On this week's edition of Radio Chavura, we speak with Niso Aharonian, co-founder of Beit Uriel, a new synagogue in Denver that follows the Sephardic tradition of prayer.
Niso, who started Beit Uriel with his brother, Avraham, is joined on the first half of the program by Eliana Azoulay and Josh Khalepari, two of the regular congregants at the synagogue.
Niso, Eliana, and Josh share with listeners the warmth that they feel at Beit Uriel, located at 295 S. Locust Street, Denver, 80224, and discuss the beautiful sense of community that has developed among members of this young Sephardic congregation.
While most Colorado synagogues follow the Ashkenaz tradition of prayer, based on the customs of European Jewry, Sephardic prayers follow the style of the Jews of the Islamic world. The moving services at Beit Uriel are infused with melodies rarely heard elsewhere in Jewish Colorado.
On the second half of the program, Niso speaks about the namesake of Beit Uriel, Rabbi Uriel Malka, z'l. Rabbi Malka was a beloved Judaics teacher at the Denver Academy of Torah, who - tragically - was killed in the Mount Carmel Forest Fire in Israel in November 2010 at age 32.
Two of Rabbi Malka's former students, Yehuda Alter and Liat Fischer, join Niso to reflect on Rabbi Malka's legacy in Colorado. Yehuda and Liat both fondly remembered how Rabbi Malka used to engage them in class by re-enacting battles from Jewish history.