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New Orthodox shul, rabbi, in Boulder

The Silver family: Eliana, holding Noveya and Rabbi Ami with Tzohar.Last summer, Rabbi Ami and Eliana Silver had decided to return to Israel when a casual conversation led to the reanimation of Boulder’s modern Orthodox community.

Kehillath Aish Kodesh, the city’s only Orthodox shul for several years, closed it doors in January, 2014.

Two months later, the Boulder Orthodox Synagogue rose from its remnants and held its first minyan. But the new congregation wasn’t sure it needed a rabbi. “It wasn’t even on their radar screen,” Silver says. “Or mine.”

The Silvers were finishing up their tenure as the OU’s Torah educators at Cornell University, where they fostered students’ awareness and knowledge of Judaism and served on the Hillel staff.

“After a three-year tenure at Cornell, we had decided to move back to Israel and find jobs there,” says Silver, who prefers the less formal title of Rabbi Ami.

Eliana Silver, whose father and sister live in Boulder, graduated Naropa University with a BA in psychology and belonged to Aish Kodesh.

“One of my wife’s Boulder friends called and said, ‘Why don’t you consider coming to Boulder?’” Silver says in a soft voice that alternates between reflection and enthusiasm.

He describes the ensuing conversations with the Boulder Orthodox Synagogue as an interesting process.

“They were not actively seeking a rabbi,” Silver says. “The congregation lacked formal leadership, and there was no rabbinical search committee.

“Some wanted a full-time rabbi. Others did not.”

Silver, 30, who had acted as a visiting rabbi at the Boulder Orthodox Synagogue, agreed to “move here for about one or two years to provide spiritual direction to the community and help establish future goals.”

He was officially hired as the full-time spiritual leader in August, 2014.

Just recently, the Boulder Orthodox Synagogue changed its name to Kehillat Orot Yisrael (“Lights of Israel Community”).

The rest of this article is available in the January 2 IJN print and digital edition only. Contact Carol to order your copy at or subscribe to our online e-Edition.

Andrea Jacobs

IJN Senior Writer |

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