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Dzogchen Center
1 Fitchburg St, Somerville, MA 02143
Meaning "great perfection" in Tibetan, Dzogchen is a meditation retreat organizer. Under the leadership of Lama SuryaMore Das, Dzogchen strives to convey the complexities of Tibetan Buddhism to a Western audience. At one of the silent retreats aimed at awakening "the Buddha within," students can expect thrice daily teachings, group meditations, individual practice, yoga and vegetarian meals taken in "noble silence." This location is just a P.O. box and not an office. Use Dzogchen's detailed Web site to get in touch with the leadership. Also, be aware that Lama Surya Das is booked weeks in advance for retreats across the county, but most offer registration open to the public.
Samara Yoga
249 Elm St, Somerville, MA 02144
Using a large, sunny space, Samara Yoga offers yoga, dance and alternative healing classes.  Prospective studentsMore can drop into any class on the schedule and try it before committing to a full session.  Samara specializes in Vinyasa yoga, with both expert- and beginner-level classes.  Workshops in sacred dance, meditation and acupuncture are also offered regularly.
Havurat Shalom
113 College Ave, Somerville, MA 02144

Housed in a yellow Victorian on College Ave., Havurat Shalom is an egalitarian Jewish community that is notMore affiliated with the reform, reconstructionist, conservative or orthodox movements of Judaism. In their own description, "The Havurah tends to be hard to label."

Services are led by members and they describe them so: "The singing is spirited, the prayer is focused, and the Torah discussions are thought provoking. Services often include extra readings, discussion, meditation, and other creative additions. We read from the Torah on Shabbat mornings." Twice monthly, Shabbat services are followed by a vegetarian potluck dinner.

A strong emphasis is placed on social justice, with members working to address issues such as homelessness and disability rights. Services, talks, classes and social gatherings fill their busy calendar. Newcomers are welcome, and High Holiday services are free and open to the public. 

Somerville Community Growing Center
22 Vinal Ave, Somerville, MA 02143

This educational garden and performance space takes the idea of compact gardening to a whole new level. On just overMore ¼-acre of sloping ground, the garden packs in an orchard, vegetable gardens, a grape arbor, a pond and stream, a labyrinth, an amphitheater, a solar-powered fountain and—safely in the back—a beehive. The event schedule is just as jam-packed. All of it is the work of a horde of volunteers that created the center in 1994 with the support of the City.

All are welcome to help garden or simply sit here. Meanwhile, numerous hands-on, after-school and vacation programs teach youths about science and nature. Special events also bring farm life to the city with activities such as maple syrup making and apple pressing. A busy arts calendar features concerts, dance, art shows, theater, storytelling and the occasional fanciful event like Fairy Night, where children don wings and flit about the greenery. If a volunteer can think of it, the garden will likely host it.

Others come to calm their minds at meditation groups or labyrinth walks. One thing we should all contemplate while there: this space was once just a steep sand pit on the former site of Southern Junior High. But once a few residents planted the seed—and rolled up their sleeves to tend it—it grew into a significant community resource.