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That's Funny, You Don't Look Buddhist: On Being A Faithful Jew and a Passionate
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That's Funny, You Don't Look Buddhist: On Being A Faithful Jew and a Passionate

3.79  ·  Rating Details ·  269 Ratings  ·  33 Reviews
In this landmark book, esteemed Buddhist teacher Sylvia Boorstein addresses this incisive question in a warm, delightful and personal way. With the same down-to-earth charm and wit that have endeared her to her many students and readers, Boorstein shows how one can be both an observant Jew and a passionately committed Buddhist.
ebook, 192 pages
Published October 5th 2010 by HarperCollins e-books (first published 1996)
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Oct 29, 2012 Arlene rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this book an insightful resource because it is based on Boorstein's own personal experience being a practitioner of both Conservative Judaism and also Buddhism. I appreciated her insights into how Buddha is not a deity demanding worship to his image; and that during his teachings he asked that each person discover Buddhism for his or herself. This, Boorstein, explains leaves room for each person to experience Buddhist practice (i.e. meditation, mindfulness, etc.) by virtue of who they ar ...more
Laila (BigReadingLife)
Sylvia Boorstein is just a gem. I find such comfort in her honesty and search for peace. There are a lot of Jewish references in here that I'm unfamiliar with, but that's okay, it's still interesting. What a quirky life path she's had!
Jan 12, 2017 Kaitlyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is delightful and also incredibly clear. Her explanations of lovingkindness, the way she shares her understanding of compassion, all of it. Not to mention humorous.

Makes me want to sit down with her and natter for a good long while.

May 21, 2017 Kristine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
Some friends of mine, aware of my great respect for Buddhist understanding and of my dedication to practice, have been surprised at my renewed interest in Judaism. "Why," they wondered, "would you want to complicate yourself with Judaism?" It's not a question, for me, of *deciding* to complicate myself with Judaism. I *am* complicated with Judaism. I have too much background in it not to be. More important, though, is that the complication nourishes me. I love it. - p 41

* * * * * * * * *

"The na
May 12, 2017 Dave rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
2.5 stars. She shares some great insight and interesting intersections/parallels, but interspersed with lots of details on people and events that add nothing to her points. Yes, I get it, the diversity of Jews interested in Eastern philosophy is great, but I don't need a chapter giving biographical details of the attendees of a dinner party. Perhaps the author is trying to impress us with the company she keeps. Meh.
Grady McCallie
Nov 20, 2013 Grady McCallie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In a series of very short essays - almost more like magazine columns, although these appear to have been written specifically for this book -- Sylvia Boorstein recounts stations on her spiritual journey to being an observant Jewish Buddhist. The key to this mix in her case is that her worldview is essentially Buddhist, while her main linguistic, scriptural, prayer, and ritual traditions are Jewish. As an explanation of what the world looks like from that perspective, the book is beautiful and ac ...more
This has been sitting on my shelf for a long time and I've always really wanted to read it. I finally decided that immediately following my attendance at the Interfaith Youth Core Interfaith Leadership Institute was the perfect time. The book wasn't entirely what I expected though I'm not certain what I expected - perhaps I let it build up too long and so the expectations were so high. Mainly, I just didn't really like her writing and I didn't think her overall approach to the book worked for me ...more
Jim Lavis
Feb 19, 2016 Jim Lavis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Losing this was like losing a friend!

On my trip to the Hampton's, a couple of weeks ago, I accidentally left this book on the plane. I always carry two or three books with me when I travel, so I had something to read, but I found myself really missing this particular book. I felt like I really lost something important, and I didn't know what to do. I was about two thirds through the book, and I even thought to myself, while getting off the plane, "now don't forget you place that book in the pouc
This is an oddly disjointed set of essays by Sylvia Boorstein. I started off being very confused - as if large parts of this book were alluded to in her other books, which I haven't read. I think this book would have been better as a true memoir of her life and spiritual path up to this point - that would have created a better narrative and story to follow.

I'm also not sure if this lives up to the title of the book - this is more of a set of essays on how Sylvia integrates her Buddhism and her J
Jen Helfand
I was so ready for this book to be perfect and glorious. I'd heard Sylvia boorstein on a radio program and felt sweet, Jewish grandmother heartful energy from her that just called to me. As a Jew and Buddhist, I am excited to see how others have negotiated these identities. This book did not hold together well. The voice that called me from the radio did not take on the same richness in this book. I'm still very much glad I read it and glad that this author has contributed so much to building a ...more
Jun 03, 2014 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The best parts of this book are when the author tells about herself and her own experiences of practicing her modes of spirituality with and around others. The parts where she describes various aspects of Buddhism or Judaism and how they relate are less successful in comparison, but they are clear and insightful.
Kat O'B
Interesting personal stories about how the author balances her Judaism and Buddhism. Some are entertaining; at times the style seems repetitious, but it worked fine to read in small bits over time at bedtime.
Aug 16, 2016 Sandy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Journeyers
A reassuring and relaxing read. A little bit of everything Buddhist. Dark night (but not by that name), mentors, red herrings, side-trips, and overall just being comfortable with who she is, and how she lets each faith support the other.
Aug 07, 2015 robin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, buddhism
Aside from some unsettling remarks about Israel that I can tentatively attribute to ignorance, I found this book full of wisdom and useful commentary on the nature of Buddhism and religion in the modern world.
I really liked some chapters, but I was expecting more emphasis on Buddhist teachings.
Tom Darrow
Some of the "Jewish" term are hard to gather or relate to in context. Good general story and ideas, though.
May 09, 2015 George rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting book. I have to agree with other reviewers who said that the book is terrific when she interjects her experiences into the mix.
May 13, 2013 Jody rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sylvia is beautiful, inside and out! She inspires me in many ways. If you love her as I do catch her podcasts!
Jun 21, 2015 Ruhegeist rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: well-being, bio
This is a collection of essays. Obviously some better than others but overall a very helpful step on my journey. Really helpful and profound insights.
Michelle Beese
Mar 12, 2013 Michelle Beese rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a fun and thought provoking book for a good non-practicing Catholic girl to read!
Interesting look at the convergence of Judaism and Buddhism.
Jan 01, 2013 Jim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A woman's efforts to find the best from both the Jewish and Buddhist traditions...a spiritual journey...
Sep 23, 2014 Ruth rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Boorstein needs to read Buber! It will then all make sense...
Aug 26, 2007 Matana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If everybody read this book and contemplate a little more, a chance of world peace will be a lot higher.
Mar 27, 2015 Sherry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
simply stated
profoundly received
May 03, 2009 M rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
She's a little too spiritual for me. I only read about half then I was too bored to continue.
Jun 27, 2012 Timothy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was interesting reading when I was exploring both Buddhism and Judahism. Interesting insight on how two religions can compliment each other.
Joy Bennett
Sep 22, 2013 Joy Bennett rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For anyone who is struggling with a hyphenated spiritual life. This book is funny, truthful, and very helpful and reassuring.
Jul 02, 2009 Margaret rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great introduction to Buddhism, warm and funny and kind.
Jan 06, 2009 molly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
heartfelt, smart, and inspiring.
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Sylvia Boorstein (born 1936) is an American writer and Buddhist spiritualist.
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