Jerusalem Moonlight: An American Zen Teacher Walks the Path of His Ancestors
by Norman Fischer
Clear Glass Press: San Francisco, 1995
One morning, some six years ago, I saw Taizan Maezumi Roshi on one of his rare visits to New York. Maezumi Roshi, who died this past May, paid tribute to the practice of a senior monk at the Zen Community of New York, a woman who came from a religious Jewish household and who, after years of practice, was shortly to become a Zen teacher.
He said two things that morning: how much he appreciated the Judeo-Christian tradition that informed the religious background of almost all his students, and how much he appreciated the practice of certain students, and this monk in particular, who had undergone deep, often painful religious conflicts in the course of pursuing Zen practice as their religious path. I remembered that morning in reading Jerusalem Moonlight, by Norman Fischer, a Zen priest and the Abbot of Green Gulch Farm Zen Center in Marin County, California. For Fischer’s Zen path is a Jewish path as well, full of the contrasts, associations and even some of the ambivalences experienced by other Jewish Buddhist practitioners.