Radio Chavura
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

10th Anniversary Denver JCC Celebrate Family Festival and Walk for Israel

Watch the amazing video and see all 210 photos in only 3 minutes and 30 seconds

On this week's edition of Radio Chavura, hosts Maxwell and Dean Rotbart reflect on last Sunday's vibrant 10th Annual Celebrate Family festival, presented by the Robert E. Loop Jewish Community Center, and the Walk for Israel, organized by the Allied Jewish Federation of Colorado.

Festival guests and organizers who are interviewed include:

  • James "Jim" Barnard, Commander, Jewish War Veterans Post #344, the Captain Ellis David Greene chapter  
  • Danielle Menditch, JConnect Coordinator, Hebrew Educational Alliance
  • Becky Epstein, Executive Director, and Jay Mayer, Chairman of the Religious School Committee, B'nai Havurah
  • Caren Blanke, Assistant Executive Director, and Melanie Gruenwald, Director of Family Programs, Jewish Community Center.

Radio Chavura was proud to be an official sponsor of this year's festival and walk. Special thanks to Dani Wynn of the JCC and Dana Eckoff of Professional Planning Group for their assistance.


Note:  You can view each of the 210 photos in our Radio Chavura video individually by clicking here.  High-resolution digital jpeg files of each photo are available from Radio Chavura for only $18 each.  They make great gifts and keepsakes.  To order, phone 1-855-JEWISH-4 or email us at 

Direct download: 052613_RadioChavura_KRKS_26min_JCCFestival.mp3
Category:Jewish Events -- posted at: 11:50am MDT

Denver Jewish Students in an Amazing Race

Four of Denver's community-minded Jewish young people are guests on the first segment of this week's broadcast of Radio Chavura.  The students, each of whom attends the Denver Academy of Torah, will be participating in The 2013 Color Run to benefit Denver Yachad on Sunday, June 16th.

The students, pictured below are siblings: Estee and Aaron Brooks and Heidi and Pearl Clayman.  To view a complete list of scheduled runners, click here.

Radio Chavura staff photographer, Avital Rotbart, will also be running in support of Denver Yachad (the National Jewish Council for Disabilities), an agency of the Orthodox Union. NJCD is dedicated to addressing the needs of all individuals with disabilities and including them in the Jewish community. 

To show your support for these students, click on their names below.  Even a contribution of a few dollars will be greatly appreciated.  

DONATE: Aaron Brooks, Estee Brooks, Heidi Clayman, Pearl Clayman and Avital Rotbart.


During our second broadcast segment this week, we are joined by Cheryl Fellows, head of the volunteer committee organizing this year's Boulder Jewish Festival, which will be held on the Pearl Street Mall in Boulder on Sunday, June 9th.  Cheryl talks about the great entertainment and food that will be featured at this year's Festival.

Direct download: 051913_RadioChavura_KRKS_26min_Yachad_BoulderJF_2.mp3
Category:Jewish Students -- posted at: 5:50pm MDT

This is a bonus audio featuring an extended Radio Chavura interview with Bill Korn.  You can hear the broadcast portion of the interview (May 12, 2013) here.

Direct download: RadioChavura_LeadvilleBonusAudio.mp3
Category:Denver Jewish History -- posted at: 9:10am MDT

The Pioneering Jewish Community of Leadville: An Interview with Bill Korn

The merchant store that became a national conglomerate. The immigrant family that emerged as among the wealthiest in America. The synagogue president who was also county commissioner (and - bizarrely - for a short time, the owner of a brothel).

For a period of thirty years at the onset of the 20th century, Leadville was the economic driver of the state of Colorado and home to a thriving Jewish community.

This week on Radio ChavuraBill Korn, an expert on early Leadville Jewry who helped spearhead efforts to rededicate the town's forgotten synagogue and cemetery, shares with us some of the more exciting anecdotes about the town's early Jewish residents and merchants.

Originally founded as a gold mining town, Leadville soon became known for its production of silver, zinc, and molybdenum.

Jews - including David May (founder of the nationally prominent May Company Department Stores); the Guggenheim Family, owners of the American Smelting and Refining Company (ASARCO); and  County CommissionerJoseph Monheimer - all became leaders among both the Jews and non-Jews in Leadville.

The demise of the community began with collapse of the silver industry following the Panic of 1893 and began a steady exodus out of Lake County. Few Jews live in or near Leadville today.

But Bill Korn and others maintain the old synagogue, Temple Israel, as an event center and museum.  And, with the help of B'nai Brith, the old Jewish cemetery remains open to visitors and the family of those buried there.

The annual community cleanup of the Leadville Jewish cemetery  - a Mitzvah, and a wonderful summer event for the entire Colorado Jewish community - will be taking place during the last weekend of June this year (additional details soon). 

To learn more about Jewish Leadville, be sure to attend Bill Korn's discourse at the JCC South  (9625 E. Arapahoe Rd. • Greenwood Village, CO • 80112) on Thursday, May 30th at 7:30 pm

[Do you have Jewish family roots in Leadville? Radio Chavura host, Maxwell Rotbart (in photo above with Bill Korn), is writing a history of Jewish Leadville and would like to hear from anyone with information, photos or memorabilia pertaining to Leadville during the period ranging from the late 1800s to World War II.  Contact him at or phone 1-855-JEWISH-4.]

Photo: An artifact from early Jewish Leadville, where whiskey jugs such as this were quite common.  
Schloss Bros was one of many early Jewish businesses in the mining community.

Direct download: 051213_RadioChavura_KRKS_26min_Leadville.mp3
Category:Denver Jewish History -- posted at: 11:36am MDT

Jewish & Widowed: A New Community Group

A new community-wide initiative, Jewish & Widowed, is the focus of our program this week on Radio Chavura.

The group, offering a safe, non-threatening way to begin new friendships, will hold its first event this coming Wednesday, May 8th.  The program is open to Jewish men and women of all ages who have lost a spouse or significant other.

Joining us in the 990 KRKS AM studios to discuss the creation of Jewish & Widowed, as well as its goals, are Connie Suson and Lisa Thorner.

Connie, programming director at Congregation Rodef Shalom, came up with the concept for a community-supported program to connect Jewish men and women who've lost a spouse or partner.  Connie's own father is a widower.

Among those who quickly embraced the concept and shared in its development is Lisa Thorner, programming director at Temple Sinai, who also has a widowed parent.

Connie and Lisa stress that Jewish & Widowed is not a dating service, nor is it a forum for a "group cry."  Rather, it's aimed at fostering friendships and fun among individuals who, in time, will direct their own social functions.

Our interview with Connie and Lisa will be especially interesting to potential group members; their friends and family; and to other community leaders who will enjoy hearing how Connie, Lisa and others have found common purpose, even though they represent different Jewish congregations, religious affiliations and organizations.

Radio Chavura is proud to join these other organizations as co-sponsors of Jewish & Widowed:  Allied Jewish ApartmentsBMH-BJ: The Denver SynagogueB'nai HavurahCongregation Rodef Shalom; Feldman MortuaryHebrew Educational AllianceJFS at the JCCKeshetShalom CaresTemple Emanuel; and Temple Sinai

For more information, contact Connie at 303-399-0035. 

Everyone is welcome to kibbutz, kvel and laugh - just not to kvetch (this is an upbeat group)!

Photo:  Lisa Thorner, Temple Sinai


Direct download: 050513_RadioChavura_KRKS_26min_Widowed.mp3
Category:Community Groups -- posted at: 10:47am MDT

The Day the Music Died: Barry Fey (1939-2013)

By Maxwell Rotbart

"And Who The $&%^ Are You?"    

Those are the words of greeting that legendary rock 'n' roll concert promoter Barry Fey said to me when we first met in November 2011. Mr. Fey had come to the 710 KNUS AM studios - where we tape our weekly business news magazine, Business Unconventional - to talk about rock concerts as an industry and his newly published autobiography, Backstage Past.

In addition to my weekly role as co-host of Radio Chavura (airing on KNUS's sister station, 990 KRKS AM), I help produce Business Unconventional, which my father, Dean, co-hosts.

When Mr. Fey arrived at our station, I escorted him inside the recording studio, monitored the timing of the interview that my father taped with him, and was constantly running in and out of the production room.

When the program ended, members of the station staff came and introduced themselves to the legend who brought Led Zeppelin, U2, Bruce Springsteen, The Rolling Stones, Black Sabbath, The Who and Jimi Hendrix, among others, to Denver. 

I stood in the back of the radio studio, observing the photo-ops. Then, all of a sudden, Mr. Fey turned straight to me and barked: "And Who The $&%^ Are You?"  It was pure Barry Fey.

My father once described Mr. Fey as an "M&M" - hard shell on the outside, but sweet within. The comparison was spot on. Months later, when Mr. Fey joined a group of students from the Denver Academy of Torah High School during our first ever recording session of Radio Chavura, he was endearing. 

Mr. Fey, who attended Hebrew school and was Bar Mitzvahed, spoke frankly with the students about his religious beliefs and Jewish upbringing. He also offered many of the students encouragement, in addition to answering their questions about his fabled career as the head of Feyline, his company for 30 years.

When he left the studio that second time - April 27, 2012, a year and a day before his passing - I held the door open for him. Mr. Fey bade me a warm farewell and strode down the hall, beaming. He had just created a new generation of fans.

Goodbye, Barry Fey.  

[Hear him discuss his Jewish upbringing - 60 secs]

[Hear his entire 14 minute radio segment, taped in April 2012, featuring students from the Denver Academy of Torah High School.]

Photo:  Barry Fey and Maxwell Rotbart

Category:Tributes -- posted at: 10:33am MDT