Discover Leadville’s Jewish Pioneers on Saturday
This Saturday, the public will have a unique opportunity to attend a program that doesn’t happen very often in Leadville. On June 2 the “Jewish Life in Leadville in the 1880s” program and service will be held at Temple Israel, starting at 10 a.m.
Find out about the Pioneer Jews of Leadville as Rabbi Ruth Gelfarb describes American Judaism in the 1880’s, followed by a short Shabbat Service in the style of the 1880s with cantorial soloist Kiddush, and concluded with a slide show by Bill Korn, President of Temple Israel Foundation on “The Jews of Leadville.” The program at the temple is free, but a donation to Temple Israel to sustain its important work is requested.
According to information provided on the Synagogue of the Summit website, which is also sponsoring the event:
Unbeknownst to many, Jews were among the early settlers of the upper Arkansas Valley and Leadville was once home to a thriving Jewish community, complete with temple, cemetery and well-known residents. Some worked in the mines, most worked as merchants. Wholesale liquor was an area of commerce that proved to be particularly lucrative and the community even had a member who ran a brothel. Leadville’s earliest Jewish settlers mainly had roots in Germany, held assimilationist attitudes, and practiced Reform Judaism. Later immigrants were more religiously rigorous.
Known locally as Leadville’s historic synagogue, Temple Israel, built in 1884, served a large and active Jewish community in Leadville until about 1912. No longer has an active synagogue, the building now houses a permanent exhibition that documents pioneer Jewish life with a collection of artifacts.
The synagogue will open at 9:30 Saturday morning, with the program beginning at 10 a.m. Temple Israel is located at 201 W 4th Street in Leadville. The group will also be gathering for lunch afterwards at the Silver Dollar Saloon on historic Harrison Avenue starting at 1 p.m.
And finally a reminder about the Annual Leadville Jewish Cemetery Clean Up Weekend, this year on Saturday and Sunday, June 23 and 24. Now in its 22nd year, this cleanup helps to beautify the resting places of the dearly departed laid to rest in the beautiful Jewish Cemetery adjacent to the Evergreen cemetery in Leadville. There is an entire weekend of events planned, featuring Shabbat Morning service led by Rabbi Sara Gilbert. This event has become an annual pilgrimage for many from the front range Jewish Community. The public is welcome and more details can be found HERE.