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Havurah brings Jewish families together

Most organizations start small and think big. That’s exactly the case with local Jewish families who are looking for a place to worship. “The long-term goal is to have a synagogue in this portion of the valley,” said Debra Drew of New Castle, an organizer of a group known as Valley Havurah.Currently Jews have to travel to Aspen, Vail or Grand Junction to find a congregation to worship with, but Drew and a handful of other Jewish families are hoping to change that. Valley Havurah is hoping to bring Jewish families together, which is what a havurah is, from in and around Glenwood together to celebrate Jewish holidays. Though Drew started Valley Havurah about a year and a half ago, the group has been inactive lately, she said. A Shabbat dinner next Friday at the Glenwood Springs Community Center marks a new effort to spark interest in the group by Drew and other organizers. Shabbat, held every week from sunset Friday to sunset on Saturday, is the most important holiday for Jews, said Kim Harbour, another Valley Havurah organizer. “It’s a pretty special night,” she said. Shabbat is a time for families to relax and reflect on the week with one another and with other families, she said. An hour drive to Vail, Aspen or Grand Junction prevents many families from celebrating the holiday, said Harbour.Drew and Harbour think there are 30 to 50 Jewish families in the valley from El Jebel to Parachute who would might be interested in Valley Havurah. To start, Valley Havurah will meet twice a month, once for Shabbat dinner, and once for a service, said Drew. “We’ll let that build up and see where it goes.”For both Drew and Harbour, attending synagogue was an important part of their life before they moved to the Roaring Fork Valley.Drew attended adult religious classes at her synagogue in Santa Fe, N.M., before moving here a few years ago.And Harbour spent much of her time at her Connecticut synagogue as a teenager, preparing for her bat mitzvah.But more than wanting a place for herself to worship, Harbour wants a place for her daughters, Emma and Zoe.”I have the inspiration to put into this,” she said, looking at Emma.”We’ve got little kids. If we can get something going now, then in a couple of years it’ll be really strong and they’ll be able to benefit,” she said. Though an actual synagogue – which would require about 200 families to participate – is probably a long way off, the organizers are taking it one step at a time. “Let’s get people together first, and see what we have, and see what we can do,” said Harbour. Information: 984-2655, or valleyjews@yahoo.com.


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