“Over here!” I looked over to see Ben, our Director of Annual Campaigns, waving at me from across the street, his car packed to the brim with swag for our activation at the Boulder Jewish Festival, complete with a giant JEWISHcolorado-branded Otterbox cooler. After a quick hello, we wasted no time and began to unload the contents of the car into the small wagon parked next to the trunk and carted our goods to the festival grounds around the corner. Small, white tents dotted the grassy areas of the park, and a larger tent housing the stage stood to our right as we entered. The stage speakers played Israeli music as background sound as everyone continued setting up their booths.
As more JEWISHcolorado staff began to arrive, Jenna, our Young Adult Division Director, and I took a quick break to walk around the festival and familiarize ourselves with our surroundings. We passed the Boulder JCC (Jewish Community Center), Boulder Jewish News, and controlled ourselves as we passed the kosher food area (we had not eaten yet). By far the most difficult booth to not get carried away at was the artwork booth, which prominently displayed mezuzahs and exquisite tapestries for purchase. We returned to the booth only to find that some of our team had caved easily to this temptation and were already stocked with multiple tapestries behind our booth to take home to their families.
The festival kicked off with a children’s show on the main stage, complete with dinosaur costumes and a playful pair of actors who kept the kids party going. The team and I were busy right from the start with Ben using his camp counselor energy to attract people to our booth, and we were quickly at the center of an intrigued crowd of festivalgoers. One surprising piece of info was that many people had not heard of JEWISHcolorado before, and we quickly encouraged them to grab a swag bag and fill it with brochures, stickers, and branded chip clips. Despite the intermittent moments of rain, both guests and staff were in high spirits.
The most heartwarming moment of the day came when a young woman approached us and explained that she was a recipient of some of the funds we had raised for victims of the Marshall Fires, and she expressed her sincere gratitude for our help in getting her back on track after unimaginable tragedy. We even received a hug!
It is days like these where we are all reminded of just how prominent the Jewish community is here in Colorado. Being surrounded by hundreds of people with the commonality of Judaism was something I don’t experience often, and good energy seeped from every part of it. It is days like these where we are also reminded of the importance of showing up for each other and supporting our community. From Denver to Boulder, Grand Junction to Aspen and Vail, we must continue to be there and stand with each other, both in happy times of celebration like this as well as during the tough times.