Sign In Request Login Link

Our History

 Congregation Rodef Shalom has been a Conservative synagogue located in east Denver for more than 70 years.

In 1953, a small group of people, committed to Conservative Judaism, met at the home of Myron and Frieda Wilkoff to organize a new synagogue in Denver. In time, the name “Congregation Rodef Shalom”, meaning “Seekers of Peace,” was selected. The synagogue affiliated with the United Synagogue of America (now The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism), the national organization of the Conservative movement. Rabbi Isaac Freeman was hired, and the synagogue acquired Torah Scrolls.

Services were held each Shabbat at members’ homes. In a short time, arrangements were made to meet in various rented facilities for Friday night services and High Holiday services.

When Rabbi Freeman left, Rabbi A. Nathan Abramowitz was hired. Because of the need for facilities to handle Rodef’s growing membership, ground was purchased on the 400 block of South Kearney Street. A 2-story building was constructed with a sanctuary, social hall, kitchen, school rooms and offices. We moved in our own new building in 1959.

The synagogue continued to grow, and we quickly outgrew the new building. We broke ground to the south of the original building in 1965 and moved into the new building in 1966. The original building was remodeled as a school building.

Rabbi Reuven Hammer and Rabbi Louis Schechter served the congregation during the next years. When Rabbi Schechter left, lay leaders led services and programs, and a guest Rabbi was hired for High Holiday services.

Rabbi Bernard Eisenman was hired in 1970 and served until the summer of 1986. Youth programs thrived and Women’s League was active. The Congregation became increasingly egalitarian in its services, consistent with trends in the Conservative movement. Rabbi Eisenman taught many classes about various Judaic topics, both at Rodef Shalom and in the community. His leadership resulted in significant membership growth. Cantor Saul Rosenthal was hired in 1985 and over the years, he added traditional and modern Jewish music to services and other programs.

When Rabbi Eisenman left, Rabbi Josef Davidson filled in and ran High Holiday services with Cantor Saul. Talented, knowledgeable lay leaders ran weers 11 2kly Shabbat services.

Rabbi Joel Newman became our spiritual leader in late 1986 and served the Congregation until the summer of 1992. Rabbi Newman instituted new programs including Young Family Services, Ecumenical Seders, Confirmation trips, and creative educational programs. The Congregation also acquired a Holocaust Torah Scroll.

After a year of Rodef lay leaders guiding the synagogue in services and programs, Rabbi Bernard Gerson was hired in the summer of 1993. He experimented with the style of our services while continuing traditionalism. Rabbi Gerson taught classes in Talmud, “Tanakh and Tabloids,” and ongoing series on various topics of Jewish interest. Shabbat services were well attended, and there was steady attendance at Sunday minyan and a Talmud class.

Again, an expansion was needed, and a new sanctuary was constructed and then dedicated during Chanukah 1999. The other part of the building was remodeled into a social hall with a renovated

kitchen, offices, and meeting spaces. In addition, a new preschool building was built between the two buildings and brought many new young family members to the synagogue.

Over the years, Cantor Saul initiaters 8d “Shir Rodef,” an instrumental and vocal ensemble, to provide spirited new music to the congregation, including “Shabbat with a Backbeat” once a month and “Shabbat Under the Stars” during the summers. When the musical Shabbat was held on Saturday morning, another service without instruments was held in the school building.

Rabbi Rachel Kobrin became the current Rabbi in the summer of 2018, following the retirement of Rabbi Gerson. Rabbi Kobrin has continued to cultivate the forward movement of Rodef Shalom, growing our Congregation and reinventing spiritual learning and growth opportunities for all ages. She also has expanded Rodef’s participation in community initiatives which align with Judaism’s values.

Cantor Saul retired in 2020. Moshe Kornfeld and David Ross now bring beautiful melodies and music to Rodef Shalom. Services are well attended every Shabbat and all holidays, and there are many varied programs for all ages.

Please explore our website to learn more about all that Rodef Shalom currently offers.

Fri, June 21 2024 15 Sivan 5784