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University of Colorado Boulder Program in Jewish Studies

Adventure Rabbi Becomes Adventure Judaism

For the last 18 years, Boulder has been the proud home and launching place for the Adventure Rabbi. What started as a one-woman show seems to have grown and lately, we’ve been noticing a new name in the community, Adventure Judaism.  A new program? An impostor? Expansion?

BJN “sat down” with Rabbi Jamie Korngold, the Adventure Rabbi, to get the inside scoop.

BJN: What’s the scoop? Is someone nudging in on your adventure turf?

Rabbi Jamie: No, far less scandalous than that. Listen, 18 years ago, when I started this crazy thing, it was just me and my hiking boots out on the trail, collecting Jewish people who felt more spiritual outside than inside. Over the last 18 years, I’ve worked with thousands and thousands of people. We added programs, we added staff, we moved into a building, and before I knew it, Adventure Rabbi wasn’t me working solo anymore.

BJN: So what’s in the name?

Rabbi Jamie: Well, with three Rabbis and three Educators on the team and a Board of ten people, we realized it was time to broaden the name to reflect the broader organization. We’re all anticipating that this organization continues past my term, not that I am leaving anytime soon, don’t panic! Becoming Adventure Judaism reflects that longer vision, the larger team, and a broader reach.

BJN: But you are the core! So many associate you with the Adventure movement!

Rabbi Jamie: Well thanks, I did create it and that is very affirming. And you are correct that it used to be that anyone who came to us entered through the programs I run. But today there are plenty of people who engage primarily with our Educator, Elaine Barenblat or with Rabbi Lynne Goldsmith, one of our rabbis, who specializes in conversion studies and weddings. These participants may not even know me personally but know the program, our approach and commitment to Jewish identity and practice through adventure and the wilderness.

BJN: Do you still offer the same events?

Rabbi Jamie: Yes and no. We still have our big Seder in Moab April 19-21,
and our Hikes with the Rabbi.

Adventure Judaism Passover Seder and Retreat

But there are more offerings now. We have added an expedition-based Bar and Bat Mitzvah program, an online Bar Mitzvah program, a religious school and, our congregation even offers membership.

BJN: Congregation? Membership?

Rabbi Jamie: Yup, can you believe it? We, originally outliers, have become a congregation. You don’t have to be a member to participate, but you can. Who would have thought? It turns out people like to belong. They like to affirm their support and be part of an ongoing community. Membership enables people to know they belong and also lets them support the organization in which they believe.

BJN: A side question before I wish you all the best on this new phase: What are your winter sports?

Rabbi Jamie: Hah! Love it. I’m a fanatical Nordic skier, I’m up there several times a week. Eldora is so close that  I can get a full workout and be back at my desk by 9 am.  I also swim with the master’s program, outdoors, year-round, no matter the weather. (Confession: If it’s under 7 degrees out, I bail.)

BJN: Rabbi Jamie, thanks for your time and for all you have done for the Jewish community in Boulder and around the world.

Rabbi Jamie: Thank you for all you do for the community!

Bar/Bat Mitzvah Prep

About Rabbi Jamie Korngold

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