Joella West: Steamboat community gathered to support Jewish community

Friday evening Jewish congregations across the United States gathered to begin Shabbat and to seek comfort in their sacred spaces. I’m incredibly moved that our Har Mishpacha congregation in Steamboat Springs was one of them.

On a Friday evening, despite inclement weather, despite First Friday Artwalk, despite Dia de los Muertes celebrations, upwards of 150 people, including not only members of our congregation, but also many from other faiths and from the greater Steamboat community, gathered in a service that drew from Jewish tradition to pray and to reflect on how healing can begin.

Many thanks to all, but a few by name: Larry Klingman for leading a meaningful service under such difficult circumstances; Paula Salky for lending her wonderful voice to traditional songs; Reverend Tim Selby and Reverend Marie Gasau for their heartfelt words; four officers from the Steamboat Springs Police Department led by Chief Cory Christensen for being a visible and supportive presence; Laurie Edwards for starting the evening with music; and Lynn and Alan Sidman for providing the Oneg with delicious refreshments and an opportunity for conversations to end the evening. 

When a tragedy like Pittsburgh happens, the natural reaction is to despair. Walking out of The Heart of Steamboat United Methodist Church last night, I felt an incredible sense of hope that change can begin here, with us, now, in this extraordinary community.

Joella West

President, Har Mishpacha, The Jewish Congregation of Steamboat Springs

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