Zen Judaism

Norman Fischer can connect Zen Buddhism with almost anything. He taught lawyers and businesspeople how to incorporate Zen into their companies. He led Buddhist workshops for software engineers. He even helped U.S. Army chaplains incorporate Zen practices into their work.

So it’s no surprise that Fischer can draw lines between two ancient religions: Judaism and Zen Buddhism. Rather than relegating Zen to Eastern practices, Fischer is dedicated to bringing Zen’s applications into Western culture, especially modern Jewish practice.

Norman Fischer’s main focus is poetry and its relationship with spirituality. His upcoming visit to Asheville will focus on the practice of silent meditation as a new way to approach Judaism. “In our time religion needs to be re-thought… Silence creates a larger inner space than doctrine or belief can fill. Under the influence of silence, how would we understand God, sin and prayer in Jewish terms?” asks Fischer in a recent press release. 

Fischer will read from his book-length poem Conflict on Monday, Feb. 6 at 7:30 p.m. in UNCA’s Karpen Hall. He’ll speak about “God, Sin, Pain, Song and Jewish Meditation” in UNCA’s Sherrill Center on Tuesday, Feb. 7 at 7 p.m. The lectures are free and open to the public.

These conversations are sponsored by UNCA’s Center for Jewish Studies and more information is available by calling 232-5027.


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