.
And it's the religion we're raising our children in, just so there's no confusion." "I understand," the meditation teacher says. David's conflict continued to fester as he became more deeply involved in Zen practice even while faithfully attending their local Conservative synagogue. "David," she told him, "your practicing Buddhism is a knife in my heart." At that point, David decided to write to Rabbi Akiva Tatz, a South African-born physician and author who has a reputation for plumbing the spiritual depths of Judaism.
Since the affinity of Jews for Eastern paths is a push-pull dynamic of attraction to the East accompanied by aversion towards many aspects of what they consider to be Judaism, David sought answers for the issues that turned him off about Judaism.
Not one of them mentioned the possibility that perhaps -- just perhaps -- they had never learned Torah in the deep way they had learned Buddhism or Hinduism.
In admitting that his "complaints" were partly due to his own ignorance, David Gottlieb opened the way for a dialogue with a rabbi that was dazzling in its illumination.
David Gottlieb's 15 questions span such subjects as God, chosenness vs.