127-year-old Colorado synagogue closes


(JTA) — The oldest continuously operating synagogue in Colorado has closed after 127 years.

Temple Aaron in Trinidad, near the state’s New Mexico border, closed the week before Rosh Hashanah, Colorado Public Radio reported. It was the first time in the synagogue’s history that it did not host High Holiday services.

“It’s terribly painful for me,” Ron Rubin, whose family managed the synagogue for the past three decades, told the Denver Post. “It’s just a horrible, horrible thing.”

Temple Aaron, a Reform congregation, only had a few dozen members for decades and its revenue could not cover the annual $50,000 upkeep costs, according to the Post. Its historic Victorian-Moorish building, which has stained glass windows, has been put up for sale for $395,000.

The congregation was founded in 1883 and the synagogue building was built in 1889. Trinidad’s first mayor, Samuel Jaffa, was one of the congregation’s founders. Jews over time left the small town of around 8,500, and many other towns in the Southwest, for better economic opportunity.

“These places had large amounts of communities to have synagogue structures, to have cemeteries, to have B’nai B’rith chapters,” Rabbi John Feldman, who led services at Temple Aaron, told the Post. “But it hasn’t been like that in many, many decades.”

He added: “That’s, I think, another aspect of why the closing of these doors — and why that loss — feels like one more chapter that has ended in a book where there aren’t too many more chapters.”

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