LAFAYETTE, CO: The special honor of lighting the giant community menorah is reserved for an individual who has been especially generous to the local Jewish community with their time and energy. This year, the Boulder County Center for Judaism has selected former concierge and marketing director for the Boulder Jewish Community Center, Michael Rosensweig.
“It is so exciting to be able to honor Michael,” said Chany Scheiner, co-director of the Boulder County Center for Judaism. “I have known him for a few years and am impressed with the way always created a positive vibe around him. He was always excited to see everyone. No matter what he was juggling, he was always someone you could count on.”
Julie Shaffer of the Oreg Foundation recalls Michael as a welcoming presence at the JCC, helping to connect so many young people to our community. She says, “His warm spirit is enduring.”
Every year, the lamplighter is asked four questions. Here are Michael’s answers:
What brought you to Boulder County and how long have you lived here?
I’ve been in Boulder for just over seven years now. I am a New Jersey native, but after going to school in upstate New York and living in New York City for two years, I knew that the East Coast was not for me. I tried my luck as a teacher in Hawaii and after figuring out that I wanted to be as far away from high school freshman as possible I changed locations and careers and Colorado became my happy medium. I have a cousin in the Colorado Springs area and I just packed an extra suitcase when I came for her wedding and stayed. I got my job at the JCC less than a month later.
What is one funny memory from your time working at the Boulder JCC?
The videos that I did for the JCC were my favorite projects. There are too many to have a single favorite, but I did like singing a Chanukah song in the snow while wearing shorts and a t-shirt and playing the ukulele. And getting dressed up in leather pants as Axel Rose-enzweig, leader of the Jewish version of Guns and Roses, is one of my favorites. Our executive director, Jonathan Lev, played the role of a crazy fan and, as that was a Purim video, Jerry Pinsker was a very convincing Haman. Working with the preschool children on videos for the Groundbreaking and Reflections led to some unforgettable moments as well. If you haven’t seen any of them, check out the Boulder JCC YouTube Channel.
What is your favorite Chanukah memory?
That definitely has to be the first Ignite Chanukah. I was told that Ignite Boulder usually started with a song, and, before I knew it, I was a human dreidel, trying to figure out how to hold a guitar and sing in front of a crowd. A close second would be playing the role of the “Rock of Ages” at the Jeff and Paige Chanukah concert at the JCC. My parents were in town that week and I think they have never been prouder.
What is it like living in Lafayette and are you the only Jew in town?
Lafayette is great. My wife and I have been living here for over two years and we absolutely love it. There are new restaurants and shops opening up all the time, the Art Night Out festivals are fun, and the whole town gives a family-friendly vibe. And yes, lots of Jews live in Lafayette. Some of us call the area “JCC East” as there several JCC staff members who live right in Old Town.
Come and watch Michael light the giant community menorah on Sunday, December 9 in Festival Plaza in Old Town Lafayette. Festivities begin at 4:00pm and include acrobatic entertainment by Brian the Circus Knight, and sufganiot (traditional jelly doughnuts) for all. The first 75 attendees will receive a special gift.
No reservations are required and everyone is welcome. Just bundle up and join the party.
This exciting annual event is hosted by the Boulder County Center for Judaism and sponsored by Lafayette Music and Doug and Miriam Sparks, without whose assistance it would not be possible.
For more information, call 303-494-1638 or email BoulderJudaism@gmail.com.