Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Great Loss

I only just learned of the death of my friend Rabbi Alan Lew. For both Sharon and me the sense of loss is almost beyond words.

In rest may he be as much at peace as he was in life. Our friendship was only brief, we knew each other only for several years, but he touched me (and Sharon) profoundly as he touched all who knew him.

Alan Lew, 1945-2009

Alan Lew, former rabbi of a San Francisco congregation and well known in Bay Area Zen Buddhist circles, died Monday on a trip to the East Coast.

Lew, the author of the spiritual memoir “One God Clapping” and two other books, was regarded as an innovator for bringing meditation practices into Jewish spirituality.

He was a spiritual seeker in California during the late 1960s and early 70s, when he was exposed to Zen meditation for the first time. He went on to practice for several years at the Berkeley and San Francisco Zen Centers, but while preparing for lay ordination as a Buddhist, he had a crisis that led him instead to become a rabbi.

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