I’ve made a decision.

I’m going to stop fucking around, and I’m going to take these Buddhist tendencies that I’ve been dealing with for the past decade or so seriously.

Zen Buddhism is now unofficially-officially part of my path.

Okay, don’t let the title of this post freak you out. I’m not leaving Judaism. But lately I am feeling as though all of the things that I value most in Judaism, all of what I reach in for and pull out of Jewish practice, of Jewish text, of Jewish spirituality, is actually Zen.

It’s also a bunch of other things with and without names.

I’m feeling really constrained. I’m feeling claustrophobic in my religion. Too much of Judaism and Jewish community is wrapped up in the expectations of others. There is always the feeling of someone waiting for you to screw up, someone trying to show you up, someone listening carefully for a betrayal, for an ideology, for a something that means that you do not match up to what this is supposed to be. And regardless of who else is doing it, it is always you who is doing it the most.

You, of course, means me. Maybe it also means you… not my place to say.

Right now… my religion needs to be compassion, openness, stillness… where right now Judaism feels like too much defensiveness, distrust, noise. This is how I am feeling right now. This is how I feel as a Jew among Jews right now. Current events have a lot to do with this… but not everything.

I am still a practicing Jew. I am still reading Torah at shul this coming Shabbos, and the next. I am not going to stop keeping kosher or lighting candles or observing Shabbos in the ways that I do. But my Jewish practice right now is not looking so much like a path as it is looking like clothing. My Judaism needs a path. Or perhaps, just a cushion.


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