Buddhist Jews a growing U.S. force

UPI, May 2, 2006

San Francisco, CA (USA) -- A new breed of Buddhism is growing in the United States that is being fueled by believers in Judaism, who are known as JuBus, a report said Tuesday.

The United States has an estimated 6 million Jews and 3 million Buddhists. While most U.S. Buddhists are Asian, up to 30 percent of converts are Jewish.

The growing JuBu movement is "a fruitful and beautifully creative meeting of two religious streams that came together in the United States," Rabbi Alan Lew told The Los Angeles Times.

The rabbi of Congregation Beth Shalom in San Francisco operates a meditation program next to his synagogue.

"We get up from here and walk next door to the synagogue, where instead of reading sutras, we study (the) Torah," Lew said. "Meditation is really catching on in the Jewish community."

"Suffering is at the heart of the matter," said "Letters to a Buddhist Jew" author David Gottlieb. "Judaism, at its best, embraces suffering and, at its worst, enshrines it. Buddhism explicitly seeks to end suffering, and doesn't look to the past."