Intermountain Jewish News

Banner
Sunday,
Nov 23rd

Is Denver Jewry on the skids?

E-mail Print PDF

Green Gables Country Club, Colorado chapter of the American Jewish Committee, Hebrew High School, have all closed. What does this mean?

It is in the nature of community life that, taking the long view, organizations will come and go. After all, who remembers these once stalwarts of our Jewish community: Jewish Consumptives’ Relief Society, Na’amat, the Colorado chapter of ALYN, friends of Histadrut and Congregation Zera Israel?

Even so, recent closures of longtime, major institutional foci in the Denver Jewish community — Green Gables Country Club, Colorado chapter of the American Jewish Committee, Hebrew High School, CAJE’s library — give us pause. Also closed in the last couple of years were two Judaica shops. Is our community on the skids, reflecting long-time predictions of American Jewish diminishment due to assimilation?

Especially the closure of the American Jewish Committee office worries us, since it played a significant role in many vital areas: interfaith relations, immigration reform and, perhaps most important, intra-Jewish relations within Denver Jewry. We find ourselves at a loss as to the logic of AJC’s national office, which wishes to focus more on international efforts. Whence the strength to do so without strong local chapters? The national AJC severely let down many local activists at AJC.

Still, we may observe that organizations go, but they also come. We may note the opening of JCC South, the expansion of Jewish congregational life in Greenwood Village, Highlands Ranch and Westminster, with the growth of Aish Denver and Chabad, and  the growth of outreach organizations such as The Jewish Experience and the Denver Community Kollel. We may note innovations at HEA and Emanuel, new construction at Temple Sinai, expanded Judaic course offerings at DU, two new Orthodox minyanim on the East Side — and all this is only within metro Denver.

If we look further to Boulder, Longmont, Colorado Springs and mountain communities, such as Vail, Aspen and Steamboat Springs, we see an veritable expansion of Jewish organizations and activities.

Clearly, the gains more than make up for the losses. Perhaps the changes in our community may be more accurately described less in terms of gains and losses than in terms of diversification and geographical expansion. A generation ago, Jews in Denver tended to cluster in two or three neighborhoods. There were virtually no Jews living in either downtown Denver or outlying suburbs. Now, while the major Jewish neighborhoods have expanded in both size (think Lowry and the East Side) and number (think Greenwood Village), Jews live both in the core — downtown — and in every suburb surrounding Denver. We at the IJN know this through the great geographical diversification of the zip codes to which we mail the newspaper.

Our community is not dwindling. The loss of certain entities may be painful — leaving gaps that need to be filled — but overall we see growth, vitality and renewal. The fact is, the larger Denver- Boulder area is one of the few, distinct growth areas in the Jewish community of the US. For this we can be grateful and excited. We welcome the challenges of growth.

Copyright © 2013 by the Intermountain Jewish News

Last Updated ( Sunday, 22 September 2013 08:11 )  

IJN e-Edition

This is only a taste! Get full access to the IJN via our e-Edition, only $14.04 for IJN Print subscribers.

E-Edition subscribers get access to a complete digital replica of the IJN, which includes all special sections.

Get the IJN's free newsletter!

Shabbat Times

JTA News

Fleeing Europe’s darkness, filmmakers took refuge in California sun

Anthony Weiss A new exhibit in Los Angeles explores the roots and rise of film noir, and the generation of filmmakers who left the Nazi occupation and reinvented Hollywood. ... [Link]

Ashkelon mayor decides against ban on Arab workers

Marcy Oster Itamar Shimoni agreed to allow the Arab workers to complete the work, scheduled to take a week, and relocate the preschool students to the local community center. ... [Link]

Kipah-clad New Zealand boy, 4, smacked on head

Marcy Oster The boy was said to be traumatized by the apparent anti-Semitic incident, which was witnessed by his mother. ... [Link]

Wellesley College drops Hillel director, Jewish chaplain posts

Marcy Oster The decision comes as tensions have mounted on campus between the Jewish and pro-Palestinian communities. ... [Link]

Jordan’s parliament holds moment of silence for synagogue killers

Marcy Oster The gesture was held a day after the Jerusalem attack, which killed five, though the Jordanian government condemned the slayings. ... [Link]

Italian aliyah expected to double in ’14

Marcy Oster Several Italian Jewish leaders said economic distress figured strongly for the move, with Jews feeling that “they can lead a better life in Israel.” ... [Link]

From the Archive: Synagogues under fire

Raffi Wineburg Last week’s deadly attack in Jerusalem was not the first time terrorists targeted a synagogue. ... [Link]

Controversial Jewish nation-state bill passes Israeli Cabinet vote

Marcy Oster The Cabinet’s closed-door discussion on the bill, which moves to the full Knesset, reportedly degenerated into a shouting match. ... [Link]

Intermountain Jewish News • 1177 Grant Street • Denver, CO 80203 • 303 861 2234 • FAX 303 832 6942
email@ijn.com • larry@ijn.com • lori@ijn.com