After two years of communicating through newsletters, the Telluride Jewish Community (TJC) is back with a full calendar of in-person events. On July 8, Andrea Brenner and her husband Scott hosted a Shabbat Happy Hour and mini service that included Shabbat candle lighting. More than 50 people were present and were distributed in the dining room, the porch and the patio of the Brenner. Brenner said she was thrilled with the number of people who showed up for the event.
“It took us maybe 10 days to get an incredible turnout, which is a very strong testament to the desire to come together, and it was well received within the community,” Brenner said.
TJC has a host of events and services planned for the year, including a happy hour on August 19 and holiday high services for Rosh Hashanah.
The idea of bringing back the in-person TJC gatherings came about while Brenner was online to see “Top Gun: Maverick” at the Nugget Theater and caught up with TJC board member Adrienne Browning. Brenner suggested a Shabbat Happy Hour. Browning was on board, and 10 days later they found themselves singing the prayer over wine and Challah breads and twists from Baked in Telluride. They also paid tribute to Jerry Greene, who founded the bakery and passed away last year. After the success of the July 8 event, other events were scheduled following the chance encounter.
On October 14, Browning and Bill Laffey will host Sukkot, which is the Jewish festival of harvest and agriculture. Sukkot also commemorates the 40 years the Israelites wandered the desert after escaping slavery in Egypt.
Michael Saftler has been the spiritual leader of TJC since its inception 47 years ago. It all started when someone approached Saftler to lead a Passover Seder. Saftler is thrilled that in-person events are back, both socially and spiritually.
“Coming together, in general, is good for people and their souls. For religious events, it’s more comforting to be in the presence of people praying and sharing together,” Saftler said.
He explained that in Judaism there is a tradition called “minyan”. Minyan is a type of public prayer that requires at least 10 people to pray together in person for their prayers to be heard by God.
Major holidays, which include Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, are particularly important to Saftler.
“And those are the ones that the community responds well to,” he added.
Brenner said she looks forward to Shabbat dinner because it’s every Friday, but she especially loves Hannukah and making potato latkes with all the kids.
There wasn’t much difficulty in scheduling in-person meetings; however, one of Brenner’s main goals is to let the local Jewish community know that TJC is “back” and “well” as the major holidays are fast approaching. According to Brenner, most of the community is on board and ready to see each other face to face.
For decades, TJC has held services and events at various locations in the area, including the Sheridan or in the library. Compared to some of the other religious organizations in the city, there is no fixed space or synagogue in the area.
“I think it’s like in any religion where the congregation, the community, the philanthropy, the generosity, the gratitude and all of that is much more valued and appreciated when it’s in three dimensions rather than two. dimensions,” Brenner said.
Brenner explained that they are always looking for foster homes that can team up with multiple families and host a gathering, usually a potluck.
For more information, a listing of events, or to get involved, visit telluridejewishcommunity.com.