How does one go about making Judaism – or any religion for that matter – accessible to community members in the modern, materialistic 21st century?
How does one bring spirituality and tradition to life in the American West, where – according the Pew Center’s Portrait of Jewish Americans – assimilation is its highest national rate?
The Jewish Experience – an ever expanding and popular Jewish “in-reach” organization based in Denver – believes it has found an answer: It’s new community center celebrated its grand opening earlier this week. The center is now open to the entire Jewish community.
The new center aims to be a place where Jews of all denominations – or no denomination – can come to read, relax, learn, and meet with spiritual guides in a comfortable, non-threatening environment.
The center’s facilities include a Jewish library, classrooms, offices, a full Kosher kitchen facility, an open terrace that can house a sukkah or outdoor patio, and a coffee shop style lounge featuring Dazbog Coffee – all in the same modern structure.
The Jewish Experience, which has – up until now – been serving members of the Colorado Jewish community from offices at the Robert E. Loup Jewish Community Center, finally has a home of its own. The organization is run by the charismatic Rabbis Ahron Wasserman and Raphael Leban who, for more than a decade, have served as models of Jewish leaders truly dedicated to the community.
It is a dream come true,” says Rabbi Leban, Managing Director. “For more than a decade we have been working towards opening an attractive, comfortable outreach center for social events, Friday night dinners, holiday celebrations, classes, programs and events. Not to mention office space for our growing staff.”
Walking in to the center – located at 399 S. Monaco Parkwayt – visitors are greeted by the buzz of religious leaders, businesspersons, and teenagers engaged in a variety of activities. Within moments, they are welcomed by one of the warm Jewish Experience team members – perhaps youth outreach coordinator Rabbi Adam Freedman or women’s programming coordinator Eve Levy – and are invited to participate however they feel most comfortable.
We hope the community feels welcome to drop by and use the lounge and facilities for meetings, schmoozing, Jewish learning and socializing,” says Rabbi Wasserman, Executive Director. “It’s also perfect for a family simcha.”
The Jewish Experience Center is equipped with a sophisticated multi-zone sound system and a MondoPad (a blackboard-sized touch-screen tablet computer optimized for video conferencing).
The new Jewish Experience Center will also be the recording home of Radio Chavura, the weekly audio program that celebrates the Jewish community in Colorado and around the word. Radio Chavura will not only conduct many of its program interviews at the new center, but will regularly be on hand to record and photograph community events that take place at the state-of-the-art facility.
Radio Chavura, which began broadcasting its show on 990 KRKS AM in July 2012, is now heard worldwide as a weekly audio at www.chavura.com, as well as on the iTunes store. Previous guests include U.S. Congressman Doug Lamborn (CO-05), Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, billionaire philanthropist Michael Milken, Jerusalem Post editor Caroline Glick, and – of course – the affable Rabbis Wasserman and Leban.
For information about the new Jewish Experience Center contact The Jewish Experience at (303) 316-6412 or go to its website at www.theje.com. For more information about Radio Chavura, phone 855-JEWISH-4, or visit its website at www.chavura.com.