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Center for Judaic Studies

Rocky Mountain Jewish Historical Society

The Rocky Mountain Jewish Historical Society (RMJHS) is one of the premier local Jewish historical societies in the United States. It is the largest and most exhaustive historical society of its kind in the region.

With its Ira M. and Peryle Hayutin Beck Memorial Archives, the Historical Society preserves the fascinating history of Jews in the West and serves the needs of scholars and other individuals interested in historical research.

Call to make an appointment to visit RMJHS to gain access to:

  • our archives—an on-site and online repository of photos, oral histories and other documents
  • exhibits about the Jewish experience in the Rocky Mountain West
  • rich resources for researchers, such as genealogical documentation and curriculum guides
  • a peek into Jewish history via videos and publications

Learn more about the RMJHS and its founding.

2020 RMJHS Annual Meeting

2020 RMJHS Annual Meeting flyer

The Tenement Museum provides an immersive depiction of the diverse immigrant experiences in early 20th century New York. The Museum demonstrates the challenges and triumphs immigrant Jews, Italians, Chinese, and others faced in the "Golden Land" and charts their path to becoming American.

Ruth J. Abram is an organizer, artist, historian and a museum professional. She is most widely known as the founding President of the Lower East Side Tenement Museum (www.tenement.org), which she founded in 1988.

The program will be preceded by a brief business meeting  and election of the RMJHS board.

This event will be presented via Zoom livestream. Attendance is free and open to the public.

PLEASE REGISTER HERE: bit.ly/RMJHS2020

CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR 2020 HERITAGE AWARD HONOREES

We are very pleased to announce the recipients of the 2020 Heritage Award! This year's award commemorates the centennial of the Women's Suffrage Amendment by celebrating the history of Colorado Jewish women in leadership. We proudly honor the achievements of three remarkable women: Elaine Appel, Helen Morris, MD, and Joanne Posner Mayer


Joanne Posner Mayer

Elaine Appel founded one of the most successful cleaning product businesses in the U.S, together with her husband Max. Introduced in 1986, Orange Glo furniture polish provided an alternative to harsh-smelling chemical cleaners using orange oil. Their products were widely sold in the U.S. and internationally. As the company grew to 180 employees, Elaine Appel did the bookkeeping and managed many aspects of the business, from packaging to personnel. The company was incorporated in 1992 and was valued at $300 million when it was sold in 2002. Today, she is a philanthropist and gives her support to many notable organizations in Colorado and beyond.


Joanne Posner Mayer

Dr. Helen Morris graduated from the University of Colorado Medical School in 1956, the only Jewish woman in her medical school class. An outstanding student growing up in Denver, she remains a life-long learner. Specializing in internal medicine, endocrinology, and immunology, Morris earned a national reputation as an acclaimed researcher, heading her own research lab at National Jewish in the 1970s and 1980s. Her expertise led to prestigious appointments on the board of the National Health Institute and on a Federal Drug Administration advisory committee. Today she supports many public institutions including the CU School of Medicine and DU's RMJHS and Center for Judaic Studies.


Joanne Posner Mayer

Joanne Posner Mayer is a Denver native who has made a positive impact on the nonprofit community. She earned a degree in physical therapy from the University of Colorado, inspired by her childhood love of dance. Her career took her to Switzerland, where she was introduced to the use of large inflatable balls in physical therapy. Her idea to import the balls and educate therapists in the U.S. evolved and in 1991 she founded Ball Dynamics International and introduced the fitness community to Fitball®. Today, she is able to give back to the community. Her interests and causes include The Posner Center for International Development, a nonprofit and workspace in Curtis Park, as well as many other notable Colorado institutions.


Under normal circumstances, the Heritage Awards are presented at our annual fundraising dinner. In light of the current crisis, we are not able to hold the dinner this year, however, the funds raised at the dinner are essential for RMJHS to fulfill its mission of preserving and publicizing the vibrant history of the Colorado Jewish community.

Please CLICK HERE to support RMJHS today!

Your contribution is greatly appreciated.


We are deeply saddened by the loss of RMJHS board member Ted Ruskin to complications with COVID-19. 

Ted was devoted to preserving the history of the Jewish experience in Colorado. A member of the RMJHS board for decades and the longtime Vice President for membership, he was active in countless Jewish organizations around Denver and personally spearheaded the clean up and renovation of the historic section of Golden Hill cemetery.

Ted was one of the sweetest, most generous, open-hearted friends I have ever had.
His devotion and active participation in the life of the 
Denver Jewish Community should be legend to all of you.
 
Not only was he a long time and loyal member of the board of RMJHS,  but he remained the treasurer of the Babi Yar Park Foundation until we had essentially completed our mission.
 
Ted gave his all, and to lose him as a victim of this ghastly plague
should sadden us all deeply.
 
To those who valued his service and friendship:
May God comfort all of you among the other mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.
 
- Alan G. Gass, RMJHS Board Member

RMJHS is pleased to announce its participation in Live On | LIFE & LEGACY™

The Rocky Mountain Jewish Historical Society is excited to have been selected to participate with 27 other local Jewish organizations in Live On | LIFE & LEGACY™, a program that supports Jewish organizations in securing legacy gifts.

Live On: Build Your Jewish Legacy, an initiative of Rose Community Foundation, and LIFE & LEGACY™, a partnership program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, have joined together to strengthen the Greater Denver/Boulder Jewish communities by encouraging endowment building and legacy giving. Live On | LIFE & LEGACY™ provides training, support, and incentive grants to the participating organizations to encourage legacy gift solicitations and donor commitments that will benefit Jewish organizations for future generations.

For more information on the Live On | LIFE & LEGACY™ project, click here.

Live On

 


RMJHS is pleased to announce a new fellowship research grant!

THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN JEWISH HISTORICAL SOCIETY AND BECK ARCHIVES INAUGURAL FELLOWSHIP RESEARCH PROGRAM

Click here for more information, including application procedures.

RECENT EVENTS

A Legacy of Healing: Jewish Leadership in Colorado's Health Care

Guest curated by RMJHS's Dr. Jeanne Abrams from the University of Denver Libraries' Beck Archives, this exciting exhibit at History Colorado  tells the story of the Jewish community's role in revolutionizing our state's health care in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.

A Legacy of Healing is on view from November 17, 2019 through April 19, 2020.

Dr. Jeanne Abrams was interviewed by Colorado's 9News for a feature on the exhibit! The segment aired on Feb. 3, 2020. WATCH THE CLIP HERE!

Take a look at some of the great press coverage for A Legacy of Healing:

Hyperallergic (Jan. 7, 2020)

Durango Herald (Dec. 27, 2019)

5280 (Nov. 13, 2019)


21st ANNUAL JOHN C. LIVINGSTON LECTURE

A Rosenberg by Any Other Name: The History of Jewish Name Changing in America

with Dr. Kerstin Fermaglich

Photo of Dr. Kerstin Fermaglich
Kirsten Fermaglich teaches history and Jewish Studies at Michigan State University. Her new book, A Rosenberg by Any Other Name (NYU Press, 2018), explores the previously unknown history of Jewish name change petitions in 20th Century New York City. Thousands of ordinary Jewish men, women, and children changed their names legally and voluntarily in order to respond to an upsurge of antisemitism, while remaining active members of the Jewish community. Dr. Fermaglich won the 2019 Saul Viener Book Prize for A Rosenberg by Any Other Name.

Sunday, January 26, 2020, 12:00-1:30 p.m.

East Side Kosher Deli, 499 S. Elm St., Denver CO