Whittier College News Release

For Immediate Release - March 19, 1999
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Rodger Kamenetz, author of the national bestseller, The Jew in the Lotus will speak at the Ruth B. Shannon Center for the Performing Arts at Whittier College at 7 p.m., Wednesday, April 14. The program, "What I learned about Judaism from the Dalai Lama," is part of Whittier's annual Feinberg Lecture series.

The Jew in the Lotus is the chronicle of an historical meeting between a delegation of American Jews and a group of Tibetan Buddhists, including the Dalai Lama. The interfaith discussions were inspired in part by the increasing number or Jews who have become Buddhists as well as the Dalai Lama's perception of Jews as "survival experts" who could offer advice and comfort to Buddhists.

Kamenetz has also written Stalking Elijah: Adventures with Today's Jewish Mystical Masters, and, most recently, Terra Infirma: A Memoir of My Mother's Life in Mine, a collection of essays on his mother's life and death, and her influence on his own life. His books of poetry are The Missing Jew: New and Selected Poems, Nympholepsy and Stuck.

His articles and essays on religion have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Moment and Reform Judaism. In 1996, he organized a national campaign of Passover Seders for Tibet, which included hosting the Dalai Lama at a seder in Washington, D.C. He is nationally recognized for his work on the Jewish-Buddhist dialogue.

Kamenetz is a professor of English at Louisiana State University, where he teaches in the graduate creative writing program and directs the Jewish Studies minor. He holds degrees from Yale, Johns Hopkins and Stanford.

The lecture is free and open to the public, but seating is limited and tickets are required. For more information, call the Shannon Center Box Office at (562) 907-4203.

Established by college trustee Sheldon Feinberg and his wife, Betty, the Feinberg Lecture Series was created to invite major scholars to the college to discuss the broad historic, religious and political issues encompassed by Judaism and its role in a changing world. Previous Feinberg lecturers include author and radio talk show host, Dennis Prager; John Loftus, prosecutor of Nazi criminals; Seymour Martin Lipset, Hazel Professor of Public Policy at the Institute of Public Policy at George Mason University; and William Helmreich, professor of sociology and Judaic studies at City University Graduate Center and City College of New York.

Located 18 miles east of Los Angeles, Whittier College is an independent, four-year college offering traditional liberal arts majors and strong pre-professional programs taught in the context of the liberal arts. Whittier Law School, which is accredited by the American Bar Association and the Association of American Law Schools, is located on a separate campus in Costa Mesa.

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