Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Explore spirituality in wilderness

Rabbi to lead a 'Wild Faith' hike

Express Staff Writer

Rabbi Mike Comins will lead a spiritual hike on Wednesday. Photo by Dana DuGan

Rabbi Mike Comins acknowledges in his book "A Wild Faith" that the common misperception of Jewish people is bound by urban walls. Just imagine the scene in "Annie Hall" of Woody Allen dealing with live lobsters.

Comins has a mission. He founded his company Torah Treks in 2000 to advocate and lead spiritual wilderness adventures.

Comins will lead a meditative daylong hike, today, July 16 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Participants should meet at the Wood River Jewish Community offices in Ketchum, and bring appropriate footwear, sunscreen, water and a packed lunch.

Based in Los Angeles, Comins lived in Israel for 15 years. In 1996, the same year he was ordained, he became a certified Israeli Desert Guide. There he founded Ruach HaMidbar Desert Trips and Retreats, which led trekkers through the country's deserts and mountains.

In 2000 he moved back to the U.S., and for nearly four years worked as a half time congregational rabbi and began Torah Treks, in Jackson, Wyo.

"The reason I came back was I was looking for teachers to teach me about nature and spirituality but I wasn't finding them in the Jewish tradition," he said. "I explored Buddhism and did a four and six-week retreat. And I've done five Vision Quests in 10 years. Then I discovered another rabbi, ultra orthodox, who left organized religion, moved West and put together a Jewish Medicine Wheel."

For his book he "...tweaked the Jewish Medicine Wheel according to my own understanding," he said. This has become an important aspect of his daylong Torah Trek.

Comins turned his love of the wilderness as it relates to Judaism into a vital career. He leads some 30 Torah Treks a year, and continues to write. His next book will be on prayer.

For more information contact Rabbi Barney Brickner at 726-1183.

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