Sunday, August 9, 2020 -
Print Edition

Is there anti-Semitism in Boulder?

Scott LevinBOULDER, the community, is a fascinating mosaic of many elements — some of them unique, some of them reminiscent of other places —but it is not one-dimensional, nor is it simple.

To some, Boulder is nothing more than a New Age fantasyland of rainbows and unicorns; to others, a reflexively liberal yet upscale, even elite, enclave; to still others, a vibrant, clean, green and intellectually progressive community.

In recent years, it has also become a powerful magnet for Jews who have been busily creating an energetic new community here, embracing a wide spectrum of Jewish lifestyles and belief systems, ranging all the way from traditional to experimental.

So how are these many and various Jews — most of them relative newcomers — being welcomed and received in this fair city by the Flatirons?

The answer, like the city itself, is not simple.

ONE or two decades ago, many Colorado Jews might have expressed a degree of anxiety concerning Boulder’s attitudes toward Jews.

Around the turn of the last century, there was a spate of clearly anti-Semitic incidents in Boulder — swastika spray-paintings, vandalism at a campus sukkah and similar incidents, some of which bore an uncomfortably white supremacist or fascistic character.

They coincided with incidents that were directed toward other minorities, African Americans in particular, some of which were violent, all of which collectively attracted considerable community and media attention.

The city of Boulder, along with the University of Colorado and various community organizations, responded quickly, launching an array of programs and campaigns to promote tolerance and oppose its opposite.

The rest of this article is available in the IJN’s print edition only. Contact Carol to order your copy at (303) 861-2234 or email

Chris Leppek

IJN Assistant Editor |

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