Thirteen organizations collaborate to present a year of MoVeRs: Jewish Mavericks, Visionaries & Rebels. The Program Launch & Teach-In, “Smashing the Idols,” will be held Thursday, October 22 @ 7 PM.

MoVeRs: Jewish Mavericks, Visionaries & Rebels – “Smashing the Idols”

The Program in Jewish Studies at the University of Colorado has collaborated with twelve other Boulder and Denver Jewish organizations to present a year-long series of events that examines how Jews have often been at the forefront of social, cultural and political change.  Through lectures, concerts, films, classes and performances, guests from around the world will be coming to the Boulder/Denver metro area to explore who such MoVeRs have been throughout history and what is it about Jewish culture that inspires such radicalism.  Complete details for the series of events can be found at

The series launch is Thursday, October 22 at 7 PM at CU-Boulder’s University Memorial Center 235 with “Smashing the Idols”.  Modeled after popular teach-in’s from the 1960s, the evening will feature international, national and local leaders in the Jewish community. They will use the story found in Jewish and Muslim tradition of the Biblical patriarch Abraham smashing his father’s idols and launching monotheism as the basis of examining how Jews throughout history have been breaking with conventional wisdom, rebelling against authority and blazing new trails.  Who were they? What did they accomplish? What drove them?

Presenters for the evening include:

  • Elissa Barrett, Executive Director for the Progressive Jewish Alliance (PJA) in Los Angeles. Founded in 1999 PJA educates, advocates and organizes on issues of peace, equality, diversity and justice. Over the past ten years, PJA has created a new model of Jewish community organizing, and has reinvigorated the progressive Jewish landscape in Los Angeles.
  • Gavriel Goldfeder, Rabbi at Congregation Aish Kodesh, Boulder
  • Victor Gross, Rabbi from Boulder’s Pardes Levavot, a Jewish Renewal Congregation. Reb Victor serves on the Academic Vaad for the ALEPH Rabbinic Program and is the past Vice President of OhaLaH: The Association of Rabbis for Jewish Renewal.
  • Orly Halpern is a Jewish American Israeli war correspondent. She lived in Baghdad and reported for a year during the Iraq war and covered the second intifada driving her sedan across the West Bank. When she left Iraq she became the Middle East correspondent for The Jerusalem Post for which she traveled across the Arab and Muslim world learning about the politics, the people, and their views on Jews and Israel. She developed a particular interest in Jewish communities living amongst the Arabs. Her many experiences have included spending Passover with the last Afghan Jew in Kabul and living with Bahraini Jews in Manama.
  • Josh Rose, is the Rabbi at Congregation Har HaShem in Boulder. His path to being a rabbi included a master’s degree in theology, working in political advocacy for a Jewish organization in Washington DC, travel in India, and high school teaching – experiences he weaves into his rabbinic work. Rabbi Rose lives in Boulder with his wife Channah, a lawyer, and their 20 month old son, Eliav.
  • David Shneer, Director of the Program in Jewish Studies & Associate Professor of History at CU-Boulder.  Called a “taboo-breaking scholar” by Tikkun magazine, Shneer’s work concentrates on modern Jewish society and culture, especially Yiddish culture, Russian Jewish history, and Jews and sexuality. He is the former director of the Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Denver. His books include Queer Jews, finalist for the Lambda Literary award, Yiddish and the Creation of Soviet Jewish Culture, finalist for the National Jewish Book Award, and New Jews: The End of the Jewish Diaspora, which has sparked discussion in publications like the Economist and the Jerusalem Post.
  • Rabbi Yisroel Wilhelm, Rabbi and founder of the University of Colorado’s Chabad Jewish Student Center. Born and raised in London, England Rabbi Wilhelm studied in the Chabad Yeshiva in Kiryat Gat, Israel and then came to America to begin his rabbinical training.  Rabbi Wilhelm received his ordination at the Chabad headquarters in Brooklyn, NY.  After meeting and marrying Leah, he became the program director for a Jewish teen travel camp in New Jersey and then a two-year stint as Youth Director for The Shul in Milwaukee, WI. Subsequently, he came to Boulder and together with his wife, founded the University of Colorado’s Chabad Jewish Center.

The fall line-up of events for MoVeRs includes:

Friday, October 23 at 7 PM:  Social Justice Shabbat with Jewish Mosaic & special guest, Progressive Jewish Alliance Executive Director, Elissa Barrett

Orbis International House, 1818 Gaylord Street
, Denver

This Social Justice Activism Salon and Potluck Shabbat dinner will feature visiting scholar Elissa Barrett, director of one of the nation’s most innovative Jewish social justice organizations, the Progressive Jewish Alliance. Barrett will engage with attendees in an interactive dialogue and brainstorming session on possible avenues for expanded social justice activism and community collaboration within Colorado’s Jewish community.

Tuesday, October 27 at 7 PM:  Out of the Classroom and Onto the Field: Jews & Soccer

Catacombs (below Hotel Boulderado), 2115 13th Street, Boulder

Join Robert Adler Peckerar, assistant professor of Jewish Literature and Culture at CU-Boulder, for an interactive evening that examines the phenomenon of Jewish soccer in central and eastern Europe at the start of the last century – its controversies, politics, and importance in understanding the birth of a radically new Jewish culture.

MoVeRs is made possible with support from Rose Community Foundation, SCFD, and the Goldberger Fund for Jewish Culture at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and is sponsored by: Allied Jewish Federation of Colorado, Boulder JCC, ADL, Pardes Levavot, Menorah, Soul Food, Program in Jewish Studies at the University of Colorado, Congregation Bonai Shalom, Hadassah, Hillel – University of Colorado, Nevei Kodesh, Jewish Mosaic and Congregation Har HaShem.

About Staff

They call me "NewsHound IV," because I'm a clever Finnegan, sniffing out stories all over the Boulder area. I love Jewish holidays because the food is GREAT, especially the brisket. Well all the food. I was a rescue pup and glad to be on the scent!

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