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10/21/2022 02:09:45 PM


Melinda Kassen

L’Shana Tovah! I hope everyone had a joyous and meaningful holiday season. 

A few weeks ago, our President, Jim Edelman, and Rabbi Greene told you about a wonderful opportunity to consider our facility needs and how we can best meet them as we move into a planned and sustainable future. I am writing as chair of Har HaShem’s Building Our Future Task Force to keep you up to date on this process.  
First, I want to assure you that Building Our Future (BOF) builds on the Strategic Visioning process Har HaShem has invested in over the last two years. The Strategic Vision Task Force, a diverse group of 15 congregants, donated hours of time and expertise to research the current scene and listen to over 100 congregants through formal interviews and surveys. They articulated possibilities for who and how Har HaShem should be in our next chapter. Here's a short summary of their findings: Summary of HHS Strategic Vision.

Now, our Building Our Future Task Force (see below for membership) is excited to have a chance to think about how the space we gather in to celebrate, pray, learn and socialize can best suit the needs of our “open tent” community. We are tasked with doing the heavy-lifting of deeply understanding our options and the needs, preferences and priorities of Congregation Har HaShem. We are exploring two sets of possibilities -  the possibility of moving jointly with Bonai Shalom to the Boulder Jewish Commons, adjacent to the Boulder JCC, as well as how we might redevelop our current Baseline campus.

Our Task Force will work on several parallel tracks for the next month to continue listening and gathering information. These include continuing to gather feedback from a representative group of the congregation as to our physical needs, now and in the future, the meetings with architects described below, assessing the value of our Baseline property and the costs of building new facilities.

Earlier this month, we held four Listening Sessions where congregants spoke from their hearts about their relationship to our present campus and hopes and fears about relocating.  We have also reached out to a subset of members to hear their thoughts about our facility needs. Our BOF Task Force has been meeting with the architecture firm RB+B, designers of the Boulder JCC, to assess our space needs for the future, regardless of where we are. Today [October 21st], we had our first joint meeting with Bonai, a delegation from the JCC, several representatives from the Oreg Foundation (which owns the land at the Commons) and the architect to kick off a month-long “Charette” process to brainstorm options for sharing a facility on Boulder Jewish Commons.

 As part of this month-long process, we will explore both the operational economies and opportunities that sharing some spaces could provide. Also, depending on the outcome of our charette process, we will begin work with Bonai Shalom to address governance issues. Finally, Rabbi Greene and Bonai Shalom’s Rabbi Marc Soloway had a positive and productive initial meeting, and have shared enthusiasm about the project and its potential.

The results of all this meeting and research will be our ability to present options to YOU, our congregants - options with dollar estimates and pros and cons thought out and succinctly articulated. It is our intention to give you data, context and time to consider. At this point, we plan to make some initial recommendations to Har HaShem’s Board of Trustees at the end of February. I have confidence that we will have enough information to present to the Board and congregation by that time.  

We will keep you well informed.  If you have questions or concerns, please email us at

Looking forward to hearing from you. 

Har HaShem’s Building Our Future Task Force:  Melinda Kassen, Chair, Gil Rudawsky, Dan Cohen, Marianne Balin, Jim Brantz, Josh Zapin and Alan Friedman, Executive Director of HHS

Sat, February 4 2023 13 Sh'vat 5783