The Jew in the Lotus – Rodger Kamenetz


paperback – English – p.304 – ISBN 0-06-064574-1

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The Jew in the Lotus is a 1994 book by Rodger Kamenetz about a historic dialogue between rabbis and the Dalai Lama, the first recorded major dialogue between experts in Judaism and Buddhism. The book was a popular success and became an international best-seller. Writing in the New York Times, Verlyn Klinkenborg cited its broader relevance as a book “about the survival of esoteric traditions in a world bent on destroying them.” The book was primarily potent in capturing an ongoing engagement in the US between Jews, often highly secularized, and Buddhist teachings. Kamenetz popularized the term JUBU or Jewish Buddhist, interviewing poet Allen Ginsberg, vipassana teacher Joseph Goldstein, Ram Dass and other American Jews involved with bringing Eastern traditions to the West. The book also made prominent a Jewish mystical response to Eastern spirituality in the Jewish renewal movement, led by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, and Jewish meditation as taught by Rabbi Jonathan Omer-Man. The title is a pun on the Vajrayana mantra Om mani padme hum which is frequently interpreted as “hail to the jewel in the lotus”.

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