Intermountain Jewish News

Banner
Sunday,
May 01st

Kudos: Four free Jews who personify Passover

E-mail Print PDF

Clockwise, top left: David Fogel, Sue Parker Gerson, George Gumbiner, Rabbi Eliot Baskin

PASSOVER 5774 EDITION 
SECTION C PAGE 24

Every year the IJN salutes people — known or obscure — who bring freedom into our lives. It is always time to say ‘thank you,’ but Passover, with its eternal message of gratitude to G-d for our freedom, seems an especially appropriate moment.

David Fogel: Leadership

In his community activism, David Fogel embodies the bon mot of the late, beloved Max Frankel, who, when asked whether he’d lived his whole life in Denver, replied: “Not yet.” And thank G-d it’s so, since one of Fogel’s main strengths is institutional memory, knowledge of all the players and the accompanying sense of where things need to go. On top of which, Fogel is not hide bound, the very opposite of “this is the way we’ve always done it.”

Fogel’s activism has encompassed decades of dedication to B’nai B’rith, JNF and many other causes, and now finds itself at the cusp of a new era for, well, we won’t say “Allied Jewish Apartments,” which has just rebranded itself as “Kavod Senior Life.” This reflects the expansion of its mission and activities beyond its senior living component. Though the rebranding is long in the planning and no doubt reflective of earlier leadership, too, it launched under the presidency of David Fogel — no accident.

With Fogel, what you get is not just “leadership” — that elusive quality that makes things move forward — but an embracing smile, a warm humanity, a great capacity to laugh, a cheerful acceptance of the ironies of life — a joie de vivre. No doubt, he takes all this, in part, from his late, unforgettable parents, Irving and Doreen Fogel, and parents-in-law, Jimmie and Goldye Radetsky. We say, “in part,” because David Fogel is his own creation, and this community, not to mention his family, is lucky to have him.

Sue Gerson: Grace

Sue Parker Gerson came to Denver because her husband took the job as Rodef Shalom’s spiritual leader 21 years ago. But she has made her own name in this community as a teacher, adult education executive, civil rights professional and, yes, rebbetzin. She’s a woman of many hats and wears each of them graciously.

Parker Gerson’s love affair with Jewish education started with her Conservative Jewish upbringing in New Jersey, and was reinforced in college when she majored in Judaic studies, and earned  an MA in Jewish history. She’s taught almost her entire adult life. Who knew, however, that not only could she teach but also display great administrative and leadership skills, as she built CAJE’s Melton Mini-School into a major adult Jewish education venue in Denver? The top cats in the national Melton program knew because they made her a regional director and awarded her with their highest honor at a ceremony in Jerusalem.

Melton had the benefit of Parker Gerson’s talents for 12 years until she made a career change and joined the office of Mountain States ADL, where she is putting her people skills and dedication to work in the pursuit of a world free of prejudice and discrimination.

While she’s made her own name, Sue Parker Gerson serves enthusiastically as Rodef Shalom’s first lady, and very proudly as the wife of Rabbi Bernard Gerson and the mother of Elliot and Jennie. No one can have it all, but Sue Parker Gerson comes close.

Rabbi Baskin: Cherubic

There’s something cherubic about Rabbi Eliot Baskin. He spreads delight like a picnic blanket in spring. Yet the JFS Jewish community chaplain is a wise and serious man who grapples with life’s most grievous challenges: loss, and surviving loss. Through JFS’ Rafael Spiritual Healing Services, he offers counseling from a Jewish perspective. He also visits Jews in hospitals, prisons, hospices and mental health facilities. Those can be dark places. For Baskin, all our journeys are holy and vulnerable to G-d’s presence.

The Toronto native graduated from HUC-JIR in 1985. He was the first rabbi to earn a doctor of ministry degree in pastoral care and counseling from the school in 1993. He understood where he was needed most, even as his rabbinical path has led him to pulpits, too: Har Shalom (Ft. Collins), Beth Evergreen and now Har Shalom in Durango.

Past president of the Rocky Mountain Rabbinical Council, he teaches theology at the Melton Mini-School, philosophy for Akeya, volunteers for the Denver Police chaplains unit, helps friends and strangers alike. Love is his instrument; shalom, his tapestry.

Baskin is married to orthodontist Dr. Hilary Baskin; they have two accomplished sons, Jonah and Gabriel. Love enables him to travel far and wide. This is Baskin’s gift:ministering to the disquieted Jewish soul while encouraging its vast potential. He is the conduit between disparate worlds, and we thank him.

Pres. George: Fresh Air

Whatever one thought of President George (W. Bush), the opinion on President George (Gum- biner) is unanimous: the nicest guy you’ll ever meet. Oh, the “President” part goes back to Gumbiner’s presidency of Aish Denver during the terms of President Bush, when, at shul announcement time, people would spontaneously greet Gumbiner as “President George.” He smiled sheepishly as his face turned beet red. You would never know how serious, focused, helpful and effective in his leadership Gumbiner has been over his decades in Denver.

We mentioned Aish Denver. We could also mention Denver JDS, Hillel Academy, DAT, Allied Jewish Federation, many pro-Israel organizations and other institutions in our community. Usually not in a public, prominent position, “President George” has done the work of presidents, secretaries, fundraisers, board chairs, you name it. Gumbiner gets things done and makes them happen.

Meanwhile, he brings a real Colorado flavor to it all. Gumbiner has climbed most (all?) of Colorado’s “fourteeners,” often with Dr. Isaac Teitelbaum. That breath of fresh air — literally and figuratively — one associates with George Gumbiner.

Overlaying all of this is Gumbiner’s matchless passion for the safety and welfare of the State of Israel. In this he leads us all, pricks everyone’s conscience and sets the standard. And for all this, not to mention his endless personal kindnesses, we offer our gratitude.

Copyright © 2014 by the Intermountain Jewish News

Last Updated ( Friday, 11 April 2014 04:26 )  

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!

Cast Your Vote

Do you eat kitniyot on Passover?
 

Shabbat Times

JTA News

Critical profile of Melania Trump unleashes flood of anti-Semitic abuse on reporter

Ron Kampeas WASHINGTON (JTA) — A reporter who wrote a critical profile of Melania Trump has been deluged with anti-Semitic abuse. Julia Ioffe told the Guardian that on April 28, the day her profile of the R... [Link]

Rock legend Phil Lesh gathers musician friends for a Grateful Dead Passover

Andrew Silow-Carroll SAN RAFAEL, Calif. (JTA) – “Why can’t we eat veggie burritos tonight? Will I be miracled? Will they play ‘The Wheel?’ Will Phil sing?” These four additional questions were asked at a Passo... [Link]

Hundreds attend 1st Jewish film festival in Casablanca

Cnaan Liphshiz (JTA) — Nearly 500 people attended the first Jewish film festival of Casablanca, which was organized in the Moroccan city by a Sephardic Jewish woman from Atlanta. The three-day event, which end... [Link]

Can you help a kibbutznik find his American relatives?

mbrodsky SEEKING KIN The “Seeking Kin” column aims to help reunite long-lost relatives and friends. (JTA) – “If only” – it’s the most common regret expressed by “Seeking Kin” interviewees, an... [Link]

Amid complicity debate, Polish clergy to attend 70th anniversary of post-Holocaust pogrom

Cnaan Liphshiz (JTA) — Polish clergy and researchers will hold a seminar in Kielce about a historically significant pogrom in which locals killed Holocaust survivors in that city 70 years ago. Occurring amid... [Link]

Netanyahu calls for ‘direct, bilateral negotiations’ with Palestinians

Marcy Oster JERUSALEM (JTA) — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel is ready to start “direct, bilateral negotiations” with the Palestinians. The invitation, which Netanyahu has repeated... [Link]

Palestinians riot as Jewish worshippers visit Joseph’s Tomb

Marcy Oster JERUSALEM (JTA) — Palestinians in Nablus attacked Israeli soldiers escorting a convoy of Jewish worshippers who entered the West Bank city to visit Joseph’s Tomb. The 26 busloads of worshi... [Link]

Sides swap character attacks in trial over Bay Area’s Koret Foundation

Andrew Silow-Carroll SAN FRANCISCO (J., the Jewish news weekly of Northern California via JTA) — A civil trial focused on control of the $500 million Koret Foundation is pitting its founder’s widow, Susan Koret, a... [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