(Zen Judaism joke sample: “If there is no self, whose arthritis is this?”)
The altar in Becca Topol’s living room carries a statue of Buddha and a garden stone painted with the Hebrew word for peace, shalom.
In April she celebrated Passover with a “Zen Seder” feast that opened with a modified Haggada narrative comparing Israel’s exodus from Egypt to Buddha’s liberation from suffering.
“I’m a Jewish Buddhist ? a JuBu,” said Topol, 37. “My Buddhist practice has actually made me a stronger Jew.”
While Buddhism has enriched Topol’s Judaism ? giving her a deeper sense of spirituality ? it has produced confusion in fellow JuBu David Grotell. Grotell, 41, is so worried about breaking Judaism’s ban against idol worship that “although I have a meditation spot in my home, as a Jew, I just can’t allow myself to put a statue of Buddha there.”