Dear Fellow Boulderites:
As I write to you today, almost six months after the flooding commenced, I’m still in a state of disbelief that the pristine, peaceful town I grew up in was the recipient of a national disaster.
My family, which I believe is in the top one percent of the largest Boulder families, currently stands at 13 strong (seven daughters, four sons, and two amazing parents) were stuck at home as the rain began to come down. Unfortunately our home was in the wrong place at the wrong time and, as the pool we had always dreamed of but never had, quickly started to appear in our yard, the six siblings and my parents who were home, started to grow anxious. As my parents were reassuring their youngest children that everything would be fine, they heard a loud knock. Then they opened the door, they were greeted by several CU: Boulder students whom they had never met.
After introducing themselves, the students urged my family to please move to their house, which was in a safer area, until the danger passed. My family needed little convincing and quickly accepted their offer. When they arrived, the students insisted on clearing the largest room in the house and setting up cribs, beds, etc. The next few days were truly heartwarming as our family bonded with our hosts.
On the seventh day of the flood, when the raining stopped for a bit my father rushed over to our home, which houses the Chabad shul, to find enormous destruction.
As the Rabbi of a Jewish community one day before Yom Kippur, the most serious day on the Jewish calendar, who now had no place to hold services, he had a serious problem on his hands. He came back to where the family was staying and started making calls to all the venues around town to see if there was any space available, but it was to no avail and, as the minutes began to tick by and Yom Kippur grew closer, the nerves started to grow. Indeed, the future seemed bleak.
Once again, CU students came to the rescue. After one of them overheard my father on the phone inquiring about spaces, he immediately gathered his friends and informed my father that they would do whatever was necessary to make his the synagogue usable. And thus it came to be that a team of atheists, Christians, and Jews, pumped out water, pulled out carpets, shoveled mud, and did all the things that were necessary to ready Chabad of Boulder to host Yom Kippur services for a community desperately in need of a sanctuary.
When Yom Kippur concluded, the real work started.
Chabad of Boulder led a massive relief effort, providing a spectrum of services to a community in shock. Securing shelter for those forced from their homes, dispatching crews to battle mold spreading through waterlogged homes, providing storage for those who had things that were not destroyed, offering direct financial assistance where necessary, going door-to-door to assess needs, providing hot food for those without power. There was no need too small or too large for Chabad to respond with its signature love and care.
We have continued to work non-stop and thank G-d that we will gather together on Sunday and host a groundbreaking for the new Jewish Education Center that will open on the first anniversary of the start of the flood and allow our community to head into Yom Kippur 2014 with a new home that will bring light to everyone around.
With that in mind, I invite the entire community, regardless of religion, race, color, or creed to please join us as one Boulder family and celebrate this great triumph over adversity.
The groundbreaking ceremony will be held at 2 pm on Sunday, March 2, at 2810 Jay Road (at the corner of 28th Street), in North Boulder. There will be a heated tent, so it will go on regardless of the weather, and will include speech from communal and national leaders, a delicious falafel bar, a warming soup bar, knishes, sliders, and more (all kosher of course), as well as jugglers, a renowned musician flown in from New York, as well as local politicians, dignitaries, and philanthropists.
This event is free of charge and requires no RSVP to attend.
With much gratitude,
Flood Relief Coordinator and Director of Development Chabad of Boulder