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Temple Aaron to celebrate 130 years with gala weekend

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Trinidad’s Temple Aaron is celebrating 130 years of being one of the oldest Jewish temples west of the Mississippi this weekend, June 21-23, with a slate of events highlighted by the reveal of a new historic marker at 11 a.m. Saturday.

The anniversary celebration is also a celebration of a renewed focus for the temple, which has recently found new backing from a collection of preservationist and Temple Aaron descendants with the desire to preserve one of Trinidad’s most historic structures.  

Sherry Glickman Knecht, a recent addition to the board of directors now overseeing the temple, said, “I think it’s appropriate to say the Jewish population in Trinidad has been in decline for some time now and it came to a point where it wasn’t enough to support the temple and the building went up for sale in 2016. People heard about that and didn’t want to lose it, so this group came together and raised money to be sure this temple would continue to have a future.”

Tickets to attend the bulk of the weekend’s events run from $54 to $130. On Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. there will be a historic marker unveiling with live music and light refreshments that is free and open to the public. To register, you can go online to templeaaron.org.

Over the past year the temple has been actively seeking out descendants of founding families and organizers hope many will attend this weekend’s events.

“It created quite the interesting process,” said Knecht. “During this process we have started meeting people who are descendants of the original founders and many people had no idea that they had these distant cousins. And so, we’ve had times at these meetings where you just go ‘Ruth meet Sally — your cousin,’ and that’s been a lot of fun. So we are going to have a bunch of founder’s descendants there with us that weekend.”

The weekend will feature Shabbat Service with Kiddush and live music on Friday. Then on Saturday, a Shabbat service will be officiated by Beth Cohen of Congregation Nahalat Shalom in Albuquerque, followed by the marker unveiling, music, then storytelling from renowned Jewish storyteller Cherie Karo Schwartz, followed by a screening of the film “Raise the Roof” from the New Mexico Jewish Historical Society and finally a Havdalah service and buffet dinner from Alys’ Restaurant. Sunday will find attendees presented with a farewell bagel brunch.

“We don’t know exactly what the future holds for Temple Aaron,” said Knecht. “But we are preserving it, that much we can be sure of. I’m sure we will be raising money in the future, but we’re not there yet. For this weekend we are just celebrating how far we have come.”

Temple Aaron is located at 407 S. Maple Street in Trinidad. For more information call 303-905-2161, or email info@templeaaron.org.

Temple Aaron is looking for descendants

Are you related to any of the original founders of Temple Aaron in Trinidad, Colorado, founded in 1889?

Do you know anyone who is related to the founding families?

If so, please contact us.

During the last few years of holding activities at Temple Aaron, some descendants of the Jaffas and other founders have had the happy surprise of discovering long-lost cousins they never knew existed. We want to gather together and celebrate as many founders’ descendants as possible.

If you are a Temple Aaron descendant, or can put us in touch with others who are, please email: info@templeaaron.org, or call 303-905-2161.

Current Temple Aaron board members

Randy Rubin (President)

Neal Paul

Kim Grant

Ron Rubin

David London

Sherry Knecht

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