Shabbat Shalom: Leaders Who Walk With the People

Jul 6, 2023 | Article

Shabbat Shalom: Leaders Who Walk With the People

Jul 6, 2023

By: Renée Rockford
President & CEO

During the incredible renovation of JEWISHcolorado’s building several years ago, the framed black and white photos of past board chairs from 1941 to 2000 were packed up and placed in storage for safekeeping. They have finally been retrieved and are now being digitized with the help of professional archivist Alison Levin.

The photos include many prominent and familiar community names such as 1941 Board Chair Abraham Bernard (A.B.) Hirschfeld, who founded Hirschfeld Press in the basement of a fruit stand at 17th and Larimer with a $39 hand-operated press. In 1949, the A.B. Hirschfeld Press was the largest printer between Chicago and the West Coast.

Dave Cook, who served as board chair in 1949, opened Dave Cook Sporting Good Company in 1936 in Denver at 1601 Larimer Street. The business was eventually bought by longtime rival Gart Sports.

And there was Richard B. Tucker, who served as board chair in 1961. He was director of Vectra Bank, Officer of United Way in Denver, and trustee and board member of National Jewish Hospital. He also was the husband of the late Charlotte Tucker, in whose name a JEWISHcolorado award is given annually for young leadership.

Post 2000, JEWISHcolorado thrived under the leadership of familiar names including Diana Zeff Anderson and Ruth Malman, and most recently, JEWISHcolorado has benefitted from the chairmanship and experience of Rob Kaufmann, and now, current Board Chair Ben Lusher.

What do all these people have in common? The answer lies in this week’s parsha, Parshat Pinchas, which describes the dialog between God and Moses over the transfer of leadership from Moses to Joshua.

The famous biblical commentator Rashi said the Torah constructs for us the image of ideal leaders, and that they possess humility, dedication, tolerance, and responsibility. The wording itself is worth a look. It is translated to read, appoint a leader, “who will go forth before them and come before them.” Rashi explains this in the following way: the leader to replace Moses must be someone “not like the kinds of the (gentile) nations who sit at home and send their armies to war, but to walk with the people.” The concept of a commander calling his people to follow began with Moses, and we are taught that a worthy leader takes responsibility and marches at the head of the nation.

For all those in our community who lead and serve on JEWISHcolorado’s board (including these new board members) and all volunteer boards and committees of our Jewish organizations, our schools, and synagogues, thank you. Your guidance and influence matter, especially in a time when it has simply become easier to decline the call to lead.

Collectively and individually, you are making a difference in moving our community forward.

With gratitude and best wishes for Shabbat Shalom.

Please email Renée Rockford at with questions or comments.