Where American Jews Stand in the Great Tangle of Yoga

Some Jews who swear by yoga refer to it as akin to Kabbalah in its more mystical teachings and hence in some sense already “Jewish.” Others, not.

A religious Israeli man practicing a kabbalistic form of yoga. GALI TIBBON/AFP via Getty Images.

A religious Israeli man practicing a kabbalistic form of yoga. GALI TIBBON/AFP via Getty Images.

Response
March 16 2020
About the author

Alan Brill holds the chair for Jewish-Christian Studies at Seton Hall University and is the author of, among other books, Judaism and World Religions (2012) and Rabbi on the Ganges: A Jewish-Hindu Encounter (2019).


“Should Religious Jews Practice Yoga?” So asks Menachem Wecker in the title of his deliberately provocative essay in Mosaic. His answer is that they definitely should not—because, however diluted it may be in its present-day American form, yoga in its essence remains a form of idolatry.

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More about: Hinduism, Religion & Holidays, Yoga