False Jewish Messiah or Puritan Hero?

CU Boulder Peak to Peak Lecture Series Heads to Trinidad, CO Featuring Prof. Nan Goodman

Shabbitai SeviSaturday, September 24 | 4:30 PM
Temple Aaron | 407 S. Maple Street, Trinidad, CO

As part of the new CU Boulder Peak to Peak Series, Professor Nan Goodman, director of the Program in Jewish Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder, will deliver a captivating talk about Sabbatai Sevi, an eccentric 17th century Jew who declared himself the Jewish Messiah, inspired the greatest messianic frenzy in Jewish history, and, despite a quick downfall, became an unlikely hero for Puritans in the New World.

The event will take place in Trinidad, CO in Temple Aaron, the oldest synagogue in Colorado, and provides a chance for participants to celebrate this majestic building and its rich Trinidad history before it closes its doors after 127 years.

In addition to Professor Goodman’s talk, the evening will feature an artists and authors soirée, the culminating event of the Trinidad Literary Arts Festival hosted by the Trinidad Area Arts Council, as well as a short discussion of the history of Temple Aaron by Kirby Stokes, director of the Trinidad History Museum, and Randy Rubin, whose family has served as synagogue caretakers since the 1980s. The talk will be followed by a gallery exhibition featuring artwork by local Trinidad artists and an oral history opportunity for participants to share their stories related to Temple Aaron and the Jewish history of Trinidad.

Counter culture and cultural movements are no stranger to Trinidad. From Drop City, America’s first rural hippie artists’ commune, to the present day’s ArtoCade art car parade, and the first “Space to Create” state program for affordable housing for artists, Trinidad is again making history. This event is brought to you by the Trinidad Area Arts Council, Corazon de Trinidad Creative District, History Colorado Trinidad and the Rubin family in partnership with the CU Boulder Program in Jewish Studies and the CU Boulder Office for Outreach and Engagement.

Join CU Boulder and local community partners to celebrate Temple Aaron, the oldest synagogue in Colorado, before it closes its doors after 127 years. Due to the age, design, and character of the synagogue, this event will require navigating stairs. After careful consideration and in consultation with the university’s ADA Coordinator, we have determined there is not feasible way to provide stair-free access. In an effort to make the event accessible to all, we will make a video of the event available to everyone.


Event Itinerary:

4:30PM - 5:15PM  Artists and Authors Soirée, culminating event of the Trinidad Literary Arts Festival

5:20PM - 5:30PM History of Temple Aaron, with Kirby Stokes and Randy Rubin

5:30PM - 6:30PM "False Jewish Messiah or Puritan Hero?" Talk with Prof. Nan Goodman

6:30PM - 7:15PM Gallery exhibition and oral history opportunity


Magicians, mystics, mischief-makers and messiahs take center stage in the brand new CU Boulder Peak to Peak Lecture series, a program that brings CU Boulder humanities scholars to communities around Colorado to share innovative perspectives on historical figures, events and enduring questions. It is offered through the Program in Jewish Studies, a non-religious academic program that explores Jewish culture, history and society, in partnership with the CU Boulder Office for Outreach and Engagement Arts and Humanities Initiative.