I wrote an article this week for Jewcy, a new online magazine devoted to Jewish culture in all its shapes and forms. It’s about being a Jewish-born Buddhist, and it’s called Speaking Up For The Bu-Jus.
I’ve been fascinated by religions — all of them — since I was a little kid. I guess that’s why I now claim two, not one, for myself. I’ve also been very influenced in my life by the great teachings of Jesus, who was every bit as powerful a philosopher as Buddha. But the historical trappings of Christianity don’t please me much (I don’t think they’d please Jesus either), whereas nearly every aspect of the Buddhist religion appeals to me. I guess a guy ought to have the right to choose his religion, and that’s why I wrote this short article.
As for Judaism, I relate to it more as a heritage and an ethnicity than as a personal philosophy of life. Both Judaism and Islam, for me, lack the intellectual power of either Buddhism or Christianity (or, for that matter, Confucianism or Taoism, though I know less about both).
Speaking of Judaism and Islam, I’m very disappointed in an organization I once respected, the Anti-Defamation League, for making a statement against the right of a peaceful Muslim group to build a cultural center in downtown New York City (a small and crowded neighborhood where everything is “near Ground Zero”).
The New York Times says: “An influential Jewish organization on Friday announced its opposition to a proposed Islamic center and mosque two blocks north of ground zero in Lower Manhattan, intensifying a fierce national debate about the limits of religious freedom and the meaning of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.”
I would change that to say “A formerly influential Jewish organization …”.
The Anti-Defamation League’s express purpose is to fight bigotry, in all it’s forms. The campaign against the “Ground Zero Mosque” has been a trivial publicity stunt from the beginning, and is not worthy of the Anti-Defamation League’s endorsement. They sure blew this call.
I’d love to hear what you have to say about any of these topics.