Episode 39: It All Started in the Desert; w/Rabbi Mike Comins
“Ever-lasting life You have implanted with us.”
Rabbi Mike Comins grew up in Los Angeles, graduated from UCLA with a BA in Near Eastern Studies, and served as Rosh Eida at UAHC Camp Swig before making aliyah (moving to Israel) at age 26.
While guiding Jerusalem for American youth and serving as chairperson of Netzer Olami (the International Reform-Zionist Youth Movement), Rabbi Mike studied classical Jewish texts for four years at Machon Pardes, a yeshiva in Jerusalem. In 1996, he was ordained by the Hebrew Union College – Israeli Rabbinical Program.
Rabbi Comins founded TorahTrek Spiritual Wilderness Adventures in 2001 while serving the Jackson Hole Chaverim in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The community’s first resident rabbi, Rabbi Mike helped the Jackson Jewish community establish itself while developing TorahTrek.
Rabbi Comins returned to Los Angeles in 2004, where he met his wife-to-be, Jody Porter. He continued to grow TorahTrek and turned it into a non-profit (2009).
A Wild Faith: Jewish Ways into Wilderness, Wilderness Ways into Judaism (2007) and his second book, Making Prayer Real: Leading Jewish Spiritual Voices on Why Prayer is Difficult and What to Do about It (2010).
In each, Rabbi Comins developed his “spiritual dynamics” approach to learning and teaching Judaism as a spiritual practice.
While TorahTrek no longer sponsors its own programs, he continues to lead nature and wilderness programs for synagogues and other organizations.
In my conversation with Rabbi Mike Comins we discussed:
The ironic need for some respite FROM yeshiva learning in order to find the still small voice of spiritual inspiration.
The benefits of being able to read the stories from the Torah in the places where they occurred.
What synagogues and other indoor spaces can do to bring a more embodied feel to their services and programs to mimic the embodied feel of being out in nature. Or at least attempt to get closer to that feeling.
Rabbi Mike Comins’ book “Making Prayer Real”
For organizations recommended by Rabbi Mike Comins, be sure to check out:
To watch Rabbi Mike Comins discuss his book “Making Prayer Real”, click on the video below!
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