Here's something we've noticed after reading through our 600+ profiles: whenever someone converts from Judaism to Christianity, our gloves are off. We make fun of them, blast their decision, rightfully lower their Jew Score and slap them with a "Barely a Jew" verdict at best. And all in good cause: anyone who replaces Judaism with Jesus deserves to be ridiculed. We're looking at you, Kathie Lee Gifford.
But when a Jew starts practicing Buddhism, we respond a little differently. We don't seem to mind much (Jeremy Piven, Garry Shandling, Allen Ginsberg, Goldie Hawn), and the verdicts range from "Jew" to "Borderline Jew" at worst.
And that's likely because Buddhism can be seen as a way of thought rather than a religion. Because it requires a bit more than worshiping a dead guy nailed to a cross. Because a Jewish Buddhist somehow makes a tad more sense than a Jewish Christian.
And singer/songwriter/poet Leonard Cohen agrees with our premise. 100% Jewish by birth, he immersed in Buddhism, becoming ordained as a Buddhist monk. Yet, Cohen sees no conflict in being a Buddhist Jew. "I'm not looking for a new religion," he says. "I'm quite happy with the old one, with Judaism."
You'll never hear that from Kathie Lee Gifford.