Although a man of many accomplishments and distinctions, Jerry Sloat may be best known as a solo instrumentalist. He did not participate in the marching band in high school, nor did he require expensive music lessons. He does not even read music. But he is in high demand when the season calls for the particularly challenging wind instrument he has mastered.
When asked to sound the shofar, Sloat never says no. Every year, he and his shofar travel to the Boulder JCC Preschool, the senior centers where Jewish Family Service holds services, and to all High Holiday services at Congregation Har HaShem, where he is a founding member and where he conducted lay-led services before the synagogue hired its first rabbi. Since then, he has served in numerous capacities, most significantly having been instrumental in the hiring of Rabbi Bronstein and in the construction of the new sanctuary.
He considers it an honor to sound shofar whenever asked because “people are definitely moved and deeply affected by it.”
In fact, Jerry Sloat rarely says no to any kind of request from the Jewish community, as his wife Gail attests.
“He always says yes,” she confides during a chat in the pet-friendly Sloat and Nicholson law office. When the Boulder JCC approached the Sloats about serving as the Bright Star honorees at Reflections, Gail says she was “thrilled for Jerry because of all he does and has done. I am very proud of my husband. He has taught me to be more of a giver. I learned the concept of tzedakah from him.”
Jerry says he learned that concept from his own father, who never denied a request for tzedakah. His father had been a yeshiva student and was “observant but very tolerant.”
That’s why I am happy to go across the board in the Jewish community,” he adds. “Every organization is an important piece of the puzzle – JFS, Chabad, Renewal, Menorah, the Boulder Jewish Festival. The ADL is life insurance. JEWISHcolorado is family. And the Boulder JCC is our community. We have to support our community first.”
Jerry moved to Boulder in 1971 after establishing a law practice in New York. He met Gail in 1979, and they married in 1981. Daniel was born in 1982, and Emily followed in 1986, joining Jerry’s older son Adam.
One of the accomplishments the Sloats are most proud of is the work they did to help raise funds for the Boulder JCC Preschool 28 years ago.
“Daniel was in the second graduating class. It feels good to have been on the ground level of the preschool,” Gail shares. “I am also proud of helping create the women’s division of Allied.” Gail was honored for her involvement in Allied Jewish Federation (now JEWISHcolorado) as their first Woman of Valor.
I’m the behind-the-scenes backer rather than the upfront guy,” Jerry elaborates. “I enjoy planting seeds rather than harvesting. I was surprised and thrilled by this honor, even though I am happy without credit.”
What Jerry enjoys the most is “to be part of the continuation of this vibrant community.” He looks for new opportunities to give, such as recently becoming a gold sponsor of the Boulder Jewish Film Festival, now in its third year.
“I was a little shocked at first, but I’ve acclimated myself to that concept,” he says with a laugh. “I hope to be around to sound shofar for her grandchildren.”
To join the Boulder JCC in celebrating Bright Starts Gail and Jerry Sloat, and Rising Stars Beth and Michael Margolis, at Reflections, please register here. For more information, please contact Boulder JCC Development Manager Caroline Meyers at (303) 998-1900 X 113 or firstname.lastname@example.org.