Four Questions for Boulder County Lamplighter, Rabbi Richard Rocklin

Boulder County Center for JudaismThe Boulder County Center for Judaism and the Boulder JCC are pleased to be able to honor Rabbi Richard Rocklin with the mitzvah of lighting this year’s Community Menorah in Louisville.

The lighting will take place at 5:00 pm during the annual Chanukah on Ice celebration at WinterSkate in downtown Louisville on December 18 from 4:00 to 6:00 pm. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to join the celebration.

Rabbi Rocklin is truly a Boulder County Lamplighter, which means that not only is he kindling the lights of the menorah this year, he is a constant light unto the community, and has been for many years. Moishe Scheiner, the second son of Rabbi and Chany Scheiner, co-directors of the Boulder County Center for Judaism, has known Rabbi Rockland most of his life. He called home from out of state to say:

Every time I see Rabbi Rockland, he turns on a light of happiness and love. The things that come across most from him, and make so many people love him, are his sincerity and honest, true care for everyone he meets.”

Another fan is Shari Blake Schnee, a close friend of one of Rabbi’s daughters for nearly 20 years. When asked to speak about him she said, “He’s just so amazing that it’s hard to put it into words!!” But she agreed to try:

Rabbi Rocklin simply is a special person. He is one of the most genuine, generous, and caring people I know. When you first meet him, you feel like you’ve known him forever. He loves and cares deeply about his family, friends, and community. We are really fortunate to have him as a participating member of our community.”

And now, the asking (and answering) of the four questions:

1. Rabbi Rocklin, we know your previous congregation was in Florida, but you have lived in Colorado long enough to be used to the weather. What was that congregation like, and what made you decide to head for the Rockies?

I was truly blessed to have a congregation that basically was all senior citizens. There were 234 couples in my congregation who had been married over 50 years. We had a singles program that you had to be over 70 to join and it produced 16 weddings.
I am blessed to be a rabbi and especially to have had the privilege of serving G-d with this congregation, but I left there to come to Boulder because that’s where my family is.

2. What do you enjoy most about living in Boulder?

I have the blessing of five daughters and 10 grandchildren here, and the great opportunity to serve people by being a chaplain in three different hospitals. I am also delighted to know and have as friends Rabbi and Mrs. Scheiner.

3. What is your favorite Chanukah memory?

I always told my children that we needed to live Judaism, not just talk about it, and I used to tell one of my youngest daughters that in the time of the Maccabees she had been a great warrior. I told her she had handled a sword extremely well and had helped in the battles enormously. For many years she believed this – and truly lived the holiday every time it came around.
I love Chanukah because we fought a war not for land or to subjugate another people, but only to serve G-d – we only wanted the privilege to worship G-d in the manner we believed was right.

4. Having served as a rabbi for many years, you must have numerous special moments and memories. Would you share one or two of your most interesting, touching, or amusing experiences with us?

I truly love being a Rabbi.
Here’s a funny story. When I first started in the rabbinate I stuck to the idea that no one should come to my home to see me without calling first. I was worried about how I might look – that I might not be dressed appropriately if people just showed up without calling.

One day there was a knock on the door, but I didn’t answer it. I looked outside and there was a truck parked in front of my house with a company name written on the side. I thought I had a congregant by that name, so I called him up and asked if he needed anything – if I could be of service to him in some way.

It turned out that he was not the person at my door; he had loaned his truck to one of his workers. But he told another congregant about how great the new rabbi was, saying “He called me up just to see if he could do anything for me!” The other man said, “Hmph! He hasn’t called me yet!”

No reservations are necessary for this fun, family-friendly event. Just show up at WinterSkate (824 Front Street, downtown Louisville) at 4:00 pm on Thursday afternoon, December 18th. Mention that you are there for Chanukah on Ice and receive a discount on the price of admission. (Adults: $3, Kids 4-12: $2, Children 3 and under: Free, Skate Rental: $4).

Enormous thanks go out to the Boulder Jewish News, Ed and Julie Victor, JEWISHColorado, JNF, and the Oreg Foundation. Without their generous support, this event would not be possible.

About Lisa Napell Dicksteen

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  1. A wonderful gentle man with a beautiful spirit, I knew him in N.C. many years ago. I drove by the original Temple Israel many times before I had the "courage" to go in to be counseled by him. I've always been happy that I did. I now live in central Florida (missed out on his time spent here) – but will always feel blessed to have known him and that I sang with the Temple Choir those many years ago.

  2. Rachel J. Schumacher

    In 1983 at Temple Israel in Charlotte, N.C. I came to Rabbi Rocklin with a Miracle story of finding a message in Light, which came to me from the heavens and lifted me to the way I was to go in my life. I asked for him to believe and he helped me find the way for the following year. In which Rabbi Rocklin saw me each and every week in his office.
    I never have known another person more compassionate and giving with true honor for others in his heart.