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Sangha News     Zen Aluminati   Death&Dying

1-14-09 - SFZC notice on Rabbi Alan Lew's death

Zen rabbi Alan Lew died on Monday - JTA link

The San Francisco Zen Center community is saddened to learn that Rabbi Alan Lew, former resident practitioner who led many guest season retreats at Tassajara (one was scheduled for the summer of 2009) that bridged Judaism and Buddhism, unexpectedly died on Monday, January 12.

News reports say that Rabbi Lew, who was 65, passed away while out jogging. He was leading a meditation retreat on the East Coast.

Alan Lew is remembered for his work as a social activist, advocating for the homeless and poor, and leading protests at San Quentin against the death penalty. He studied Zen for ten years before attending seminary and ordaining as a Conservative Rabbi in the 1980s. For fourteen years he served as rabbi of Congregation Beth Sholom and founded, with former Zen Center Abbot Zoketsu Norman Fischer, Makor Or, now a program of the San Francisco Jewish Community Center.

Abbot Paul Haller expressed his sadness at the loss of Rabbi Lew and his appreciation for Alan's association with San Francisco Zen Center, "His practice was a great benefit to Zen Hospice and Zen Center."

Rabbi Lew was the author of three books: One God Clapping: The Spiritual Path of a Zen Rabbi (with Sherril Jaffe); This Is Real and You Are Completely Unprepared: The Days of Awe as a Journey of Transformation; and Be Still and Get Going: A Jewish Meditation Practice for Real Life.

This evening's service�Wednesday, January 14 at 6:20 pm�in the City Center zendo will be dedicated to Rabbi Lew.

Information from the Everyday Zen web site:

The funeral service will be held on Thursday, January 15, at 12 noon at Congregation Beth Sholom, located at 301-14th Avenue (near the corner of Clement Street), San Francisco. For information, call Synagogue Beth Sholom at 415.221.8736.

The Makor Or All Day Retreat on Sunday, January 18, will be a celebration of Rabbi Lew's life, led by Norman Fischer.

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