Jews and Buddhism
JEWS AND BUDDHISM: Belief Amended, Faith RevealedA documentary film by Bill Chayes and Isaac Solotaroff
40 minutes, 1999. DVD NTSC
This film examines the dramatic surge of interest among American Jews in the spiritual teachings of Buddhism. Jews, who make up two percent of the population, account for some thirty percent 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 one of the first films to explore in depth the reasons for this phenomenon, examine 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.
"It is the first film that accurately tells the story of the effect of Eastern religion on Jewish life and presents it in a way that is emblematic of the cross cultural issues that are before us as separate communities." - Janis Plotkin, Director, San Francisco Jewish Festival
"A sensitive and gentle exploration of the little known, but growing trend among Jews and Buddhists in the West to discern common threads… A most intriguing concept, very well-presented here … this is highly recommended for collections.” - Video Librarian
“This film is a very welcome addition to my library on World Religions. It expands both Judaism and Buddhism in new directions and by doing so, it expands our awareness of what is happening in our world. This will be very valuable for my students of Comparative Religions.” -
Professor Ben Cox
Original music by Jami Sieber
Produced in cooperation with The Judah L. Magnes Museum
Narrated by Sharon Stone