Timeline of Recent Events
2016 - present
1. September 2016- The Rubin Family (Kathryn Rubin, 93, and her two sons, Ron Rubin of Colorado Springs and Randy Rubin of Raton, NM), who had been the caretakers of the Temple for 30 years, make the painful decision to close the Temple just before the High Holidays. For the first time since 1883, no services are conducted in Trinidad. Building is put up for sale. Closure is the subject of a front-page article in the Denver Post. The building needs significant and costly repairs.
2. October 2016- David London, a Jewish attorney in Boulder with a strong interest in Jewish history who had only seen the outside of the Temple once, sees a copy of the Denver Post article (his aunt cut it out of the paper and sent it to him). London wonders if anything can be done and contacts Randy Rubin.
3. End of 2016/Early 2017- London contacts B’nai B’rith of The Rockies to gauge interest. A few meetings are held. Through these contacts London meets Neal Paul, B'nai B'rith Director and Israeli born to two Survivors, who is immediately interested. Efforts through B’nai B’rith ultimately go nowhere, but a de facto working group of London, Paul and the Rubins is established. Building is taken off the market, with the group determined to save the Temple.
4. February 2017-Temple Aaron is placed on Colorado’s Most Endangered Places List by Colorado Preservation, Inc. (“CPI”) in an effort to raise awareness about the threat to the Temple and its historically and architecturally significant building. CPI is the entity that holds a historic preservation easement on the building,
5. April 2017- A Seder is held at the Temple and attended by approximately 25 people, proving continued interest in saving the building. Rabbi Eliot Baskin of Denver officiates.
6. July 2017- London donates $5000 as funds grow dangerously short. Awareness efforts continue. Under London’s legal auspices, a new Colorado non-profit corporation named Temple Aaron of Trinidad, Colorado (“TATC”) is formed for purposes of owning and operating the building and taking over fiscal responsibilities from the Freudenthal Foundation (“FF”) once it achieves federal 501(c)(3) status.
7. October 2017- A Sukkot function is held and attended by approximately 15 people. Perry Bach, a Jewish historian based in Colorado Springs, gives a talk.
8. November 2017- With the assistance of the local title company, title is formally transferred to TATC from the 19th century unincorporated “Congregation Aaron.”
9. December 2017- Paul reaches out to Larry Mizel, a local Jewish real estate developer and philanthropist. Mizel issues a challenge grant in which he will donate $10,000 if Temple Aaron fundraising meets a goal of $35,000.
10. January 2018- Fundraising kicks into high gear. A gofundme page and a website at templeaaron.org are established. Many generous donations are received during the next number of months.
11. April 2018- The second annual Seder is held and over 30 people attend. Rabbi and Nuclear Physicist Jack Shlachter of Los Alamos, NM officiates.
12. May 2018- The initial fundraising goal is met and Mizel donates the promised $10,000. Funds are above emergency status for the first time in many years. In an event co-sponsored by the University of Colorado and others, CU Professor Janet Jacobs gives a talk on Crypto-Judaism attended by over 40 people. This is first event held in the temple’s sanctuary in many years. Kathryn Rubin passes away at the age of 95.
13. July 2018- Paul contacts Phil Goodstein, PhD, known author and historian and organizes a bus tour of Synagogues and important Jewish buildings in Denver (including the Golda Maier house @ Auraria), which is attended by over 50 people. More than $1,000.00 is raised.
14. September 2018- London, Paul, and Kim Grant of Colorado Preservation Inc. formally join the Board of Directors of TATC, forming a five-member board with Ron and Randy Rubin. Dana Crawford, known Preservationist, organizes her Club 190 to visit Trinidad and Temple Aaron. With over 50 in attendance, Crawford speaks of the importance of historic preservation, heritage, and the future. Trinidad’s Mayor Phil Rico attends. Rosh Hashanah services (Sunday evening and Monday morning) are once again held at the Temple, continuing a tradition that began in 1883, after a two-year hiatus. Rabbi Lewis “Buz” Bogage officiates and over 40 people attend.
15. October 2018- An architect’s and engineers report to formally assess the building’s condition is commissioned. It is paid for by a $10,000 grant by the City of Trinidad. Drone photography is taken of the roof. An all-day planning retreat is held and attended by the entire board and other key supporters.
16. Year End 2018- Approximately $75,000 has been raised or donated in cash or via in-kind since July 2017.
17. 2019: With the support of CPI and the National Park Service, Temple Aaron begins applying for National Landmark Status. A State Historical Fund grant application was submitted on April 1, 2019 for priority repairs and restoration. The Seder (in April) sells out at its maximum capacity of forty people. Temple Aaron celebrates its 130th Anniversary with a momentous three-day gala celebration in June, and TATC also participates in the Society for Crypto-Judaic Studies annual conference in Denver. TATC receives its 501(c)(3) designation from the IRS, and the Freudenthal Foundation is dissolved. All Temple fiscal and other activities are now conducted under the auspices of TATC.
18. 2020: A challenging year, but not without its bright spots. Most in-person activities were cancelled, but in-person, socially distanced Rosh Hashanah services were held. Temple Aaron joined the Zoom movement by live-streaming those services and conducting virtual events including a screening of Children of the Inquisition. TATC ended the year on very bright notes with Rabbi Dr. Rob Lennick agreeing to serve as the temple's rabbi, and with receipt of two important grants. The year closes with launching of the temple's 100x6 campaign to raise $100,000 in six months. More here about all the latest initiatives.
19. 2021: With in-person events largely sidelined, Rabbi Lennick began holding monthly Torah Study sessions and Shabbat gatherings online via Zoom. A new membership campaign was launched, as was a campaign to raise funds for a new boiler in order to restore heat to the temple. The first Bar Mitzvah in decades took place in May 2021, and the first wedding in over 10 years was held at the temple in September. The boiler campaign met its goal and work to replace it begin in November. Also in 2021, emergency roof repairs were completed with grant funding from the State Historical Fund and matching donations to Temple Aaron.