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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 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 Longmont Daily Times-Call, May 11, 2007.

Sacred journeys

Pilgrimages reconnect and awaken beliefs and traditions

By Melanie M. Sidwell The Daily Times-Call

Miriam Pollack of Boulder recently returned from Israel, and though she's been there six times before, she said this trip was different.

"It was not a new trip for me, but it was a new experience," she said of her pilgrimage with Alliance for Jewish Renewal from March 25 to April 4.

During the trip, the travelers held a seder in Jerusalem, acted out the Exodus, heard lectures and Israeli drumming, prayed and chanted to be peace pilgrims.

Pollack even discovered a museum in the ancient city of Safed, which displayed kabbalistic art of the 150 Psalms.

"For the first time, I was able to do my spiritual practice and integrate it into my experience while in Israel," she said.

She said being in the country, "a container of Jewish history and the Jewish dream," was a highly emotional experience that brings a vitality to her spirituality.

The city of Jerusalem, plays a central role in Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Miriam Pollack said her trip was a highly emotional experience that brings a vitality to her spirituality. Photo special to the Times-Call by Miriam Pollack

Every major faith tradition has places where its adherents venture as a physical way to reconnect to the spiritual origins, be it through architecture, language, food, culture or religious ritual. These pilgrimages can be a once-in-a-lifetime event or a regular commitment.

Tina Patterson of Boulder runs Authentic Asia, which offers sacred cultural tours of Europe and Asia. She said she sees a demand for sacred travels from the baby boomer generation and those with high-stress corporate careers.

"Whatever religion you are, I think there is a general interest to discover more about the roots of a religion or faith and to go to the places where it all began," she said.

Patterson arranges to have an expert or scholar travel with the pilgrims, so they may learn a little about their faith traditions and holy sites along the way. The Europe leg of her company provides trips for Christians to see Spain and France, while the Asian leg offers trips to important Buddhist locations.

"It doesn't help to not know what you're looking at. Rather than just sightseeing and looking at the paintings at a temple, we will sit and mediate for an hour or two, and oftentimes we will be invited by the head lama to join the ceremonies," Patterson said.

Sunny Klaber, a massage therapist in Boulder, provides sacred trips twice a year to Thailand to those interested in the healing arts.

She said people seek out these journeys when they are ready to really challenge their belief system and "see for themselves what the truth is."

"I look at it from a psychospiritual angle: Who are we? Why are we here? And the answers are not always what you expect," Klaber said.

Tamdin Wangdu, an information technology consultant who founded the Tibetan Village Project as a way to encourage conscious journeys to his homeland while promoting sustainable development, said the annual trip for him, as well as the group, is both cultural and spiritual.

During the two-week trips, people can visit monasteries; meet with monks and lamas; and volunteer to teach English, treat patients and distribute school supplies.

"For many people, being able to visit Tibet and see sacred monasteries and holy places is a lifetime dream. Tibetan culture is developed based on Buddhist faith," he said. "Whenever I go back to Tibet, it is an opportunity for me to pay homage and go on pilgrimage with my mother and grandmother. We often invited monks over to the house and ask them to pray or teach."

Melanie M. Sidwell can be reached at 303-684-5274, or by e-mail at