One exchange stands out:
JM: Many Forward readers will want to know why you "left" Judaism and became a Buddhist monk.You can't catch them all. But what an indictment.
SD: Judaism never really answered my questions when I was growing up. I asked questions, they said: "Be quiet. Stop with the questions. What's wrong with you?" So I sought elsewhere: psychology, philosophy, consciousness expansion, radical politics and then spirituality — Eastern philosophy, including yoga, meditation, prayer, fasting and other practices. I had a dry suburban rabbi who was a nice person, but didn't light my fire. Judaism didn't do it for me.
Now, in later years I met more enlightened rabbis — including Shlomo Carlebach, Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, Art Green and others. I remember, Shlomo said: "Jeffrey, the goyim don't need you, your people need you." I said: "They have me, rabbi. They don't know what to do with me."