05 September 2009

Colorado: 150 years of Denver Jewish life

“Pioneering Jews: Cowboys, Rebels and Trailblazers,” sponsored by the Center for Judaic Studies, opens Sunday, September 13, at the Jewish Community Center. The opening day festivities really focuses on Jewish genealogy, thanks to the Jewish Genealogical Society of Colorado.

Tracing the Tribe has previously blogged about the genealogy component of this celebration, including the appearance of Jewish genealogy pioneer Arthur Kurzweil, but this article in the Cherry Creek News gives details of other facets.

The nine-month celebration of 150 years of Jewish life in Colorado will kick off with the opening of an exhibition on Denver’s first Jewish residents and free presentations on Jewish genealogy by author and speaker Arthur Kurzweil.

“Kurzweil’s sessions on Jewish genealogical research fit well with our exhibition’s focus on Denver’s earliest Jewish families, some of whose descendants still live here,” says Jeanne Abrams, professor of Judaic Studies at the University of Denver and curator of the exhibit.
The exhibit includes photos, documents and household items that come from the Rocky Mountain Jewish Historical Society’s Ira M. Beck Memorial Archives, part of the Center for Judaic Studies.

Included are furnishings from the 2900 Champa Street home of Louis and Louise Anfenger, who moved to Denver in 1870. Louis was a Temple Emanuel and B'nai B'rith chapter founder. There'll be an exhibit on the history of Jewish women and one for kids - an interactive scroll through history.

“It is significant that Denver is also celebrating its 150th anniversary this year, because it means that Jews were here at the very beginning of the city, and helped it become what it is today,” Abrams says.

The day's events are free, but reservations are required. Making the festivities possible are the generosity of the Rose Community Foundation, and co-sponsorship of the The Mizel Museum, the Jewish Genealogical Society of Colorado and the Allied Jewish Federation.

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