Sharing the Joy of Nevei Kodesh by Judith Dack
Always grateful for my connection to the greater ALEPH Community, I am thrilled to share the news that my local Jewish Renewal synagogue has returned to the ALEPH network of communities! Here in Boulder, Colorado we are graced to have one of the very first Jewish Renewal communities founded in 1992 by Rabbi Dr. Tirzah Firestone. Many of you know of Congregation Nevei Kodesh, a true Oasis of Holiness, because our REBBE blessed it with his presence during his final twenty years of life. Yes, Reb Zalman Schacter-Shalomi, Ztz”l, along with Rebbitzin Eve Ilsen davvened (prayed) here often, celebrating life, holy days and rituals. Our beloved Reb Zalman, whose powerful legacy Nevei Kodesh and so many other ALEPH communities live by, is still very much with us. He is buried right here facing the beautiful foothills of the Rocky Mountains, his kever (grave) a pilgrimage site for all who visit.
Eight years since The Rebbe’s passing, our Boulder community continues to flourish as one of the jewels of the Jewish Renewal network. Reb Tirzah is now our Rabbi Emerita and happily kvells in the background, sharing her wisdom and support when needed, and offering holiday and Elul workshops and programming.
At this time, the spiritual leadership is now in the hands and hearts of a collaborative and dynamic Jewish Renewal team which includes: Rabbi Diane Tiferet Lakein, who provides spiritual and pastoral care to the Nevei Kodesh community. She also teaches and leads some services. Rabbi Diane holds a Masters of Jewish Education from Hebrew College and ordination from the ALEPH Ordination Program. She is a member of Haver, the Rabbinic Council of Boulder, Colorado, and of OHALAH, the Association of Rabbis for Jewish Renewal. After many years serving as a Jewish Educator and Rabbi in Germany, Rabbi Diane relocated to Boulder CO where she resides with her wife, ALEPH ordained Rabbinic Pastor Nalini Indorf Kaplan. (One of the great ALEPH love stories!)
Our Director of Family Life & Prayer Leadership is Hazzan Shandyl Adler who has supported the religious school’s ongoing growth and development in a safe and welcoming environment that encourages connection, joy, curiosity, creativity, and deep and meaningful learning. Hazzan Shandyl received her cantorial smeicha through the ALEPH, Ordinations Program. She is also an ordained Kohenet through the Kohenet Hebrew Priestess Institute and also completed ALEPH’s Kol Zimra Chant Leader Training and the Davennen’ Leadership Training Institute. Hazzan Shandyl has served as a cantor for approximately eleven years in Reform, Renewal and Conservative congregations and has been an educator and an administrator in Jewish and secular settings in California for over twenty-six years. We are very fortunate that Hazzan Shandyl relocated to Denver, Colorado with her family and joined the Nevei Kodesh Spiritual Leadership Team in 2021.
Our longtime beloved service and prayer leader, Ba’alat Tefilah (Master of Prayer) Michelle Wolf continues to create uplifting and inspiring services as she did for many years along with Reb Tirzah. Michelle is a lifelong vocalist who when leading Jewish prayer and chant, uses her voice and presence to open hearts and help others connect to Source. In 2011, for her mastery as Jewish liturgist, Michelle was honored with a Certificate of Empowerment by both Reb Tirzah and Reb Zalman and granted the titles Ba’alat Tefilah and Shlichat Tzibbur. Michelle coaches youth in B’nai Mitzvah education and regularly leads services for Shabbat, High Holidays, and other holidays and rituals throughout the Jewish year. Michelle was educated at Stanford University, Columbia University’s Teachers College, Middlebury College, and Aleph’s Davvenen’ Leadership Training Institute.
We have also been blessed with our longtime beloved Executive Director, Dena Gitterman who, after 18 years of excellent service and dedication, is now retiring. Gratefully Jonathan Morse has relocated to Colorado and has just begun as our new Synagogue Administrator. With bittersweetness we say goodbye to Dena and with happy hearts we welcome Jonathan!
Congregation Nevei Kodesh also has many talented professional musicians in our community. We have a multitude of active volunteer committees including Shomrei Ruach, Adult Education, Tiferet Havurah, Sustainability, and Family Life to engage our members. For many years we put on a night of Jewish Broadway hits where Reb Zalman would sit in the front row kvelling as his beloved Eve and others performed to a delighted audience. Before that we had the infamous Kosher Hams which would transport all of us, including the Rebbe into fits of laughter. At Nevei Kodesh, our Oasis of Holiness, our ner tamid continues to burn in the eternal light of Reb Zalman and the blessings he gave to all of us. Please come and visit the next time you are in Boulder, Colorado.
Judith Dack, MA is a longtime leader and community builder in the Jewish Renewal movement. Currently she serves at Minyan Oneg Shabbat, a joyously musical Jewish Renewal “Zoom-a-gogue” davenen community, exclusively online. She has served on the Nevei Kodesh Board of Directors for the past 2 years. For many years she served on the ALEPH Board of Directors and various ALEPH Advisory Committees. After a 5 year hiatus, Judith has rejoined the ALEPH Board effective July 1, 2022. She currently serves on the Naropa University Board of Trustees as well. You may remember her from long ago as The Elat Chayyim summer yoga teacher and stand up fun-raiser. Judith is a masters transpersonal counselor and an art therapist. She has served on the faculty of Kol Zimra, the ALEPH Kallah, Ohalah, and various other renewal communities.