Touching the  Wall - Entering the Stream

             By chaplain karen j kobrin cohen

                                                                               
PREFACE

The scope of this book is actually quite narrow. In no way is the material to be taken as being all encompassing and definitive. The basic tenets of Buddhism and Jewish Mysticism (Kabbalah) presented here are just that, basic. Hopefully, the information given will intrigue the reader enough to go out and do more in order to learn and practice on his/her own. I have included a modest book list and some web sites that can be used to initiate this quest "to know."

As for my qualifications and background, it is openly presented within the covers of this book.

My reason for writing this book is quite simple. I had read numerous books about other people's spiritual journeys, especially those of Jewish men and women who wanted a more spiritual connection with Judaism and who ended up pursuing Eastern Philosophical systems to meet this need. I avidly read these biographically based stories searching for my self. However, I always ended up feeling dissatisfied with how they integrated their belief in Judaism and their Buddhist practice.

My frustration was due to the feeling I had that some how the core reason for their having delved into eastern meditation techniques, in the first place, had been glossed over. Consequently, I felt it was time to state it the way it is so that Jewish congregations, especially rabbis' and education directors, would bring the subject of Jewish mysticism and Jewish meditation techniques to the forefront of Jewish awareness and education.
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Countless Jewish young people stray from their Jewish-ness in search of a deeper connection to life and G-d. It's time that they were told that Judaism also has a system for drawing closer to G-d, and becoming one with all creation. Why must our young people search elsewhere for some thing they can have within the context of Judaism, itself? Hopefully, my story will help educate the Jewish community as to how the neglect of introducing the subject of Kabbalah/Jewish Mysticism hinders the growth of Judaism and causes an exodus of our young people away from their religion.

For Buddhists, I hope I have shown what Buddhism does right.
Buddha discovered the merit of meditation and taught all who desired to learn how to realize enlightenment for themselves. However, many Buddhists born into this tradition don't sit in meditation any more than the average Westerner. It is my hope that this book will encourage them to actively practice meditation, not just attend various temple functions and paying their respects to the monks. Buddhism is open about teaching meditation and you should take advantage of this.

And to the lay people of all the worlds various religious systems, those who question their beliefs and want a more direct experience, I encourage you to search within your own tradition first. You may be pleasantly surprised at what you find there.

Potomac Falls, Virginia
August 2000
K.K.C.