Intermountain Jewish News

Apr 19th
Home IJN Special Sections Boulder Issue ‘Just call me morah — teacher’

‘Just call me morah — teacher’

E-mail Print PDF

Yehudis FishmanYEHUDIS Fishman, teacher and scholar, is one of those rare individuals who has two birthdays.

Her physical birthday — she marked her 70th this year — fell most recently on Sukkot, which happened to coincide with a gathering planned by her own Boulder Jewish community, which had just emerged, damaged but undaunted, from the late summer floods that devastated the foothills city.

The broadly diverse Boulder Jewish community, ranging from Orthodox and chasidic to Renewal, with a generous portion of Conservative and Reform in between, opted to combine their flood observance with Fishman’s birthday.

After the traumatic flood experience, which witnessed Boulder Jewry coming together in a remarkable way, it was an entirely appropriate gesture, since Fishman not only teaches, but has cultivated many friendships at virtually every congregation and chavurah that calls Boulder home.

In the 14 years that she has been a popular, even beloved, teacher in Boulder, Fishman has become a link between the community’s divergent camps, a person who constitutes a human bond between them.

She also has what she calls a “spiritual birthday” — the 9th of Kislev — which she marks every year, but much more privately than her physical one.

That was the date when Fishman, as a young woman, met Rabbi Menachem Schneerson, the fabled Lubavitcher Rebbe.

It was somewhere around 2 o’clock in the morning, she recalls, and there was a long line of Jews waiting to see him, all of them realizing that the spiritual leader would only have time to speak to each of them for a minute or two.

Fishman had compiled a fantasy list of spiritual questions she would love to ask the rebbe, knowing that it was unlikely to happen, but when her time came and they had exchanged a few words, he asked her, in Yiddish, whether she had any questions for him.

Yes, she replied, she did. And the rebbe provided answers to all of them. It was an hour later when she emerged from the room.

“When I came out,” she says today, the memory still fresh, “everybody was in awe.”

Especially Fishman herself.

The rest of this article is available in the January 3, 2014 IJN print edition only. Contact Carol to order your copy at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or subscribe to our new online e-Edition.


Get the IJN's free newsletter!

Cast Your Vote

Should recognition of Israel as a Jewish state be a deal breaker?

Shabbat Times

JTA News

7 associated with Italian anti-Semitic website charged with racial discrimination

Julie Wiener After a lengthy investigation, seven people associated with the anti-Semitic website Holywar were charged this week with racial discrimination and defamation against a long list of public figures incl... [Link]

Will Bill Clinton’s grandchildren be Jewish?

Julie Wiener The Jews (and their haters) react to Chelsea’s big news. ... [Link]

Elsewhere: Israel’s silence on Ukraine, Jodi Rudoren speaks, Walter Benjamin’s fan club

Julie Wiener JTA rounds up noteworthy items from the Web. ... [Link]

This Week in Jewish Farming: Breaking ground

Ben Harris Watching the plow make its first pass through virgin fields seemed akin to what a new mother might feel offering up her son to the mohel, Ben Harris writes. ... [Link]

Rouhani: Iran seeks dialogue, not war

Cnaan Liphshiz Striking a moderate tone toward the West, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said at a military parade that his country seeks dialogue instead of war. ... [Link]

Gap in peace talks wide, Palestinian official says

Cnaan Liphshiz A meeting between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators ended without an agreement to resume peace talks, a Palestinian official said. ... [Link]

Israeli mosque entrance torched in suspected price tag attack

Cnaan Liphshiz Israeli police are investigating the torching of the entrance to a mosque in northern Israel and the spraying of anti-Arab slogans on its walls. ... [Link]

Report: Lebanese man admits to targeting Israelis in Thailand

Cnaan Liphshiz A Lebanese man who was arrested in Thailand on suspicion of belonging to Hezbollah admitted to targeting Israelis, Thai media reported. ... [Link]

Intermountain Jewish News • 1177 Grant Street • Denver, CO 80203 • 303 861 2234 • FAX 303 832 6942 • •