LOUISVILLE, CO: Jewish tradition teaches that no matter how dark it gets we must strive to bring light. No holiday celebrates this concept more brightly than Chanukah, which requires lighting one additional candle each night until we have filled the eight-branched menorah or chanukia and brought light to the darkness.
Every year, Chanukah on Ice attracts a crowd of families for outdoor ice skating to Chanukah music, with stops for hot chocolate, soufganiot (traditional jelly doughnuts), and the lighting of the largest menorah in Boulder County.
And every year someone is given the honor of lighting the menorah. This year it is Henry Rasof. According to Rabbi Pesach Scheiner, co-director of The Boulder County Center for Judaism, “Henry is a scholar at heart who loves to study the Torah and especially the Zohar, which contains discussions of the nature of God, the origin and structure of the universe, the nature of souls, and more. He is also very charitable to the Jewish community in Boulder.”
“Henry is a gift to this community,” said Jonathan Lev, executive director of the Boulder Jewish Community Center. “He is like a tree at the JCC: rooted, supportive, spreading his branches, bringing life and vibrancy, and deeply connected to the community. He is always present at events and cares intensely about ensuring our community’s success. On behalf of the board and staff, I congratulate Henry on this community honor.”
Rabbi Dr. Tirzah Firestone, rabbi emerita at Congregation Nevei Kodesh, describes Henry as, “one of the most ingenious characters in our community. His colorful imagination, brilliant mind, and years of learning combine with a wild sense of humor to give us a prolific author, poet, and trickster who lights up our world with laughter and cheer.”
Each year the Lamplighters are asked the same four questions. Here is what the Henry had to say:
What brought you to Boulder County?
The easily accessible open space and mountains, and, at the time, a location halfway between where my parents were living, so that I could more easily provide care when needed than I could when I lived on the East Coast. However, the one time both were hospitalized at the same time, deciding which parent to visit was a challenge, so I’m not sure I can recommend this approach to everyone.
What is your favorite Chanukah memory?
Eating almost 50 potato latkes at a party when I was in the 8th grade. Secondly, discovering that if you view the right kind of menorah in the right kind of way you will see just one light. For me the teaching is that perspective is everything. For example, we can see ourselves as separate souls or as manifestations of a universal soul, namely, God.
Can you share something interesting about volunteering in the Boulder Jewish community?
I spend a fair amount of time figuring out where, how, and when to give tzedakah, and one thing I have learned from this is that giving nonprofit organizations money isn’t as easy as it sounds.
What is your vision for Jewish Boulder?
That the community remains true to Jewish values, especially gemilut hasidim—acts of lovingkindness–which the famous rabbi the Chofetz Chaim (1839-1933, b. Belarus) calls the most important mitzvah.
The festivities begin at 4:00 pm and the menorah is lit at 5:00 pm.
No reservations are required and everyone is welcome!
This exciting annual event is hosted by the Boulder County Center for Judaism, and jointly sponsored by the Boulder JCC, JEWISHcolorado, Hazel’s Beverage World, the Oreg Foundation, Schad Farmers Insurance, Ed and Julie Victor, and WinterSkate. The Boulder County Center for Judaism is grateful for the support of these sponsors and thanks the Starbucks at 459 McCaslin Blvd, Louisville, for their donation of hot water for the cocoa.
This is a zero waste event. If you want to bring your own thermos for the hot cocoa, that would be great. Otherwise, we will have biodegradable disposable cups.
Admission to WinterSkate is $10 for adults and $9 for people four to 12 and includes skate rental. Say you are there for the menorah lighting and get $1 off! WinterSkate is located at 824 Front Street in downtown Louisville.
For more information, call 303-494-1638 or email BoulderJudaism@gmail.com.