Reflections On the First Anniversary of the Marshall Fire

Dear Friends,

It’s Kislev! The month of Chanukah, light, and dreams! 

Traditionally, this time of year is cause for celebration. We surround ourselves with the essence of the season: lighting the chanukiyah, spinning a dreidl, shopping and giving –  all amidst the heady aromas of onions and oil, decadent baked treats, cinnamon, snow, pine, and wood smoke. We gather with family and friends, trading traditions and sharing our spaces. We take a break from work and school. We look forward to the secular New Year with resolutions of improvement and expectations of hope. In fact, the root of Kislev, the Hebrew month in which Chanukah occurs, translates to hope.  This year, we add a new tradition to the season: remembering a time that strayed from dream into nightmare, from light into despair, and now, one year later, teaches us about resilience and hope.  

This year, members of Haver, the Rabbinic Council of Boulder, will gather in community and private to commemorate the anniversary of the devastating Marshall fire that destroyed more than one thousand homes and businesses and claimed the lives of two people and numerous pets. 

While we reflect on the fire and honor those who risked their lives to save what they could, we find connection to Chanukah. The word means dedication. In modern Hebrew, the expression “hanukkat habayit” means housewarming party, literally, dedication of the home. 

Chanukah commemorates a three-year battle with the Syrians and the resulting rededication of the ancient temple they destroyed in Jerusalem. We recognize the miracle that a day’s portion of oil lasted eight days until it could be resupplied. 

As we drive past the Louisville and Superior neighborhoods impacted by the fire, we feel a sense of hope with each home that is rebuilt. We recognize the struggle to recreate what was lost, and marvel at the miracle that, in spite of its speed and ferocity, the fire didn’t claim more lives. Above all else, we dream of the day we can celebrate hanukkat habayit with our greater Boulder community.

L’Shalom, 

Rabbi Deborah Bronstein, Rabbi Emerita Congregation Har HaShem
Rabbi Ori Har DiGenarro, Conscious Learning Community
Rabbi Tirzah Firestone, Rabbi Emerita Congregation Nevei Kodesh
Morah Yehudis Fishman, Community Educator
Rabbi Ruth Gelfarb, Congregation Har HaShem
Rabbi Sarah Bracha Gershuny, Community Rabbi
Rabbi Lynne Goldsmith, Adventure Judaism
Rabbi Fred Greene, Congregation Har HaShem
Rabbi Jamie Korngold, Adventure Judaism
Rabbi Charna Rosenholtz, Shulchan.net
Rabbi Eva Sax-Bolder, Community Rabbi
Rabbi Alan Shavit-Lonstein, Adventure Judaism
Rabbi Marc Soloway, Congregation Bonai Shalom
Rabbi Diane Tiferet Lakein, Community Rabbi, Congregation Nevei Kodesh

Resources

WEEKEND OF HEALING, December 8-11

Louisville Recreation & Senior Center, 900 Via Appia Way

A weekend of events including moonrise and reflective walks, restorative yoga and meditation, and more. Details here.              

INTERFAITH SERVICE OF SUPPORT AND HEALING, December 29

St. Ambrose Episcopal Church, 7520 South Boulder Road, 7pm

Join leaders from Boulder’s faith organizations including Congregation Har HaShem, St. Ambrose, the Great Dharma Chan monastery and others for a service of peace and comfort. All ages welcome. Nursery care for preschoolers will be provided. Registration required.

SERVICE OF HEALING, December 30

Congregation HarHaShem, 3950 Baseline Road, Boulder, 6pm

This special Shabbat service will offer healing and commemorate the Marshall Fire and wind event. 

MARSHALL FIRE SOLIDATIRY BREAKFAST, December 30

Superior Community Center, 1500 Coalton Road, 7-11am

For those impacted by the Marshall Fire, including first responders and volunteers. Local professionals will provide mental and emotional support. The Superior Youth Leadership Council will host children’s activities and crafts.

COMMUNITY STORYTELLING, December 30

Superior Community Center, 1500 Coalton Road, 11am-1pm

Superior Rising presents Community Storytelling, with the support of Colorado Public Radio. Now seeking storytellers. Contact jenn.kaaoush@gmail.com

A SERVICE OF REMEMBRANCE, REFLECTION, & RESILIENCE, December 30

Christ the Servant Lutheran Church, 506 Via Appia Way, Louisville, 11am

Gather in community to commemorate the first anniversary of the Marshall Fire. Details here.

GROUP EMDR, various Wednesdays and Thursdays in December & January

On Zoom. Registration Required.

Jewish Family Services is offering 90-minute group EMDR sessions to support those impacted by the fire. Group Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is an evidence-based practice designed to increase a sense of balance, calm and ability to manage disturbing thoughts, feelings and memories.

ONGOING SUPPORT

Mental Health Partners

Call 303-545-0852, email communityoutreach@mhpcolorado.org

JEWISH FAMILY SERVICES & COMMUNITY FOUNDATION

Provides 10 free individual or family counseling sessions conducted by a pool of more than 250 licensed providers. Details here.

BOULDER VALLEY SCHOOL DISTRICT

Resources available for families and employees directly impacted by the Marshall Fire. Details here.

ART THERAPY, through December

Available to all. Registration required. Details here.

About Stacey Rosenbaum

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