By Lisa Napell Dicksteen
Photos: David Fellows of Boulderjewishnews.com and Tsivya Frieder
The Colorado weather outside was frightful, but the interior of the tent radiated warmth – both the type created by the portable heaters and the kind generated by human hearts working together.
Some 150 people braved the windy cold air and the snowy cold ground to spend a few hours in a tent on an otherwise empty piece of land at the corner of Jay Road and 28th Street in North Boulder on Sunday afternoon, March 2nd.
While the majority of those present for the groundbreaking for Chabad of Boulder’s future Jewish education center came from the Boulder and Denver metro areas, Rabbi Moshe Scheiner, leader of the Palm Beach Synagogue, came all the way from Florida to share in the kick-off of the next level of the hard work his big brother and sister-in-law Rabbi Pesach and Chany Scheiner have been doing for so many years.
Under the tent were some 100 chairs, a speakers’ platform with a musician, tables laden with delicious food, and wandering jugglers. People lined up to access two types of homemade soup, hummus and pita, falafel balls, several types of knishes, and two different yeast cakes, before selecting seats to listen to the presentations.
In his address to the crowd, Rabbi Moshe pointed out that the first words in the explanation of halacha (Jewish law) direct the Jews to emulate the boldness of the cheetah in their pursuit of the proper execution of each mandate, and complemented those in attendance on their boldness both in braving the elements to attend today’s event and in their long-term support, which has made this new building necessary and will make it a vibrant part of the Boulder Jewish community for years to come.
Another piece of information imparted by Rabbi Moshe that some in the audience already knew, but was news to others, was that his own synagogue, the only orthodox shul in Palm Beach, was founded with the support of Chabad of Boulder.
Jeff and Audrey Kashuk became more observant with guidance from Rabbi Pesach and Chany and wanted a synagogue in their new hometown. They founded the Palm Beach Synagogue with financial and moral support from Chabad friends back in Boulder and hired Rabbi Pesach’s younger brother as their rabbi.
Congressman Jared Polis has a reputation as a friend of Israel and the local Jewish community and he sent his regrets for not being able to attend this important event himself. He sent several members of his staff to the celebration and Stuart Feinhor spoke about the way everyone in their office always perks up when a Chabad member arrives with matzo for Passover, latkes for Chanukah, lulav and etrog for Rosh Hashana, etc.
The Scheiner’s eldest son, Mendy, was named Director of Development at the start of this year and was the driving force behind the staging of this special event. His father introduced him with pride, his uncle congratulated him, and he encouraged everyone as he described his family’s experience with the recent floods, the relief efforts that ensued, and the decision to move up the building of Boulder’s first Chabad House to open on the first anniversary of the start of those floods.
Mendy informed the crowd that in just the past three months over half the amount needed for the building has been raised and promised that he would continue giving it all he has for the next six months so that “G-d willing, everyone will be back here on September 9th for the grand opening”.
After the speechifying and the photo opportunities ended, a dozen shovels were handed out and the ground was finally broken. Colorado’s first Chabad Rabbi, Yisroel Meir Popack, was given the honor of laying the cornerstone, using a brick from the remodeling of the steps of the building known as 770 or Chabad headquarters, which had been given to Rabbi Pesach on his last trip to New York.
At this point, a hora broke out and suddenly there were two circles of dancers in the only somewhat clear spaces available within the tent. People danced, people watched, people clapped, people ate, people schmoozed, and then people made their way to their cars and headed home, promising to be back in September, no matter the weather.