Radio Chavura
Boaz Meir: JNF's Mission Circa 2013 Includes Desalination and Desert Reclamation
Come October 25, 2013, the eyes of the Jewish world will be focused on Denver, as the Mile High City hosts the annual Jewish National Fund national conference. 

JNF, which is also known by the initials KKL (for its Hebrew name - Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael), is one of the largest and most prominent Israeli environmental groups, tracing its origins back to the days of Theodor Herzl and the Zionist Congresses (during which time it was tasked with buying land in Israel).

Today, JNF is mostly often associated with reforestation efforts in Israel (planting 250 million trees in the last 100 years).  But JNF is also deeply involved with other missions crucial to Israel and its people.

Boaz Meir, the recently-appointed director of JNF's Mountain States region (encompassing Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho), joins us in the studio to discuss what JNF looks like today; the work of its Mountain States regional office; and what we can expect at the national conference this October.

One of the most exciting endeavors that Boaz discusses with us is the work that the Mountain States office is doing to lend its support to JNF's campaign to populate the desert regions of Israel.  

This week's show is the final episode of our first season. We began broadcasting Radio Chavura on Sunday, July 1, 2012.  Our program airs weekly on 990 KRKS AM

For more information on JNF, contact Boaz and the Mountain States offices of JNF at  303-573-7095.

Radio Chavura is co-hosted Maxwell Rotbart and his father, Dean – both homegrown members of the Denver Jewish community.  The program is broadcast each Sunday at 6:30 pm on 990 KRKS AM in Denver.

Do you want to suggest a potential guest for the show or learn how to become a sponsor? Call Dean & Maxwell at 1-855-JEWISH-4 or email them at For more information, visit our website:

First Broadast:  June 30, 2013
Photo: Boaz Meir, JNF 

Direct download: 063013_RadioChavura_KRKS_26min_BoazMeir_JNF.mp3
Category:Community Groups -- posted at: 7:36pm MDT

Intermountain Jewish News (IJN) in Denver Celebrates its 100th Anniversary

Radio Chavura host Dean Rotbart, who also hosts a the weekly Business Unconventional radio newsmagazine, interviewed Rabbi Hillel Goldberg about this week's commemorative issue of the Intermountain Jewish News (IJN), which is celebrating its 100th anniversary.

Dean's interview with Rabbi Goldberg, who is the IJN's executive editor, was taped in August 2012 in anticipation of the paper's centennial-year festivities.  Dean is joined by David Biondo, who serves as Dean's co-host on Business Unconventional.  B. Unconventional is broadcast each Sunday on 710 KNUS AM in Denver from 8 am to 9 am.

In this edited portion of the August 26, 2012 business program, Rabbi Goldberg discusses what it takes to keep the IJN vibrant and relevant, as well as his pride over the high-quality of readers and advertisers that the paper attracts.

Rabbi Goldberg's father, Max, of blessed memory (z'l), purchased the IJN in 1943 for $1.  At the time, the community-owned publication was a financial mess.  Max Goldberg and Robert Gamzey, who was brought in as a partner, revitalized the paper both financially and editorially.  The IJN has won dozens - perhaps hundreds - of editorial honors over the decades.

Upon his father's passing, Rabbi Goldberg's mother, Miriam assumed the leadership of the paper and oversaw its continued growth until passing along the duties to Rabbi Goldberg. Virtually all of the Rabbi's children are active (or have been active) in contributing to the IJN.

Rabbi Goldberg notes that several of the IJN's employees have remained with the paper for more than 35 years, including assistant editor Chris Leppek

Original Broadcast:  August 2012
Length: 14:52 

Direct download: 082612_HillelGoldberg_BUnRadio_Interview.mp3
Category:Denver Jewish History -- posted at: 6:59pm MDT

Boulder's Own Adventure Rabbi and Hazon Founder Nigel Savage

On June 9th, the Radio Chavura team drove to Boulder to participate in the Boulder Jewish Festival

This year's event, the 19th annual festival, was organized by Cheryl Fellows, who also publishes the Boulder Jewish News with her husband, David.

We saw many friends from both Denver and Boulder, and had the opportunity to meet new people and learn about some wonderful regional organizations, including LoKo Denver: Local Kosher Food, the Longmont Shabbat Group, Westminster's Congregation B'nai Torah, the Boulder Mikvah, and Boulder's Congregation Bonai Shalom.

Three of the groups we encountered - Adventure Rabbi, Hazon, and Camp, Inc. - are featured on this week's edition of Radio Chavura.


The Adventure Rabbi Program was started by Rabbi Jamie Korngold in 2001.  A strong believer in the power of nature to inspire modern Jews and bring them closer to G-d, Rabbi Jamie and her congregation regularly take trips to some of the most beautiful places in the United States and Israel. 

The author of seven books - including five aimed at children and families - Rabbi Jamie is a dynamic leader and exemplifies the fresh spirit that abounds in Boulder.

We are joined by Rabbi Jamie to talk about the exciting programs that Adventure Rabbi offers.


Hazon  - now the largest Jewish environmental group in the country - was started by New York resident (and British expat) Nigel Savage in 2000.

Believing that Jews have a responsibility to "create healthier and more sustainable communities in the Jewish world and beyond," Hazon has helped make Jewish Colorado a more environmentally-aware place to live.

Denver Jews may be most familiar with Hazon's involvement at the Ekar Farm, which sits adjacent to the Denver Academy of Torah campus.

We are joined by Nigel and by Hazon's Boulder director, Becky O'Brien, to talk about Hazon's mission and its future.


Camp, Inc., a new Jewish camp for young entrepreneurs, may not be opening its doors for another year, but it's already creating buzz among circles of innovative young people here in Colorado.

Managed by the Boulder JCC and its chief camp officer Josh Pierce, Camp, Inc., promises to inspire the Jewish youth of today to develop the ideas that will "make a positive difference in the world" of tomorrow.

We are joined by Josh to talk about Camp Inc.'s Summer 2014 launch.

Original Air Date: June 16, 2013
Photo:  David and Cheryl Fellows, Boulder Jewish Festival (Credit: Avital Rotbart) 

Direct download: 061613_RadioChavura_KRKS_26min-_BoulderJFest2013_-_E.mp3
Category:Jewish Events -- posted at: 4:57pm MDT

Rivka Cohen's Inspiring Musical, Broadway unBound
Two segments on this week's edition of Radio Chavura, which is broadcast every Sunday at 6:30 pm (Mountain) on 990 KRKS AM.
When Rivka Cohen was a young girl, she fell in love with musical theater. Determined that her life's direction would take her to Broadway and beyond, she pursued her passion with vigor. 
As she became a more observant Jew in her adult years, Rivka faced a dilemma. Orthodox Jewish women don't sing in front of male audiences - doing so is considered a form of immodesty. If Rivka were to adopt a fully observant lifestyle, she would have to give up on her dream of performing in Broadway musicals.

Rivka had spent her whole life believing that she was 'bound for Broadway,' and now found herself rethinking her performance career - which she loved.
In her humorous, touching and inspiring one-woman musical, Broadway unBound, Rivka narrates her struggle and explains her ultimate decision: to put a halt to her secular musical career and devote her life to Torah and other Jewish pursuits (including raising a lovely family with her husband Meir).
Broadway unBound will debut at Aish Denver on Sunday, June 23rd, at 7 pm. This program - exclusively for women and girls above age 10 - will be followed by a reception. The tickets are $25. Register by calling 303-220-7200. 
Zach Stern, a sixth grade student at Denver Jewish Day School, wanted to raise funds and awareness for Shalom Cares (which many people know best for its Shalom Park Nursing Home) for his Bar Mitzvah project.
His intentions were kind-hearted - Shalom Cares is a compassionate care facility that serves our community. Zach witnessed a similar center help his grandfather during a time of need, and felt that helping Shalom Cares would be a way for him to say 'thank you' to all the dedicated people who manage organizations such as Shalom Cares.
Zach decided that to make his project really count he would have to turn his efforts into an investment of sorts, and then watch his contribution grow exponentially.
Using his love for sports in general - and golf in particular - as his motivation, Zach decided to host a community-wide charity golf tournament. Now, rather than raising awareness and funds from just a close-knit group of friends, Zach will be generating donations from many community members (including listeners of Radio Chavura)!
Although Zach's Bar Mitzvah, at the Hebrew Educational Alliance, won't take place until November, the golf tournament will be held on Sunday, June 23rd (while the weather is still nice) at the Family Sports Center, located at 6901 S. Peoria Street, Centennial, 80112. Registration is $36.  Check in begins at 11:30 am. For questions, please contact Zach or his father, Jon Stern, at 720-203-2642. 
Original Air Date:  June 9, 2013
Photos: Zach Stern and Rivka Cohen
Direct download: 060913_RadioChavura_KRKS_26min_ZachSternRivkaCohen.mp3
Category:Jewish Events -- posted at: 6:10pm MDT

Evergreen's Rabbi Levi Brackman  Helps Teens Identify Their Passions

Decades ago, cartoonist Gary Larson, creator of the popular "Far Side" comic strip, drew an image of two middle-class parents, watching their son play video games, and wishfully thinking that maybe - one day - he would find a high-paying job as a Nintendo or Mario Brothers player (because he clearly was incapable of doing anything else). 

Most parents of teenage children can relate to the disconcerting fear that their children will never find a passion that will translate into a fulfilling career.

Rabbi Levi Brackman, founder of the Denver-based Youth Directions, is determined to make sure that all teens find a meaningful path in life that fits their interests and talents.

Rabbi Brackman, who is the guest on this week's edition of Radio Chavura, started Youth Directions only four years ago, but has already transformed the lives of many young adults in Colorado - both Jewish and gentile - by giving them the "space" to discover their lives' purpose.

With a specific action plan, designed based upon his years of experience as an entrepreneur and community leader (both in the United Kingdom and the United States), Rabbi Brackman works with public and private school teachers to bring Youth Directions into their classrooms, helping students to learn about themselves in the safety of their own school.

Rabbi Brackman also serves as director and rabbi at Judaism in the Foothills, a dynamic, non-judgmental congregation at the base of the Rocky Mountains that Rabbi Brackman founded with his wife Sheindy in 2005.

To learn how to get your child involved with Youth Directions, or how to bring its curriculum of self-empowerment to your school, contact Rabbi Brackman at 303-462-5777.

To find out more about the amazing Judaism in the Foothills community, call Rabbi Brackman at 303-679-0613.

Direct download: 060213_RadioChavura_KRKS_26min_Brackman.mp3
Category:Judaism in the Foothills -- posted at: 4:37pm MDT