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Colorado Springs Jewry’s roots go back to 1861

The old Sons of Abraham synagogue, left, and Original B’nai Israel Synagogue


“A PEOPLE without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots,” said the civil rights activist, Marcus Garvey. This quote will ring true for historians, anthropologists, politicians, students of history — and Perry B. Bach, researcher and author of the publication Glimpses at Our History: Temple Shalom’s 40-year Anniversary & Colorado Springs Jewish Community 110 Years.

Bach is a long-time resident of Colorado Springs, a retired child and adolescent psychiatrist, a former member of the Temple Shalom board and the steering committee chair of United Jewish Communities in Colorado Springs.

His love of history, extensive knowledge of Colorado Springs, expertise in Jewish history and deep roots in the Jewish community provided a strong foundation for researching and writing about the Jewish history of Colorado Springs.

Anticipating the 40th anniversary of Temple Shalom in 2011, Perry undertook a challenge to research, document and tell the story of the Jewish community in Colorado Springs.

He read through existing historical documents, interviewed prominent and long-time members of the community and drew on many sources of information about Jewish roots in Colorado Springs.

“In the temple attic, I found some cardboard boxes full of fascinating documents about the history of the Jewish community.

“One of the documents was written by Rose Lorig detailing some events from 1861 to 1900, which really piqued my interest in capturing the history and evolution of our community.”

Building on this foundational research, Bach is currently working on completing Jewish Colorado Springs: 1861-The Present. It is comprised of three parts: a linear history; stories of individuals and families; and the history of Jewish organizations and institutions.

The 1800s: It was the middle of the 19th century and with the exploration of the western US were groups of Jewish pioneers. These early settlers came from the East Coast of the US and Western Europe. Although they apparently were quite aware of being Jewish, they were independent, entrepreneurial and generally did not feel the need for an organized Jewish community.

They frequently sent their children to the East Coast for higher education. Some came here for their health, much like other visitors and new residents.

Several settled in the town of Colorado City, founded in 1859. Within approximately 10 years, they were active members of the local community as major real estate developers, hoteliers, stagecoach operators, city trustees and cattle ranchers.

The rest of this article is available in the September 19, 2014 IJN Rosh Hashana print and digital edition only. Contact Carol to order your copy at or subscribe to our online e-Edition.

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