During the past six years, participants of the Chabad Jewish Center of South Metro Denver have attended services, celebrations and classes in a small, rented Highlands Ranch storefront.
On August 30, 2009, at 3 p.m., this segment of the Jewish community will celebrate the opening of the first synagogue in Douglas County with a ribbon cutting ceremony, the traditional placing of the mezuzzah on the front doorpost, speeches and songs.
The new Jewish Center is in Lone Tree at 9950 Lone Tree Parkway at the corner of Lincoln Ave.
Founded by Rabbi Avraham and Hindy Mintz, the Jewish Center opened a Hebrew School with 23 children in 2004.
Since then enrollment has nearly tripled, and last year exceeded building capacity with 22 students on a waiting list.
Participation in other programs grew as well, so much so that the center began renting larger spaces to accommodate holiday services and community celebrations, including the Denver Marriott South for High Holiday services and the Family Sports Center in Centennial for the annual Chanukah on Ice celebration.
Rabbi Mintz and Jewish Center participants started dreaming about a permanent home with enough space to accommodate the 130% growth in 10 years projected for South Metro Denver by the federation’s 2007 Jewish population study.
Two years later the dream has come true, and the new doors will open in time for the start of the 2009-2010 Hebrew school year, the Jewish High Holidays and the inaugural year of the Garden Preschool, the first Jewish preschool in the south Denver suburbs.
“This started as a dream and turned into a miracle,” said Rabbi Mintz.
“Time and again we have seen this community’s strong desire to create a Jewish home for its Jewish life experiences.”
A vacant building in the heart of south metro Denver’s Jewish community offered the size and space to allow the Jewish Center to achieve its critical priorities: adequate and functional space for observance, teaching, community celebrations and a preschool; the addition of furnishings and tools to support and enhance the center’s programmatic objectives; and the creation of a comfortable, welcoming atmosphere that people will embrace as their “second Jewish home.”
“The building presented itself and the community stood up and accomplished an amazing thing,” continued Rabbi Mintz.
“Dozens and dozens of supporters dedicated their resources and time, generating interest, awareness and the funds we needed to purchase and renovate the new Jewish Center, even in these difficult economic times.
“When the doors open on August 30 it will be a new beginning for our Jewish community, a new and exciting chapter in this Jewish community’s life,” said Rabbi Mintz.
The new building includes a synagogue, the preschool, Hebrew and religious school, space for social programs and events, adult classes, holiday programs and events, and a Judaica gift shop.