My daughter’s Japanese friend asked me about my faith last weekend.

He noticed I have a few Buddha statues in my garden and home. He wondered why I would follow Buddhism if I was Jewish. He thought the Jewish faith and teachings would give me what I needed for my spiritual path. I thought it was such an interesting question and I thanked him for asking it.

Growing up in Israel as a secular Jew separates one from religion. As a child I wasn’t introduced to religion as a spiritual practice or a path. I had bible classes at school and l learned to hate the religious communities in Israel due to political tensions.

As the Israeli government doesn’t separate state and religion, we are all tangled and conflicted with how our country should run and how religion fits in.

Only when I left for NY when I was 24, I reunited with my Jewish faith. It is when I had the spacious approach of how to practice one’s identity and the vast options of how to practice spirituality, where I was able to reconnect and grow so much respect to the many different ways I can be Jewish. 

I am still a secular Israeli, culturally Jewish, appreciating the Buddhist approach to living a happier and healthier life, respecting all my Reform, Orthodox, Modern Orthodox Jewish friends in all the flavors and ways.

One big Buddhist teaching is to cooperate with reality. To know there is suffering in the world, and that we cannot separate it from the human experience. 

I am struggling with sitting with all of that these days when my country is in chaos and my family is in so much pain.  It is hard to stay hopeful. 

Thank you for all the notes and texts and emails many of you sent this past weekend. There is nothing more comforting than having community support.

My sincere thanks,

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  1. Appreciate your approach to religion and spirituality …
    So sorry for all the sadness and tragedy you and your community is enduring … prayers and hope that a solution comes quickly and peace prevails ❤️

  2. There are no words that convey the shock and sadness
    we Jews are experiencing all over the world.
    Just know that AM YISRAEL CHAI and “we will prevail”
    have never been more appropriately conveyed.

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