Come Celebrate the Lighting of Boulder County’s Largest Menorah
BOULDER, CO: Every year, hundreds of people brave the always-variable December-in-Colorado weather to gather on the Pearl Street Mall and observe the lighting of Boulder County’s largest Chanukah menorah. (PS, expected to be cloudy and mid-40’s.)
This has been going on for over 20 years and for many families it is an annual event and the true start of the holiday.
An important part of every year’s celebration is the honor of lighting the menorah. This year’s Lamplighters are Rhonda and Bruce Wildman, long-time residents who have worked tirelessly on behalf of the Boulder Jewish community.
Rabbi Pesach Scheiner, co-director of the Boulder County Center for Judaism, explains the choice this way: “The Boulder Jewish community is richer for the contributions of people like the Wildmans, who believe that all the organizations in Boulder should look out for each other and always have the common good of the community in mind – a refreshing perspective in a competitive world.”
Each year the Lamplighters are asked the same four questions. Here is what the Wildmans had to say:
What brought you to Boulder County?
“We had the great fortune to be able to move here for a career opportunity and the vision to stay here to build a life after the opportunity faded.”
What is your favorite Chanukah memory?
“Gathering together in front of the Chanukah lights with our children, seeing the lights through their eyes, and rekindling memories of years past. We love experiencing the joys of Chanukah-anticipation, singing together, giving and receiving presents, telling the Chanukah story, playing dreidel, and eating chocolate gelt and latkes.”
Can you share something interesting about volunteering in the Boulder Jewish community?
“Our experience of volunteering has brought us many of our nearest and closest friends. What is interesting is that, indirectly, we receive much more in so many different ways than we give.”
What is your vision for Jewish Boulder?
“Sharing. In Jewish Boulder we have everything. For us, community is about sharing what we have and thinking and acting on what brings us together rather than what separates us. We need to work together to better use what we already have.”
Clearly Julie Schaffer, executive director of the Oreg Foundation, agrees with Rabbi Scheiner, noting that “The Wildmans are dependable participants in all Boulder Jewish activities. They cheerfully step up as leaders and supporters wherever they are needed.”
“The Jewish community of Boulder County is better for having Bruce and Rhonda as part of it,” said Jonathan Lev, executive director of the Boulder JCC, “They truly understand what is necessary to build and sustain community. From being part of fundraising campaigns to leadership on the board of Bonai, they have demonstrated the value of giving back. It is special to honor them with as Lamplighters this year as they always bring their light to the community”
David Fellows of the “Boulder Jewish News” merely smiled and asked, “What took you so long?”
According to Alan Hittelman, owner of Boulder Creek Realty, “The Wildman family has not only been philanthropic, they have actively fund-raised to enhance Judaism within the Boulder community. In addition, Bruce has provided numerous years of Jewish community leadership. He has served on numerous Boards, including the Boulder Jewish Community Foundation and Congregation Bonai Shalom, often in Presidential or Treasurer roles.”
This year, the amazing Steve Brodsky is returning to lead the singing at the menorah lighting and there will be homemade latkes, fresh souvganyot (traditional jelly doughnuts), hot cocoa, and coffee.
PLUS, chocolate Chanukah gelt will literally fall from the sky into your waiting hands (with the help of the Boulder Fire Department and their ladder truck).
And it’s all FREE!
No reservations are required, either. Just dress for whatever weather is predicted and join the party on the 1300 block of Pearl, right behind the courthouse.
This exciting annual event is hosted by the Boulder County Center for Judaism, and jointly sponsored by the Boulder JCC, JEWISHcolorado, Carolyn Bleicher of Re/Max Boulder, Hazel’s Beverage World, and the Oreg Foundation. The Boulder County Center for Judaism is grateful for the support of these sponsors and thanks the Starbucks on Pearl Street for their annual donation of coffee and hot water for the cocoa.
This is a zero waste event. If you want to bring your own mug, that would be great. Otherwise, we will have biodegradable disposable cups.
For more information, call 303-494-1638 or email BoulderJudaism@gmail.com.