Book Report on "The Jew in the Lotus: A Poet's Re-Discovery of Jewish Identity in Buddhist India"

Book Report on "The Jew in the Lotus: A Poet
Religion and Theology
Pages 6 (1506 words)
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Book report: The Jew in the Lotus: A Poet’s Re-Discovery of Jewish Identity in Buddhist India. At first sight this book looks like an unlikely subject, because there does not seem to be very much of an obvious linkage between Jewish Poetry and the practice of Buddhism in India.


The main subject matter of the book is an account of a real life meeting of some representatives of modern Judaism with the Dalai Lama, at the latter’s special invitation, to discuss how the Jews had coped with centuries of diaspora. It is clear that this experience of dispersal and persecution over two thousand years resonates with the situation facing the Dalai Lama and his followers who are still, in the twentieth century, suffering persecution in their homeland of Tibet, and forced to make a life for themselves in neighboring India, and further afield. The book proves that there is, in fact, much more that unites Jews and Buddhists than this single shared aspect of their history. There is a provocative starting point for the book, as the author describes landing on German soil on the way to New Delhi. The Jewish participants in the dialogue which was scheduled to take place in the Dalai Lama’s residence, were drawn from New York, Boston, London and Israel, and with some considerable irony they chose to fly out from Frankfurt. (Kamenetz, p. 5) The author notes his instinctive feelings of fear and dread at hearing the German language spoken in anger by a passenger nearby, and his equally intuitive joy at catching a glimpse of the Torah in the hands of his colleague. ...
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