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Zen rabbi Alan Lew dies

SAN FRANCISCO (JTA) — Rabbi Alan Lew, who was known for his efforts to bridge Judaism and Buddhist teachings, died unexpectedly.

Lew, the retired spiritual leader of San Francisco’s Congregation Beth Sholom, died Monday while jogging, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. He was 65.

Synagogue officials told JTA that he was in Baltimore teaching at the Jewish Theological Seminary’s rabbinic training institute.

Lew was the author of “One God Clapping: The Spiritual Path of a Zen Rabbi.” Before joining the Conservative rabbinate he spent 10 years studying Zen Buddhism, and later pioneered the use of meditation to enhance Jewish spirituality.

The rabbi also was a social justice activist who protested executions at San Quentin penitentiary and argued for the homeless and poor at City Hall, according to Rabbi Micah Hyman, the current spiritual leader at Beth Sholom.

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