Wednesday, February 28, 2024 -
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Honorary landsman John Hickenlooper

Gov. John Hickenlooper is, to the best of our knowledge, not from Ratno, Poland, Brest Litovsk, Lithuania, or Furth, Germany. Still, he sees himself as a landsman. Or, as Larry Mizel put it at last year’s Men’s Event, when he introduced Mayor Hickenlooper, “an honorary landsman.” Hickenlooper certainly picked up on the reference, warmed to the welcome, and gave expression to it in his gubernatorial inaugural address last Tuesday:

“There’’s a Yiddish word, ‘landsman,’ which, roughly translated, means a ‘fellow villager’ — a stranger, perhaps, but still someone you welcome because you know they share a common connection in the village of your ancestors.

““I think we can learn from this Yiddish expression and the warmth it evokes. This value doesn’’t spring from government. But it can teach all of us to govern together. I feel that every Coloradan is a member of our administration.””

Beautifully put. We would add: Hand-in-hand with the landsman are the landsmanschaften, the mutual aid societies that take care of each landsman who joins. A mutual aid society, we take it, is how Gov. Hickenlooper looks at Colorado.

Meanwhile, Colorado Chief Justice Michael Bender said “mazel tov” after he swore in a number of the state officials.

Add to this a few Hebrew phrases in the closing benediction by Rabbi Richard Rheins, and we have clear evidence of a wonderful opening to the Jewish community by this administration. Gov. Hickenlooper has extended himself to a broad community of interests, groups and styles. We wish him well as he begins to chart some difficult waters ahead.

Copyright © 2011 by the Intermountain Jewish News

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