During the 1960s, many Jews began immersing themselves in Buddhism, Shamanism, Sufism, Hinduism, yoga, Christianity, Taoism, witchcraft, among other traditions.. In Crossing the Boundary, author and licensed psychotherapist Alan Levin deftly raises questions of personal identity, family, culture, tribal traditions, and heresy as he shares the stories of fourteen Jewish men and women who have become leaders in other spiritual paths. Ten years in the making, Levin’s book illuminates the psychological and spiritual aspects of the human quest to live our truths.
While some of Levin’s interviewees reveal the anguish they felt over having been accused of heresy, or subjected to deprogramming and psychotherapy, or being declared “dead” by their families, others saw much gentler responses to their new pursuits. But despite Jewish parents’ cries of, “What’s a nice Jewish boy (or girl) like you doing with a turban? (Or a crucifix?!!)”, as their sons and daughters became disciples of gurus or made the sign of the cross, Levin suggests that Jewish tradition has a healthy respect for intellectual exploration and encourages curiosity, questioning, and creativity. Few, including the boundary-crossers themselves, would say that they are no longer Jews.
Levin’s sensitive, probing, and provocative book will encourage all who are struggling to understand who they are in the light of their ethnic, tribal, or ancestral identity as they explore their own authentic ways of communing with the sacred.
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