“Jubu” is the colloquial term to describe a Jewish Buddhist, someone with a Jewish ethnic and/or religious background who has a taken on Buddhist practice of some sort, whether meditation or spirituality. The term was first brought into wide circulation with the publication of The Jew in the Lotus by Rodger Kamenetz, a book which chronicled a meeting between the Dalai Lama and several rabbis. The Dalai Lama wanted to know how the Jews survived as a people without a country for 2000 years. The rabbis wanted to know what so many Jews were seeking in Buddhism.
Obviously there is no orthodox Jubu-ism. You can be a Conservative Vajrayanist, a Reform Theravadan, a Zen Reconstructionist. Practice varies with the individual. Some people practice both traditions, some have left Judaism behind, others use Buddhist meditation techniques to inform their Jewish practice.
Of course, many Jews believe these traditions are completely incompatible. So what am I? A radical Conservative neo-Hasidic Theravadan practitioner of Vipassana. And of course, as you can tell from the title of this blog, I’m also queer. Not so oddly enough, inasmuch as queer folk are usually boundary crossers in one way or another, a number of well know Jubus are also queer. But being a Jubu is no indication of someone’s sexuality.
If you want to learn more about it all, take a look at:
The Jew in the Lotus by Rodger Kamenetz,
One God Clapping by Alan Lew and Sherril Jaffe,
That's Funny, You Don't Look Buddhist! by Sylvia Boorstein
God in Your Body: Kabbalah, Mindfulness and Embodied Spiritual Practice, by Jay Michaelson