On July 1, 2023, JEWISHcolorado welcomed five new members to its Board of Directors. Alan Brandt, Mark Sidell, and Aza Squarer are rejoining the Board after previous years of service. Kendra Goldstein and Brandon Rattiner are new to the Board. We talked with all of them about their vision for the future of JEWISHcolorado.
Alan Brandt has served JEWISHcolorado (and the Federation) in a variety of roles for more than 15 years. He was inspired to become involved after his first trip to Israel in 2005, when he was particularly captivated by the pioneer spirit of the people he met in JEWISHcolorado’s partner region Ramat HaNegev.
“I went to Israel at the time to show support, and I came back wanting to motivate others to do the same,” he says. “I saw what the Federation was doing, and I felt that was where I should put my effort.”
Brandt has served as Chairman of the Financial Oversight Group and the Planning and Grant Making Committee. In September 2019, he received the Volunteer of the Year Award. Even during the years when he was not officially a member of the board, he has stayed involved in JEWISHcolorado events, especially any event having to do with Israel. He has been reappointed to the Board after being selected as the chair of the Israel and Overseas Committee (formerly known as the Israel Engagement Committee) which he has served on since his earliest involvement with the Federation.
“I would like the broader Jewish community to have more awareness of JEWISHcolorado’s people-to-people involvement in Israel,” he says. “I would also like the broader community—both Jewish and non-Jewish—to have a better idea what JEWISHcolorado does for the community locally, nationally, and internationally.”
Brandt came to Colorado 49 years ago. In January 2020, he retired from a career as a CPA after working for various firms, including Fox Brandt & Co. where he worked for 30 years. From 1986-1994, he served on the Colorado Lottery Commission, acting as chair for two years. He was on the Board of Herzl Jewish Day School, acting as treasurer from 1990-1991 and president from 1992-1994. He has also served as treasurer of the Denver Institute for Jewish Studies. In his spare time, he volunteers at the Museum of Nature and Science where he is a self-taught expert on dinosaurs.
With a demanding career, membership on the Board of Directors for the JCC, service on the JEWISHcolorado Real Estate & Construction Network—not to mention three young children—Kendra Goldstein already has a busy schedule. She is now adding service on the JEWISHcolorado Board to her resume.
“I was raised in the Denver Jewish community, and my father was very involved in philanthropy, so he modeled that for me,” Goldstein says. “Having a seat at the table where decisions are made about how we engage in our community is a high priority for me. It’s important to make the time to do it.”
Goldstein grew up engaged in JEWISHcolorado programs, including Hebrew High, which met once a week as a prerequisite to the Joyce Zeff Israel Study Tour (IST). When she traveled to Israel on IST, her group of 110 teens filled three buses.
“My nearest and dearest friends in life go back to the IST trip,” she says. “I have connections from that trip who are now clients. Both personally and professionally, that trip was life changing.”
Although Goldstein had been to Israel when she was younger, the multi-week trip had a lasting impact on her.
“IST gave us the opportunity to have experiences that rooted me in the heritage and history of the country,” she says. “To go to the Western Wall—whether you are religious or not—and to stand there with your peers is an unforgettable shared spiritual experience that informs your Jewish identity.”
Goldstein says her first goal on the Board will be to listen and learn more about JEWISHcolorado with an eye on finding ways to provide ideas and support for the organization in any way she can.
Brandon Rattiner wants to provide Colorado’s Jewish community with meaningful and contemporary connections to Judaism and one another, and he believes JEWISHcolorado is a great vehicle to do so.
“This is deeply personal for me,” he says. “I feel a real sense of responsibility to build Jewish community because my involvement in the community has brought me so much meaning.”
Growing up, Rattiner participated in the Joyce Zeff Israel Study Tour and JCC Ranch Camp. He is a past international president of BBYO, remains involved with the Israel Policy Forum, and even met his wife at the Denver Moishe House. At JEWISHcolorado, he has chaired the Jewish Community Relations Council’s Education and Legislative Affairs Committee.
His main goal as a Board member is to “bring Judaism to folks where they are.”
“The community does not look the way it did many years ago,” he says. “There are all kinds of families with all kinds of Jewish experiences, living all throughout Colorado. There is also so much innovation in the Jewish nonprofit community, nationally and locally. I want to broaden our thinking and services to make sure everyone sees the many ways that involvement in the Jewish community can add meaning to their lives.”
Rattiner is an attorney at Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell, where his practice focuses on clean energy, environmental, climate change, and public policy issues. Before joining the firm, he clerked for the Honorable Carolyn B. McHugh of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit and worked as an associate at Covington and Burling in Washington, D.C. Prior to law school, Rattiner served as U.S. Senator Mark Udall’s Denver Metro Area regional director and an El Pomar fellow.
Rattiner loves to ski, backpack, climb, and explore Colorado’s mountains. His two young daughters share his passion for sleeping under the stars.
Mark Sidell can still remember his first involvement in the Federation—a Super Sunday in 1986.
“Jim Miller was the chair, and he had a group of rookies calling past donors and instead of asking for a gift, we asked them, ‘What can the Federation do for you?’ he recalls. “People were surprised because they expected a solicitation. However, almost everyone made an unsolicited gift!”
Sidell was drawn to the Federation because of the involvement of men he calls “icons of real estate”—Micky Miller, Bob Loup, Jordan Perlmutter.
“All these people I looked up to were involved,” he says. “I followed the logic that if the Federation was important to them, and they were inspirational to me, then I should learn more about Federation.”
Sidell’s first gift was $52—one dollar a week. He has gone on to chair multiple committees, the Annual Campaign, and the JEWISHcolorado Board. He is currently chair of the Real Estate & Construction Network (RECN) and points with pride to recent RECN events that have drawn up to 200 people and a RECN trip to Los Angeles with behind-the-scenes tours of iconic LA buildings.
Given Sidell’s long involvement in JEWISHcolorado, he says rejoining the board has brought him “full circle.”
“When I first was on the board, it seemed like some of the people were kind of old,” he says with a laugh. “Now here I am. I don’t want to be an anchor to the past but hope I can help provide context and support as we look at new ideas.”
Sidell has been President of Gart Properties since 1999. He is responsible for leading the organization including an aggressive acquisition program and continued execution of niche development opportunities. Prior to joining Gart Properties, he was a principal with Trammell Crow Company.
Aza Squarer is clear about her reasons for rejoining the JEWISHcolorado Board.
“I believe in the mission, and I want to be supportive,” she says. “I see JEWISHcolorado as the convener, looking into the future as well as maintaining Jewish continuity and addressing today’s needs.”
Squarer hopes to develop programs that will ensure that today’s youth feel the same loyalty and commitment to Israel as their parents and grandparents. She also believes in the importance of the emergency campaigns mounted by JEWISHcolorado.
“Whether it means our support of Ethiopia or Ukraine, we are thinking about Jews who live in the diaspora,” she says. “We are keeping Judaism alive for the next generation.”
Squarer’s commitment to Jewish continuity is personal and goes back a generation. Her father immigrated to Palestine in 1936 and fought in the War of Independence. Her mother immigrated to Israel in 1949. Aza was born and raised in Israel and left after her service in the Israel Defense Forces.
“My parents built a country,” she says. “Then I left. But even though I am not in Israel, I want to continue the work my parents did through JEWISHcolorado by connecting Israelis with American Jewry. We know that Israel needs international support.”
In addition to serving on the JEWISHcolorado Board, Squarer has been active in Women’s Philanthropy and the Jewish Community Relations Council, traveling with Colorado political leaders on the Public Officials Mission to Israel.
“For most public officials who take this trip, it is their first visit to Israel,” she says. “When they go on the mission, they get it. They understand the size of Israel, the complexities of the country, and the challenges that people face.”
Squarer left the JEWISHcolorado Board when she became president of Congregation Bonai Shalom in Boulder. Now that she has stepped away from that role, she has rejoined the Board. She also serves on the Board of the Colorado Council for AIPAC and on the Board of Directors for CU Boulder Hillel.
JEWISHcolorado thanks those members of the Board who completed their terms on June 30, 2023: Tiffany Glucksman Appel, Jodi Cooper, Lisa Mintz, Ginna Rinkov, and Mike Sophir.