Adventure Rabbi encourages soaking in natures beauty
January 10, 2009
COPPER MOUNTAIN Adventure Rabbi Jamie Korngolds nontraditional Shabbat service encouraged the congregation to gain awareness through nature at Copper Mountain on Saturday.Look around, Korngold said. Just be awake to all the amazing things that surround us.About 24 attended, reading Jewish verse and contemplating the day. Though more traditional Jews may spend the Shabbat resting indoors or worshipping in synagogues, this rabbis progressive approach encourages adventure. Korngold said the type of Judaism she follows doesnt take the scriptures literally, but is based more on the intentions. The tradition of rest on the Shabbat is derived from a time when people spent their week outdoors working hard.A lot of us spend the week behind computers and in meetings, she said. Its more meaningful to get outside.And her radically different approach to the religious service lasts about 20 minutes relative to traditional one-and-a-half- to four-hour services. I like to think of it as a time-release capsule, Korngold said. My hope is that the people will think about what I said, and when theyre on the chairlifts theyll talk about it, and theyll take an ordinary day of skiing and make it their holy day just because theyve committed those 15 minutes right now, thinking along those lines.All people regardless of spiritual orientation are welcome at the monthly services. Saturdays session included Jewish songs and Korngolds reflections on Genesis, from the Old Testament. A lot of times in Judaism were the people of the book, and we get really hung up on the words. I want to use this passage to remind us that the words arent all thats important. Its the action thats important, she said. The service occurred mid-way up the mountain, just below Solitude Station in a gazebo near the top of the American Eagle Lift. Her husband, Jeff Finkelstein, said theres often a mix of people at the services. Its mostly Jewish people that come, he said. But everybodys welcome.Korngold said some folks buy passes to the ski area especially for the services; others plan their vacations to include them. Bill Berger who lives in Denver but has a home in Breckenridge has been attending for about four years and says the services are pretty cool.Its nice to kind of pause and appreciate what we have, he said. Life is good.The Adventure Rabbi program was created in 2001 to help others learn how time spent outdoors can help them recapture their lost spirituality and reconnect with the wisdom of Judaism, according to godinthewilderness.com.Korngold is author of God in the Wilderness, a book released last year thats available at major book stores. It emphasizes spiritual awareness through nature rather than consumption, among other ideas. The first Adventure Rabbi service at Copper was in 2002, and attendance is highest in the spring, when the group can be as large as 65 people, Korngold said. From Feb. 27 to March 1, Korngold and Finkelstein will offer a Jewish winter retreat. For more information, visit adventurerabbi.com.A reform Jewish rabbi, Korngold lives in Boulder with her husband and two daughters.