Barbara Sofer

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Barbara Sofer

Award-winning writer and lecturer Barbara Sofer grew up in a small town in Connecticut, and moved to Israel in 1971. She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Her articles -taking on a wide range of subjects from ethnic cooking to terrorism--have appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, Parents, Readers' Digest, Woman's Day, Hadassah Magazine and Inside Magazine among many others. She writes a bi-weekly column for the Friday Jerusalem Post.

Barbara has written five books and contributed to several others


Jerusalem Post

The Human Spirit: Taking Risks  

By Barbara Sofer

Picture this prayer service.

The temperature is -11ºC, the surrounding peaks reach 3,700 meters. Below is a sea of dramatic peaks and valleys blanketed in snow. The rabbi is leading the congregation in the singing of Mi Kamocha, “Who is like You, Lord among the mighty? Who is like You, majestic in holiness, awesome in praises, doing wonders?” This is Crested Butte, Colorado, a home rule community in the American Rockies. Home rule means you can make your own, and Rabbi Robbi Sherwin does.

I met her this week because she came to Hadassah University Medical Center, clad in cowboy boots and a brown rodeo skirt with a guitar over her shoulder, using her vacation time to sing to terror survivors. But when she’s leading prayers at 3,000 meters up, both she and the congregants are on skis.

A stickler for punctilious prayer, I’m trying to work out the choreography: stepping forward and back, bowing, rising on tiptoes. Then I think of the exhilaration of communicating with the Creator so close to the heavenly domain, experiencing the surprisingly pleasant and theologically appropriate sensation of being tiny in relation to God’s overwhelming universe.

Among those praying are the regular members of B’nai Butte congregation, and tourists who have come to ski and snowboard in Colorado. Many would never walk into a synagogue – but this mountaintop synagogue doesn’t require walking into.

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