A Jewish Mother in Shangri-la

Rosie Rosenzweig, A Jewish Mother in Shangri-la

Echoing ‘The Jew in the Lotus’, Rosie Rosenzweig’s book describes a personal journey of Jewish identity and Buddhism.  Starting with the ‘come home Sheldon’ joke about the Jewish mother whose son becomes the leader of an eastern religion, Rosenzweig explains that this really happened to her: her son Ben became a Buddhist.  Through a journey with him through Europe to Nepal, she demonstrates how she came to terms with her reservations about his beliefs and her fear for his soul, which is seen against the backdrop of her growing Jewish commitment and deepening halachic observance.  The book is entertaining, well-written and highly unusual, written by a woman who seems to be simultaneously a stereotypical Jewish mother and an open-minded, thinking poet and practitioner of meditation.  I found some of her views on Judaism simplistic, and her approach to Buddhism somewhat naive, yet none of this detracted from a worthwhile read.