"There are no perfect people in the Bible," declares Boulder-based Rabbi Jamie S. Korngold, aka the Adventure Rabbi, who introduces her new book, God in the Wilderness: Rediscovering the Spirituality of the Great Outdoors With the Adventure Rabbi, at an event tonight. "Even God wasn't perfect. Not a chapter goes by without God saying, 'Whoops! I messed up!'"
Fortunately, God got quite a bit right, including the wonders of the world and Korngold believes that communing with nature brings Jews and Christians alike closer to the Creator. She admits that some Jews, in particular, have difficulty embracing this concept at first especially ones who subscribe to the notion that the Chosen People belong in urban settings. "A lot of that comes from when we lived in Europe under very oppressive regimes that didn't allow us to own land," she explains. "The Jews were forced to live in cities, in ghettos, in very confined quarters." But many others resist such stereotypes, as she's learned through the development of the Adventure Rabbi program, which finds her encouraging believers to discover the connection between their faith and God's works during guided trips to areas such as the Grand Canyon. According to her, "Many of the people who come on a retreat for the first time will say, 'I didn't know there were so many Jewish people like me.'"
God in the Wilderness underscores this point by juxtaposing tales and anecdotes from Korngold's treks with biblical teachings that show how nature renews the spirit. The book also promotes environmentalism but in the end, Korngold says, her overall message boils down to two simple words: "Go outside."
Korngold takes the podium at the LoDo Tattered Cover, 1628 16th Street, at 7:30 p.m. There's no charge to attend. More details are available at 303-436-1070 or www.tatteredcover.com.
Wed., April 23, 2008