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Pardes Levavot

Pardes Levavot, “Orchard of Hearts,” was formed in the spirit of creating conscious holy community. Our name expresses the spiritual blossoming of each individual heart within an inspiring and nurturing orchard.

For information on our congregation please call (303) 563-2110 and leave a message or send email to info@pardeslevavot.org. To join our congregation, please print a copy of our membership form, fill it out, and send it to our Synagogue.


Pardes Levavot gratefully acknowledges Allied Jewish Federation of Colorado for their support of our Circle of Family Education program. Thank you!

Reprinted from the The Daily Camera, October 29, 2005


Remembering the dead

All Souls' Day event reaches beyond Christianity

By Mary Butler, Camera Staff Writer
October 29, 2005

Theologian Abraham Joshua Heschel famously wrote that death helps people understand life.

"In our tradition, there's a notion that life is a journey and death is the homecoming," says Rabbi Nadya Gross of Pardes Levavot, a Jewish Renewal congregation in Gunbarrel.

On Wednesday, Gross will be among the speakers at a multi-faith All Souls' Day ceremony to commemorate the dead. The day is traditionally observed by Catholics, who pray for the faithful departed. The idea is to help those souls not yet cleansed of "venial" or pardonable sins move from purgatory into heaven.

In the early 1990s, Merlyn Querido and her late husband, Rene, reinterpreted the day as a time for people, regardless of their faith, to honor departed loved ones. Their local All Souls' Day tradition continues today.

Two long boxes are filled with sand at Shining Mountain Waldorf School in Boulder, and the room is decorated with pine boughs and tall candles.

Community members light candles in memory of friends and family members no longer with them and partake in what Querido describes as a "quiet, inward festival."

There's a choir as well as eurythmy, a modern style of movement set to spoken word.


Cristina Geck, left, Thyria Ogletree, and Debra Agee, rehearse for the multi-faith All Souls' Day event to be held on Wednesday at the Shining Mountain Waldorf School in Boulder. They will be performing eurythmy, a modern movement set to spoken word.
Photo by Sammy Dallal

Thyria Ogletree and Debra Agee practice eurythmy.
Photo by Sammy Dallal


"It's a way to go into the darker months of the year with a connection and recollection of those who have crossed the threshold of death," said Debra Agee, an event organizer.

"This time of year, the veil between the living and the dead is thinner. It's a time to connect and also to celebrate, honor and remember," she said. "What we're trying to establish is a way to give people an opportunity to think and/or talk about death, such that it no longer is a taboo topic."

This year, organizers sought to broaden the event's appeal and invited Querido, Gross and Buddhist minister John Weber to speak. Querido, a Christian esotericist, plans to talk about "gifts of the soul." Querido describes Christian esoterisicm as an inward practice of Christianity, and a Christian equivalent to Islam's Sufism and Judaism's Kabbalahism. "You follow the hidden truths of Christianity," she said.


IF YOU GO
WHAT — Multi-faith ceremony to commemorate All Souls' Day
WHEN — 7 p.m. Wednesday
WHERE — Shining Mountain Waldorf High School assembly hall, at the corner of Union Avenue and Broadway, Boulder
TICKETS — $5 donation is suggested
CALL — Debra Agee, (303) 440-4148


There is no match for All Souls' Day in either the Jewish or Buddhist traditions. But both faiths devote services to honor those who have died.

For instance, remembering the dead is a part of the Jewish religion's three harvest festivals and Yom Kippur. In Buddhism, spirits are welcomed in daily meditation

"I think it's critical that we talk about death as a very natural process," Gross says. "If we can live our lives knowing that we're not here forever, that can give great meaning to life. It encourages and inspires me to make something of every day, every moment. It's something that enriches our lives."

Weber, who's also a chaplain for HospiceCare of Boulder and Broomfield Counties, says the All Souls' Day event is a good way to build community among different faiths groups.

The Boulder Anthroposophical Group, and Natural Transitions, a non-profit that helps people conduct home funerals, are sponsoring the event. (Members of the anthroposophical group follow the teachings of Rudolf Steiner, a philosopher who started the Waldorf school movement. )

"The whole emphasis is on being universal and eclectic," says Agee, who is involved in both the Boulder Anthroposophical Group and Natural Transitions.

"Death touches everyone."

Contact Camera Staff Writer Mary Butler at (303) 473-1390 or butlerm@dailycamera.com.