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The History of the Hebrew Educational Alliance

For nearly 100 years, the Hebrew Educational Alliance has welcomed the Denver community as a spiritual home for Jewish people and practices in every stage of life. With the leadership of our current Senior Rabbi, Bruce Dollin, the congregation has grown to nearly 850 households involved in our worship services, religious school, preschool and adult learning programs and activities. 

HEA’s community, services and offerings have expanded greatly since its inception in the 1920s, growing from a religious school to now being a central community connector for all Denver Jewish life. 

The Congregation Hebrew Educational Alliance was formed in 1928 with the merger of the Denver Hebrew Institute and the Beth David Sisterhood. These two groups were formed to provide a Jewish education for the children of the West Side of Denver, whose families worshiped at a number of small, immigrant synagogues in the neighborhood. For the next four years, funds were raised and a building was erected at the corner of Meade Street and West Colfax Avenue.

On October 25, 1932, HEA leadership welcomed newly ordained Rabbi Manuel Laderman to the institution, who was determined to transform the HEA into a synagogue, not only a religious school. Rabbi Laderman's personality and athletic abilities were a magnet to the youth of the West Side. Over the years, the Alliance flourished and Rabbi Laderman became a major force, not only in the Jewish community, but also in the wider Denver community. He served HEA for almost half a century. 

Upon Rabbi Laderman's retirement in 1979, Rabbi Daniel Goldberger assumed the leadership of the Alliance. Rabbi Goldberger's stellar reputation attracted many members of the Jewish community to travel across town to affiliate with the Alliance. Under the leadership of the Rabbi, a renewed dynamism came to the Alliance. The religious school grew, new adult educational programs were developed, and the congregation enjoyed 15 successful years.

In August 1994, HEA named Bruce Dollin as Senior Rabbi, and in 2008, Rabbi Salomon Gruenwald was hired as the Associate Rabbi. Over the past 3 decades, the HEA has grown in every sense, while embracing modernity along with the community’s Conservate Jewish roots. Within Rabbi Dollin’s first two years, he implemented the active participation of women into the worship services of the synagogue and led the physical transition of HEA from its old Stuart Street building to its location today. Under Rabbi Dollin’s leadership the HEA formed the preschool, three youth groups and celebrated the opening of the 6,000 sq. ft. Goldberger Youth Center. 

HEA’s number of yearly b'nai mitzvah have increased from five to over 30. The religious school has 70 students enrolled, and the preschool currently has over 75 students. 

Rabbi Dollin recently announced his intention to retire in October 2022.


West Side Memories

West Side Memories with Goldie Smith: The beginnings of the Hebrew Educational Alliance

West Side Memories with Shirley Yoelin: The Leadership of the HEA

West Side Memories with Shirley Yoelin: The Founding of the HEA

West Side Memories with Debbie Friedman - Message for the Future

West Side Memories with Debbie Friedman: Youth Group SYO

West Side Memories with Eileen Naiman: Book Reviews and Special Events

West Side Memories with Eileen Naiman: Rabbi Laderman, Yom Tov & Tashlich


 

The Recordings of Rabbi Manuel Laderman:

 

The Naming of the Hebrew Educational Alliance

HEA Talmud Torah Dinner October 1967  featuring Jan Pierce

 

Special thanks to Norman Chandler for digitizing these recordings

Sat, September 18 2021 12 Tishrei 5782