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Jews and the Invention of American Buddhism

Thursday, March 4, 2021 20 Adar 5781

6:30 PM - 8:00 PMZoom

American Jews played a crucial role in the invention and shaping of Buddhism in America. How and why have so many Jews taken up the rigorous practices of the various forms of Buddhism and the complex and often arcane philosophical and religious scaffolding that supports them? How do American Jews embrace a dual religious identity? How has the encounter between Jews and Buddhism reconfigured both faiths?

This talk will examine – with thoughtful historical, cultural, and religious analysis – the emergence of this encounter and of the “Jew-Bu” phenomena. I will also offer reflections on my own engagement with Buddhism and how that journey began and evolved for me – a story which is at times both poignant and humorous.  - Simon Zalkind

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Simon Zalkind, B’nai Havurah member, is an independent curator and art advisor specializing in modern and contemporary art. He has worked with numerous institutions, corporations and collectors in curating collections and exhibitions, including The Brooklyn Museum, The Neuberger Museum, The Denver Art Museum, Redline, the Museum of Contemporary Art, The Singer Gallery at the  MACC, and many others.  Simon has a Master’s degree in Religious Studies from DU and Iliff School of Theology.






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Wed, February 24 2021 12 Adar 5781