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Published on Dec 2, 2008
This film examines the dramatic surge of interest among American Jews in the spiritual teachings of Buddhism. Jews, who make up 2% of the population, account for some 30% of non-Asian American Buddhists. Many of them are among the leading expositors and scholars of Buddhism in America. In practice, traditional Jewish ritual and liturgy are being modified in synagogues and among individuals seeking to incorporate the teachings of Buddhism into their spiritual lives.
Jews and Buddhism is the first film to interrogate in depth the reasons for this phenomenon, explore it in the context of 20th century Jewish-American life, and consider its impact on contemporary Jewish thought and practice. This documentary, named "...one of the outstanding documentaries of 1999." by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, is narrated by Sharon Stone, and includes rare footage of the Dalai Lama, spiritual leader of Tibet, as well as David Ben Gurion, Alan Ginsberg, Sylvia Boorstein, Rabbi Alan Lew, and many others. The film has appeared on PBS and the History channel as well as over 50 film festivals worldwide. In addition, it is in widespread educational distribution.