Temple Aaron celebrated its 130-year anniversary over the weekend. The powerful, weekend-long event was highlighted by an unveiling ceremony of a new historic marker where many local leaders, advocates for the temple and the decedents of temple founders gathered in fellowship.

The new marker was established by Colorado Preservation, Inc., the City of Trinidad, Temple Aaron Community and the Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation. The Chronicle-News will publish more from this historic event, later this week.

The new marker reads:

Temple Aaron, 1889

Jews have been part of Trinidad’s economic, social and political life since first arriving as traders along the Santa Fe Trail. Maurice and Isaac Wise opened a store on Main Street in 1867. The Jaffa Brothers Trading Company was established in 1872. Sam Jaffa was elected Trinidad’s first mayor in 1876.

The Jaffa brothers, Sam, Henry and Sol, built Trinidad’s Jaffa Opera House in 1882. In 1883, Trinidad’s Jewish community formally organized southern Colorado’s first Jewish congregation, which also drew members from northern New Mexico. Fundraising began with ecumenical support from the non-Jewish community.

Temple Aaron, designed by famed Colorado architect Isaac Hamilton Rapp in the popular hybrid Exotic Revival-Moorish style, was dedicated in 1889. The congregation’s spiritual leader was Rabbi Leopold Freudenthal. It was affiliated with the Reform movement and sponsored an early B’nai B’rith chapter.

For 130 years and counting, Temple Aaron has visibly affirmed the American principles of Freedom of Assembly and Freedom of Religion.

This marker dedicated June 2019

Colorado Preservation, Inc.

City of Trinidad

Temple Aaron Community

Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation


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