Apr 042006
Authors: Amber Baker The Rocky Mountain Collegian

Women from all backgrounds and walks of life congregated in the Lory Student Center on Thursday to discuss their unique spiritual experiences in a women’s spirituality workshop. The Office of Women’s Studies and Programs, the Geller Center for Spiritual Development and Hillel hosted the workshop.

Peggy Christiansen, director for the Geller Center, and Charna Rosenholtz, certified group facilitator, led the group in an open forum discussion of the spiritual role and influence of women in history. The women present also were encouraged to share their personal spiritual experiences and the roles women played.

“For me, understanding the sacred text and the sacred personal story is both important,” said Rosenholtz, a graduate of Naropa University with a degree in comparative religious studies. “It’s how the grassroots of who I am meets the wisdom of the ages.”

Rosenholtz, who practices Judaism, drew the basis for the discussion from Rebekah of the Jewish Torah, a woman who Rosenholtz said inspired her spiritual development.

“Rebekah was the first one who called out to me and gave me hope to understand the depth of the text,” Rosenholtz said.

Rebekah, although she receives divine prophecy from God regarding the destinies of her two sons, Esau and Jacob, while still in the womb, strategizes to bring about those destinies herself, with somewhat disastrous results.

Rosenholtz pointed out the Bible, and the stories it contain, poses questions that cause a struggle. This struggle leads to the formation of belief.

While the majority of the discussion was centered on Rebekah, Rosenholtz also mentioned elements of ancient astrology, Buddhism and Christianity.

“I thought it would be Jewish-based,” said Jessica Axelrad, a sophomore environmental health major. “I was surprised that it wasn’t.”

Amber Baker can be reached at regional@collegian.com

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