The blog of the Roaring Fork Valley (Reform) Jewish community
77 Meadowood Drive • Aspen, CO • 81611
Rabbi David Segal and Cantor Rollin Simmons

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Shabbat on the Slopes

Just yesterday, we had our very first "Shabbat on the Slopes." About 40 of us met on Snowmass, outside Gwyn's High Alpine, at 12:30 pm for a short service. We began by singing Mah Tovu, a text spoken by Balaam, a non-Israelite prophet who was asked to curse the Israelites, but who instead blessed them. He looks down from a mountaintop and is overtaken by the beauty of their tents below. How well we could relate when marveling at the views from Snowmass! We then sang the words "Elohai n'shama shenatata bi, t'horah hi," my God the soul you have given me is pure. The word n'shama can mean "soul" and also "breath" and as we sang, we breathed in the crisp mountain air. Somehow, singing these prayers together on the mountain made me appreciate the whole day of skiing in a new way.

After skiing for a few hours, about 25 of us met up at The Sweet Life at the Snowmass Base Village at 3:15 pm for a brief havdalah ceremony to celebrate the end of Shabbat. We all talked about what we're looking forward to in the next week -- most people have visitors in town and are excited to spend time with them!

If you made it to our first Shabbat on the Slopes, thanks for coming! If you didn't make it, we hope to see you at the next one. We will be having services on all the mountains (rotating locations) twice a month starting in January and going through April. Stay tuned for details!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Help Still Needed: Carmel Fire Aftermath

Now that the fire has stopped raging in the North of Israel, damage reports have come in and we can step back and see what's still needed.  Take a look at the photos and facts in these articles, and please step up and give if you haven't already.  Reports indicate the damage is in the 2 billion shekel range, with more than 10,000 acres of forest destroyed, and Israel still needs our help.

There are two easy ways to give:

  1. Send a check to: UJA Israel Fire Disaster Relief Fund
    PO Box 8590, Aspen, CO 81612
    or to donate by credit card, please call or fax 970.704.1827
    or email
  2. The Union for Reform Judaism has an emergency fund setup.
    Click here to donate online.

Thank you for your consideration.

• Boston Globe's "The Big Picture", striking photos of the fire and aftermath, including a NASA image where the smoke is visible from space
• Haaretz: Fire Damage to cost NIS 2 billion
• Haaretz: Carmel residents return to see aftermath of fire
• Op-ed: Stow the insecurity on catastrophe assistance

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Chanukah YouTube Favorites

Another Chanukah has passed, and we've seen some great cultural output.  Below are two great music videos that came out of this Chanukah season, as well as an older (but still great!) clip from the Colbert Christmas Special, with Jon Stewart, about Chanukah.  Enjoy! (And please comment with links to your favorite Chanukah videos!)

Matisyahu does it again

YU's a cappella group mixing it up

Classic moment from the Colbert Christmas Special

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Interfaith Thanksgiving Service

On November 21st, we celebrated Thanksgiving together with the Aspen Chapel community with an interfaith service.   We sang, shared stories, and prayed for peace together.  An interfaith choir provided beautiful music, led by Cantor Rollin and Sarah Stevens, along with Dan Sheridan.  Pastor Gregg Anderson and I spoke. You can watch the entire service online!

Aspen Chapel Christian-Jewish Thanksgiving Service Nov. 2010 from aspen chapel on Vimeo.