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The Jewish Community of Denver

Denver

Capital of the State of Colorado, USA. Also known as "Queen City."

The Denver-Boulder Jewish community has established a number of social service and charitable organizations. One of the largest is the Jewish Community Relations Council, a coalition of more than 40 Jewish organizations in the Denver and Boulder metropolitan area. Other notable organizations include the Jewish Family Service, Jewish Colorado, and local branches of several national organizations such as Hadassah, B'nai B'rith, the Anti-Defamation League, and the National Council of Jewish Women. In the field of health care is Shalom Park, a Jewish nursing home and assisted living center. National Jewish Health is a worldwide provider of treatment for respiratory, cardiac, and related disorders.

The Denver metropolitan area hosts about 25 Jewish congregations. In addition to the larger communities of Denver and Boulder, smaller, but active, congregations can be found in other places in Colorado, including Colorado Springs, Fort Collins, Greeley, Grand Junction, and Pueblo.

The city's most notable synagogues are DAT Minyan (Modern Orthodox), and BMH-BJ, the largest Modern Orthodox synagogue in Denver and the second-oldest congregation in Denver (just a few years younger than the city itself!). Other sizeable congregations include EDOS (East Denver Orthodox Synagogue), Bais Menachem (Chabad Lubavitch), Aish Denver (Orthodox), and Congregation Zera Abraham, the first traditional synagogue to be established on the west side of Denver. Chabad is active in nearly every community in Colorado.

Denver is home to a variety of Jewish educational institutions. These include schools from kindergarten to high school, as well as university courses and Jewish educational centers. There are three primary Jewish elementary schools, including the Denver Academy of Torah (Modern Orthodox), Hillel Academy, and the Denver Jewish Day School, which is Denver's only K-12 Jewish day school. This school had formerly been known as the Rocky Mountain Hebrew Academy and Herzl/RMHA. The Theodor Herzl Day School was originally established in 1975 while RMHA was a co-ed Jewish high school established a few years later, in 1979. In 2002, the two merged to form the Denver Campus for Jewish Education, a 24-acre campus which offers educational programming for students in grades K-12.

Denver's Jewish high schools include the Denver Academy of Torah High School, Beth Jacob, a young Jewish women's school, and the yeshiva Toras Chaim. Various adult education programs are offered by the Merkaz Torah V'Chesed, the Denver Academy of Torah (DAT University), the Denver Community Kollel, and the Jewish Experience. The Central Agency for Jewish Education is an agency which serves a number of Jewish educational programs.

At the university level, the Center of Judaic Studies at University of Denver offers a wide array of courses in Jewish studies. The university is also home to the Rocky Mountain Jewish Historical Society, the Beck Archives, and the Holocaust Awareness Institute. The Hillel Council of Colorado sponsors Hillel branches at the University of Colorado at Boulder, CU-Denver, Colorado State University in Fort Collins, and the University of Denver.

The historic Jewish presence in Denver is evident in the city's many landmarks. Among the most significant are a number of prominent synagogues such as the Isaac Solomon Synagogue and Temple Emanuel (the Old Pearl Street Temple). Other significant landmarks include the Emmanuel Gallery at Shearith Israel, and the Golda Meir House Museum. Community centers include the Robert E. Loup Jewish Community Center, the Boulder Jewish Community Center, the Mizel Museum, the Mizel Arts and Culture Center, the Rocky Mountain Jewish Historical Society, the Beck Archives, and the Holocaust Awareness institute".

The areas with the largest Jewish populations are Denver's Hilltop and West Colfax neighborhoods; West Colfax is home to the oldest Jewish community in Denver. Simply referred to by locals as the "West Side Jewish Community", it is a Haredi community whose residents, known as Litvaks, follow the Ashkenazi Jewish traditions of Lithuania. Jewish life in West Colfax is centered on the community's most important institutions, including the Denver Community Kollel, Yeshiva Toras Chaim, and Congregation Zera Avraham. From the 1920s until the 1950s, West Colfax was a predominantly Jewish neighborhood and is where Golda Meir lived as a teenager. Her family home was later restored and moved from its original location on Julian Street to the Auraria Campus near Downtown Denver (the abovementioned "Golda Meir House Museum").

Serving the Denver-Boulder communities, as well as the greater Rocky Mountain Jewish community (Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Montana, and Wyoming), is the "Intermountain Jewish News," a weekly Jewish newspaper. Founded in 1913, it is the largest Jewish publication in the state of Colorado. The newspaper covers events throughout the state of Colorado, as well as in the United States and Israel. It also publishes special edition papers and magazines, including "L'Chaim" and "Generations".

HISTORY

Jews began settling in Denver, and elsewhere in Colorado, following the discovery of gold in 1858. While some Jews were afflicted with "gold fever," most saw economic opportunities in providing services to those arriving at the new mining towns. By 1859 a dozen Jewish immigrants from Germany and Central Europe had moved to Denver, and worked mostly as merchants; among them were brothers Hyman and Fred Salomon, Leopold Mayer, and Abraham Jacobs, all of whom served on the city's first council in 1859. This group is also credited with holding the first religious services of any kind in Denver, which took place on September 1859.

Denver's first Jewish organization, the Hebrew Burial and Prayer Society, was established in 1860. It soon split into a B'nai B'rith Lodge in 1872, and into Colorado's first synagogue, Temple Emanuel (Reform, established in 1874). From these earliest efforts the Jewish community grew in numbers, prosperity, and influence. Many of these organizations, synagogues, and institutions were started from necessity because of Denver's isolation from the other American Jewish population centers.

Beginning in the 1880s, almost 3 million (mostly traditionally religious) Jews emigrated from Eastern Europe to the United States. While Denver's early Jewish settlers identified primarily with Reform Judaism, this migration changed the demographics of Denver. Many Orthodox Jews settled in Denver (seeking a cure for tuberculosis, the "white plague"). Two Jewish institutions were founded to respond to their needs, as well as to serve those suffering from consumption, who arrived in Denver from around the country. The National Jewish Hospital for Consumptives was opened in 1899, and later became The National Jewish Medical and Research Center, with a worldwide reputation in the research and treatment of allergy and pulmonary diseases.

Dr. John Elsner arrived in the city in 1866, when there were more than 100 Jews in the city. As a mohel, he spent decades traveling throughout the west performing circumcisions. The first medical society in the Colorado territory was organized at his home, and celebrities such as Oscar Wilde visited him. When he died, Elsner donated his mineral collection to the state. Meanwhile, people kept arriving in Denver, seeking a cure for tuberculosis in the dry climate of the west. This became a problem, as indigent consumptives began roaming the Denver streets, prompting locals to protest that "the town is getting to be a sanitarium." Frances Wisebart Jacobs, the "mother of the charities" and the wife of pioneer Abraham Jacobs, helped the city manage the problem by founding the associated charities in 1887, which became a forerunner of the community chest.

In 1882 a farming colony of Eastern European Orthodox Jews was settled by the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society in Cotopaxi, Colorado. The experiment subsequently failed, and the immigrants had to move to the west side of Denver. There they founded an Orthodox community, which included synagogues, mikva'ot (ritual baths), Jewish educational institutions, and a Yiddish theater. Denver became a temporary haven for Yiddish poets who suffered from tuberculosis. Notable Yiddish intellectuals who came to Denver include Dr. Charles Spivak, longtime director of the "Jewish Consumptive Relief Society", a major figure in the Yiddish and Jewish cultural life, and a founder of the "Intermountain Jewish News" in 1913, and Rabbi Judah Leib Ginsburg, an immigrant from Latvia who wrote and published major Hebrew works on the Bible and Mishnah. Other cultural figures who came to Denver, though not necessarily for medical treatment, include Max Goldberg, a leading figure in media in mid-20th century Denver. He brought network television to Colorado, pioneered in talk television, wrote for the "Denver Post" and published the "Intermountain Jewish News."

The city's reputation as a religious Jewish community drew newcomers directly from Europe, especially between 1900 and 1907. Jewish immigration reached a peak before the outbreak of World War I, with many seeking care at the NJHC and the "tents" of the Jewish Consumptives Relief Society (JCRS). Despite a bitter rivalry that began when the latter was founded in 1903, they managed to work together to jointly found a home for the children of the sick in 1908. When tuberculosis rates decreased during the 1940s, these institutions began to treat other diseases.

By the 1970s, when the Jewish population had reached 40,000, many Jews began dispersing to Denver's suburbs. Nonetheless, they continued to make use of the many institutions they had established throughout the city. Among these were the Hebrew Educational Alliance (founded in 1920), Yeshiva Toras Chaim (1967), and Beth Jacob High School for Girls (1968), all of which were located on the west side of the city. Major institutions and organizations on the east side of the city included Beth Hamedrosh Hagadol Congregation (founded in 1897), Beth Joseph Congregation (founded in 1922 and merged with Beth Hamedrosh Hagadol in 1997), Hillel Academy (1957), and Temple Sinai (1967). The Allied Jewish Federation of Colorado was organized as the Allied Jewish Council in 1942, the Jewish Family Service dates back to 1887, and the Green Gables Country Club (1928) and the Jewish Community Center (1948) provided a social outlet for Denver's Jewish population.

In the latter quarter of the 20th century, Dr. Stanley M. Wagner founded the Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Denver in 1975, as well as its affiliates, The Rocky Mountain Jewish Historical Society, Beck Archives, the Holocaust Awareness Institute, and the "Mizel Museum" (originally called "The Mizel Museum of Judaica. The Denver Campus for Jewish Education, which was founded in 2002, merged with the Herzl Jewish Day School (which had been founded in 1975) and the Rocky Mountain Hebrew Academy (which had been founded in 1979).

Among the many people who figured prominently in Denver Jewish history are Golda Meir, who came to Denver in 1913 and met her future husband there, Sheldon K. Beren, an oilman, philanthropist, and national president of Torah Umesorah, and Ruth M. Handler, the creator of the Barbie Doll. Notable rabbis are Rabbi William S. Friedman, who served Congregation Emanuel (1889-1938), Rabbi Charles E. H. Kauvar, who led Beth Hamedrosh Hagadol (1902-1971), and Rabbi Manuel Laderman, who served at the Hebrew Educational Alliance (1931-1979).

Jews were also active in the political life of the city. Wolfe Londoner became Denver's only Jewish Mayor in 1889. Phillip Win became ambassador to Switzerland in 1986, and Larry Mizel and Norman Brownstein were major influences in the national Republican and Democratic parties, respectively. A portrait of the "mother of Jewish charity work," Francis Wisebart Jacobs, graces a stained glass window in the Colorado Hall of Fame, located in the rotunda of the Colorado State Capitol. In 1968 Jewish jurists included district judges Saul Pinchick and Sherman Finesilver, probate judge David Brofman, and county judges Sam Kirbens and Zita Weinschienk. Culturally, beginning in 1859 with the founding of a chess and literary society, the Jews have contributed to the art world, both Jewish and general. Especially noteworthy are Bloomgarden, David Edelstadt, and H. Leivick (Leivick Halper), all tubercular patients.


In spite of the great strides made by the Jews of Denver, it is nonetheless worth noting that the exclusive social clubs were closed to Jews, as were most executive positions in large firms.


The Jewish population of the city was estimated in 1968 at 23,500 to 30,000 (out of a total population of 502,200). During the 1970s, when many Jews began moving into the suburbs, Denver's Jewish population was about 40,000. By 2004, the combined Jewish communities of Denver and Boulder were estimated to be between 60,000 and 70,000. Results from a community study sponsored by the Allied Jewish Federation of Colorado, among other organizations, revealed that in 2007 an estimated 83,900 Jewish people were living in the seven-county Metro Denver-Boulder area. As of 2013, the Jewish population of Colorado was approximately 92,000 with more than 75% of Colorado's Jewish residents living in the capital city of Denver while comprising less than 2% of the total population.

Place Type:
City
ID Number:
149285
Written by researchers of ANU Museum of the Jewish People
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Related items:
Jazz bandleader. Born in Denver, Colorado (USA), he originally played the viola. In 1917 he left the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra and started studying jazz. In 1919 he formed his own band and began to appear in various hotels, nightclubs and theaters. By 1924 he had over fifty different bands, members of which were, among others, cornetist Bix Biederbecke, trombonist Tommy Dorsey and clarinetist Jimmy Dorsey. On February 12, 1924 he gave the first concert of jazz music presented as a serious art form. The concert was highlighted by the premiere of George Gershwin’s RHAPSODY IN BLUE which Whiteman commissioned. Gershwin played the solo part and Whitman conducted. Whiteman continued to organize jazz concerts until 1938. Among the premieres he conducted were Fred Grofe’s GRAND CANYON SUITE (1938) and Stravinsky’s RUSSIAN SCHERZO (1944).
Whiteman is author of the books Jazz (1926, with M.M. McBride), How to be Bandleader (1941, with L. Lieber) and Records for the Millions (1948). He died in Doylestone, Pennsylvania (USA).
Torah study in Denver, Colorado, USA, 1983
Photo: Paula Singer, USA
(The Oster Visual Documentation Center, Beit Hatfutsot,
courtesy of Paula Singer, USA)
HADASSAH LADIES LISEN TO THE DEBATE CONFERENCE IN DENVER COLORADO, 1961.

United States of America (USA)

A country in North America

Estimated Jewish population in 2018: 5,700,000 out of 325,000,000 (1.7%). United States is the home of the second largest Jewish population in the world. 

Community life is organized in more than 2,000 organizations and 700 federations. Each of the main religious denominators – Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, and Reconstructionist – has its own national association of synagogues and rabbis. 

American cities (greater area) with largest Jewish populations in 2018:

New York City, NY: 2,000,000
Los Angeles, CA: 662,000
Miami, FL: 555,000
Philadelphia, PA: 275,000
Chicago, IL: 294,000
Boston, MA: 250,000
San Francisco, CA: 304,000
Washington, DC & Baltimore, MY: 217,000

States with largest proportion of Jewish population in 2018 (Percentage of Total Population):

New York: 8.9
New Jersey: 5.8
Florida: 3.3
District of Columbia: 4.3
Massachusetts: 4.1
Maryland: 4
Connecticut: 3.3
California: 3.2
Pennsylvania: 2.3
Illinois: 2.3

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The Jewish Community of Denver

Denver

Capital of the State of Colorado, USA. Also known as "Queen City."

The Denver-Boulder Jewish community has established a number of social service and charitable organizations. One of the largest is the Jewish Community Relations Council, a coalition of more than 40 Jewish organizations in the Denver and Boulder metropolitan area. Other notable organizations include the Jewish Family Service, Jewish Colorado, and local branches of several national organizations such as Hadassah, B'nai B'rith, the Anti-Defamation League, and the National Council of Jewish Women. In the field of health care is Shalom Park, a Jewish nursing home and assisted living center. National Jewish Health is a worldwide provider of treatment for respiratory, cardiac, and related disorders.

The Denver metropolitan area hosts about 25 Jewish congregations. In addition to the larger communities of Denver and Boulder, smaller, but active, congregations can be found in other places in Colorado, including Colorado Springs, Fort Collins, Greeley, Grand Junction, and Pueblo.

The city's most notable synagogues are DAT Minyan (Modern Orthodox), and BMH-BJ, the largest Modern Orthodox synagogue in Denver and the second-oldest congregation in Denver (just a few years younger than the city itself!). Other sizeable congregations include EDOS (East Denver Orthodox Synagogue), Bais Menachem (Chabad Lubavitch), Aish Denver (Orthodox), and Congregation Zera Abraham, the first traditional synagogue to be established on the west side of Denver. Chabad is active in nearly every community in Colorado.

Denver is home to a variety of Jewish educational institutions. These include schools from kindergarten to high school, as well as university courses and Jewish educational centers. There are three primary Jewish elementary schools, including the Denver Academy of Torah (Modern Orthodox), Hillel Academy, and the Denver Jewish Day School, which is Denver's only K-12 Jewish day school. This school had formerly been known as the Rocky Mountain Hebrew Academy and Herzl/RMHA. The Theodor Herzl Day School was originally established in 1975 while RMHA was a co-ed Jewish high school established a few years later, in 1979. In 2002, the two merged to form the Denver Campus for Jewish Education, a 24-acre campus which offers educational programming for students in grades K-12.

Denver's Jewish high schools include the Denver Academy of Torah High School, Beth Jacob, a young Jewish women's school, and the yeshiva Toras Chaim. Various adult education programs are offered by the Merkaz Torah V'Chesed, the Denver Academy of Torah (DAT University), the Denver Community Kollel, and the Jewish Experience. The Central Agency for Jewish Education is an agency which serves a number of Jewish educational programs.

At the university level, the Center of Judaic Studies at University of Denver offers a wide array of courses in Jewish studies. The university is also home to the Rocky Mountain Jewish Historical Society, the Beck Archives, and the Holocaust Awareness Institute. The Hillel Council of Colorado sponsors Hillel branches at the University of Colorado at Boulder, CU-Denver, Colorado State University in Fort Collins, and the University of Denver.

The historic Jewish presence in Denver is evident in the city's many landmarks. Among the most significant are a number of prominent synagogues such as the Isaac Solomon Synagogue and Temple Emanuel (the Old Pearl Street Temple). Other significant landmarks include the Emmanuel Gallery at Shearith Israel, and the Golda Meir House Museum. Community centers include the Robert E. Loup Jewish Community Center, the Boulder Jewish Community Center, the Mizel Museum, the Mizel Arts and Culture Center, the Rocky Mountain Jewish Historical Society, the Beck Archives, and the Holocaust Awareness institute".

The areas with the largest Jewish populations are Denver's Hilltop and West Colfax neighborhoods; West Colfax is home to the oldest Jewish community in Denver. Simply referred to by locals as the "West Side Jewish Community", it is a Haredi community whose residents, known as Litvaks, follow the Ashkenazi Jewish traditions of Lithuania. Jewish life in West Colfax is centered on the community's most important institutions, including the Denver Community Kollel, Yeshiva Toras Chaim, and Congregation Zera Avraham. From the 1920s until the 1950s, West Colfax was a predominantly Jewish neighborhood and is where Golda Meir lived as a teenager. Her family home was later restored and moved from its original location on Julian Street to the Auraria Campus near Downtown Denver (the abovementioned "Golda Meir House Museum").

Serving the Denver-Boulder communities, as well as the greater Rocky Mountain Jewish community (Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Montana, and Wyoming), is the "Intermountain Jewish News," a weekly Jewish newspaper. Founded in 1913, it is the largest Jewish publication in the state of Colorado. The newspaper covers events throughout the state of Colorado, as well as in the United States and Israel. It also publishes special edition papers and magazines, including "L'Chaim" and "Generations".

HISTORY

Jews began settling in Denver, and elsewhere in Colorado, following the discovery of gold in 1858. While some Jews were afflicted with "gold fever," most saw economic opportunities in providing services to those arriving at the new mining towns. By 1859 a dozen Jewish immigrants from Germany and Central Europe had moved to Denver, and worked mostly as merchants; among them were brothers Hyman and Fred Salomon, Leopold Mayer, and Abraham Jacobs, all of whom served on the city's first council in 1859. This group is also credited with holding the first religious services of any kind in Denver, which took place on September 1859.

Denver's first Jewish organization, the Hebrew Burial and Prayer Society, was established in 1860. It soon split into a B'nai B'rith Lodge in 1872, and into Colorado's first synagogue, Temple Emanuel (Reform, established in 1874). From these earliest efforts the Jewish community grew in numbers, prosperity, and influence. Many of these organizations, synagogues, and institutions were started from necessity because of Denver's isolation from the other American Jewish population centers.

Beginning in the 1880s, almost 3 million (mostly traditionally religious) Jews emigrated from Eastern Europe to the United States. While Denver's early Jewish settlers identified primarily with Reform Judaism, this migration changed the demographics of Denver. Many Orthodox Jews settled in Denver (seeking a cure for tuberculosis, the "white plague"). Two Jewish institutions were founded to respond to their needs, as well as to serve those suffering from consumption, who arrived in Denver from around the country. The National Jewish Hospital for Consumptives was opened in 1899, and later became The National Jewish Medical and Research Center, with a worldwide reputation in the research and treatment of allergy and pulmonary diseases.

Dr. John Elsner arrived in the city in 1866, when there were more than 100 Jews in the city. As a mohel, he spent decades traveling throughout the west performing circumcisions. The first medical society in the Colorado territory was organized at his home, and celebrities such as Oscar Wilde visited him. When he died, Elsner donated his mineral collection to the state. Meanwhile, people kept arriving in Denver, seeking a cure for tuberculosis in the dry climate of the west. This became a problem, as indigent consumptives began roaming the Denver streets, prompting locals to protest that "the town is getting to be a sanitarium." Frances Wisebart Jacobs, the "mother of the charities" and the wife of pioneer Abraham Jacobs, helped the city manage the problem by founding the associated charities in 1887, which became a forerunner of the community chest.

In 1882 a farming colony of Eastern European Orthodox Jews was settled by the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society in Cotopaxi, Colorado. The experiment subsequently failed, and the immigrants had to move to the west side of Denver. There they founded an Orthodox community, which included synagogues, mikva'ot (ritual baths), Jewish educational institutions, and a Yiddish theater. Denver became a temporary haven for Yiddish poets who suffered from tuberculosis. Notable Yiddish intellectuals who came to Denver include Dr. Charles Spivak, longtime director of the "Jewish Consumptive Relief Society", a major figure in the Yiddish and Jewish cultural life, and a founder of the "Intermountain Jewish News" in 1913, and Rabbi Judah Leib Ginsburg, an immigrant from Latvia who wrote and published major Hebrew works on the Bible and Mishnah. Other cultural figures who came to Denver, though not necessarily for medical treatment, include Max Goldberg, a leading figure in media in mid-20th century Denver. He brought network television to Colorado, pioneered in talk television, wrote for the "Denver Post" and published the "Intermountain Jewish News."

The city's reputation as a religious Jewish community drew newcomers directly from Europe, especially between 1900 and 1907. Jewish immigration reached a peak before the outbreak of World War I, with many seeking care at the NJHC and the "tents" of the Jewish Consumptives Relief Society (JCRS). Despite a bitter rivalry that began when the latter was founded in 1903, they managed to work together to jointly found a home for the children of the sick in 1908. When tuberculosis rates decreased during the 1940s, these institutions began to treat other diseases.

By the 1970s, when the Jewish population had reached 40,000, many Jews began dispersing to Denver's suburbs. Nonetheless, they continued to make use of the many institutions they had established throughout the city. Among these were the Hebrew Educational Alliance (founded in 1920), Yeshiva Toras Chaim (1967), and Beth Jacob High School for Girls (1968), all of which were located on the west side of the city. Major institutions and organizations on the east side of the city included Beth Hamedrosh Hagadol Congregation (founded in 1897), Beth Joseph Congregation (founded in 1922 and merged with Beth Hamedrosh Hagadol in 1997), Hillel Academy (1957), and Temple Sinai (1967). The Allied Jewish Federation of Colorado was organized as the Allied Jewish Council in 1942, the Jewish Family Service dates back to 1887, and the Green Gables Country Club (1928) and the Jewish Community Center (1948) provided a social outlet for Denver's Jewish population.

In the latter quarter of the 20th century, Dr. Stanley M. Wagner founded the Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Denver in 1975, as well as its affiliates, The Rocky Mountain Jewish Historical Society, Beck Archives, the Holocaust Awareness Institute, and the "Mizel Museum" (originally called "The Mizel Museum of Judaica. The Denver Campus for Jewish Education, which was founded in 2002, merged with the Herzl Jewish Day School (which had been founded in 1975) and the Rocky Mountain Hebrew Academy (which had been founded in 1979).

Among the many people who figured prominently in Denver Jewish history are Golda Meir, who came to Denver in 1913 and met her future husband there, Sheldon K. Beren, an oilman, philanthropist, and national president of Torah Umesorah, and Ruth M. Handler, the creator of the Barbie Doll. Notable rabbis are Rabbi William S. Friedman, who served Congregation Emanuel (1889-1938), Rabbi Charles E. H. Kauvar, who led Beth Hamedrosh Hagadol (1902-1971), and Rabbi Manuel Laderman, who served at the Hebrew Educational Alliance (1931-1979).

Jews were also active in the political life of the city. Wolfe Londoner became Denver's only Jewish Mayor in 1889. Phillip Win became ambassador to Switzerland in 1986, and Larry Mizel and Norman Brownstein were major influences in the national Republican and Democratic parties, respectively. A portrait of the "mother of Jewish charity work," Francis Wisebart Jacobs, graces a stained glass window in the Colorado Hall of Fame, located in the rotunda of the Colorado State Capitol. In 1968 Jewish jurists included district judges Saul Pinchick and Sherman Finesilver, probate judge David Brofman, and county judges Sam Kirbens and Zita Weinschienk. Culturally, beginning in 1859 with the founding of a chess and literary society, the Jews have contributed to the art world, both Jewish and general. Especially noteworthy are Bloomgarden, David Edelstadt, and H. Leivick (Leivick Halper), all tubercular patients.


In spite of the great strides made by the Jews of Denver, it is nonetheless worth noting that the exclusive social clubs were closed to Jews, as were most executive positions in large firms.


The Jewish population of the city was estimated in 1968 at 23,500 to 30,000 (out of a total population of 502,200). During the 1970s, when many Jews began moving into the suburbs, Denver's Jewish population was about 40,000. By 2004, the combined Jewish communities of Denver and Boulder were estimated to be between 60,000 and 70,000. Results from a community study sponsored by the Allied Jewish Federation of Colorado, among other organizations, revealed that in 2007 an estimated 83,900 Jewish people were living in the seven-county Metro Denver-Boulder area. As of 2013, the Jewish population of Colorado was approximately 92,000 with more than 75% of Colorado's Jewish residents living in the capital city of Denver while comprising less than 2% of the total population.

Written by researchers of ANU Museum of the Jewish People
Whiteman, Paul
Jazz bandleader. Born in Denver, Colorado (USA), he originally played the viola. In 1917 he left the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra and started studying jazz. In 1919 he formed his own band and began to appear in various hotels, nightclubs and theaters. By 1924 he had over fifty different bands, members of which were, among others, cornetist Bix Biederbecke, trombonist Tommy Dorsey and clarinetist Jimmy Dorsey. On February 12, 1924 he gave the first concert of jazz music presented as a serious art form. The concert was highlighted by the premiere of George Gershwin’s RHAPSODY IN BLUE which Whiteman commissioned. Gershwin played the solo part and Whitman conducted. Whiteman continued to organize jazz concerts until 1938. Among the premieres he conducted were Fred Grofe’s GRAND CANYON SUITE (1938) and Stravinsky’s RUSSIAN SCHERZO (1944).
Whiteman is author of the books Jazz (1926, with M.M. McBride), How to be Bandleader (1941, with L. Lieber) and Records for the Millions (1948). He died in Doylestone, Pennsylvania (USA).
Torah study in Denver, Colorado, USA, 1983
Torah study in Denver, Colorado, USA, 1983
Photo: Paula Singer, USA
(The Oster Visual Documentation Center, Beit Hatfutsot,
courtesy of Paula Singer, USA)
HADASSAH LADIES LISEN TO THE DEBATE CONFERENCE IN DENVER COLORADO, 1961.
HADASSAH LADIES LISEN TO THE DEBATE CONFERENCE IN DENVER COLORADO, 1961.

United States of America (USA)

United States of America (USA)

A country in North America

Estimated Jewish population in 2018: 5,700,000 out of 325,000,000 (1.7%). United States is the home of the second largest Jewish population in the world. 

Community life is organized in more than 2,000 organizations and 700 federations. Each of the main religious denominators – Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, and Reconstructionist – has its own national association of synagogues and rabbis. 

American cities (greater area) with largest Jewish populations in 2018:

New York City, NY: 2,000,000
Los Angeles, CA: 662,000
Miami, FL: 555,000
Philadelphia, PA: 275,000
Chicago, IL: 294,000
Boston, MA: 250,000
San Francisco, CA: 304,000
Washington, DC & Baltimore, MY: 217,000

States with largest proportion of Jewish population in 2018 (Percentage of Total Population):

New York: 8.9
New Jersey: 5.8
Florida: 3.3
District of Columbia: 4.3
Massachusetts: 4.1
Maryland: 4
Connecticut: 3.3
California: 3.2
Pennsylvania: 2.3
Illinois: 2.3