Nature calls Congregation Beth Evergreen in an important way.

Man blowing into a ram horn or shofar.
Rabbi Jamie Arnold blows the shofar during the outdoor morning meditation service as part of Rosh Hashanah on Sept. 16 at Congregation Beth Evergreen. Rosh Hashanah is the celebration of the Jewish New Year. Credit: Deb Hurley Brobst

Outdoor services and meditations at the synagogue’s outdoor amphitheater are common, and services for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, on Sept. 15-17 were no exception. Rabbi Jamie Arnold led an outdoor meditation on Sept. 16 with congregants sitting in the morning sun to contemplate renewing their lives and their connection to the natural world.

“Among CBE’s core values is an alignment with nature and appreciation of the natural world around us,” according to Sarah Hess, CBE’s director of operations. “Our amphitheater is certainly unique (for synagogues). I know a lot of our members come up from Littleton, Golden and Morrison because they appreciate how we are in sync with nature and want to have an elevated experience.”

People sitting outside listening to live music
Congregation Beth Evergreen members participate in an outdoor meditation service on Sept. 16. They are sitting in the Open Sky Amphitheater behind the synagogue. Credit: Deb Hurley Brobst

CBE’s amphitheater, called the Open Sky Amphitheater or OSA, is an outdoor venue where the community, both the synagogue’s and groups outside the synagogue, can join together. The word “Osa” in Hebrew means “to make” or “she makes.” 

The amphitheater, which opened in November 2021, now has lighting, so it can be used for evening events. 

Woman and man singing while man plays guitar.
Laura Berman and Rabbi Jamie Arnold lead the singing during the outdoor morning meditation service as part of Rosh Hashanah on Sept. 16 at Congregation Beth Evergreen. Attendees are reflected in the windows to the synagogue. Credit: Deb Hurley Brobst

Arnold strummed his guitar, accompanied by Veronica Gruning and Laura Berman, and they sang Hebrew verses and songs that mixed with the cool mountain air. Arnold, who has been CBE’s rabbi for 18 years, led congregants through breathing activities.

Arnold also blew the shofar, an ancient musical instrument usually made from a ram’s horn that is blown in synagogue services on Rosh Hashanah and at the end of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, which is Sept. 25.

Woman and man singing while man plays guitar.
Laura Berman and Rabbi Jamie Arnold perform at the morning meditation service for Rosh Hashanah. Credit: Deb Hurley Brobst

In fact, on Sept. 17, CBE joined with three nearby synagogues to continue Rosh Hashanah at Lair o’ the Bear, and Arnold invited congregants to bring their own shofars to play during that service.

“So much of the spirituality we are trying to perpetuate comes from the beauty and solace of nature,” Arnold explained.

Man sitting on a stool.
Rabbi Jamie Arnold talks to congregants about the natural elements manifested in people’s bodies. Credit: Deb Hurley Brobst

He spoke of the earth, fire, air and water within people, and he sang, “Love the earth, love the sky, heat of fire and drops of water.”

He talked about clouds, and how they can be a symbol of fear and unknowing such as smoke clouds from wildfires, or they can be a symbol of protection and safety because they bring cleansing, cooling rain.

People listening to three performers.
Veronica Gruning, Laura Berman and Rabbi Jamie Arnold sing for congregants. Credit: Deb Hurley Brobst

“To know something is wrong is different than bearing the torch saying, ‘I only have the right answer,’” he said. “Clouds remind us of uncertainty — fire or rain, shelter or storm. We are called to choose life, and to listen to and celebrate the wonder of creation.”

Leave a comment

We encourage comments. Your thoughts, ideas and concerns play a critical role helping Colorado Community Media be more responsive to your needs. We expect conversations to follow the conventions of polite discourse. Therefore, we won't allow posts that:
  • Contain vulgar language, personal attacks of any kind, or offensive terms that target protected classes
  • Promote commercial services or products (relevant links are acceptable)
  • Are far off-topic
  • Make unsupported accusations