Douglas County, smack dab in the middle of Colorado’s fastest-growing Jewish community, got its first permanent synagogue in the grand opening of the Chabad-Lubavitch Jewish Center of South Metro Denver.

According to officials, the new building – which also houses The Garden Preschool, believed to be suburban Denver’s first Jewish preschool – comes just in time for a community that the Allied Jewish Federation of Denver predicts will grow 130 percent over the next decade.

“We’ve made a community center for every Jew to feel at home,” stated Rabbi Avraham Mintz, director of the five-year-old organization that until this summer, operated out of a rented storefront. “We expect many, many people to come through our doors and we look forward to hosting them.”

More than 400 people attended the Aug. 30 ribbon-cutting ceremony in Lone Tree, including State Sen. Ted Harvey, Mayor David Casiano of nearby Parker, and Federation president and CEO Doug Sesserman.

Costing $2.5 million to complete, the center’s new home reflects the area’s skyrocketing Jewish population. Over the last five years, the Hebrew school operated by the rabbi and co-director Hindy Mintz has seen its enrollment triple. Over the same time period, attendance at High Holiday services has quadrupled.

In addition to a synagogue built to seat 400 people, and classrooms for the preschool and Hebrew school, the building also houses the local branch of the Friendship Circle – a Chabad-Lubavitch program that pairs teenage volunteers with children with special needs – a library, Judaica shop, and 13,000-square-foot playground.

David Casiano, mayor of Parker, Colo., speaks at the grand opening of the Chabad-Lubavitch Jewish Center of South Metro Denver.
David Casiano, mayor of Parker, Colo., speaks at the grand opening of the Chabad-Lubavitch Jewish Center of South Metro Denver.

“This is nothing short of a miracle,” said the rabbi, “and everyone has been chipping in and doing their part.”

According to Sue Stoveall, a sales and marketing manager from Centennial, who served on the three-year building project’s advisory board, the Chabad House’s previously rented space was problematic because of its size and concealed location.

“This new location is really central and is easy to get to for many people. A big sign on a major street like this will draw many people,” said Stoveall, whose children attend the Hebrew school. “The amount of space that we needed, we now have. The place is beautiful and beyond what we could have imagined. It’s amazing where we are now after only five years.”

Carol Bembry of Highland’s Ranch met the Mintzes when she gave them a tour of the area before their move from Brooklyn, N.Y. She said the new center will “enrich our community triple-fold.”

“It’s the most wonderful center ever, and has [already] drawn so many people,” she said. “There’s definitely a need for such a center. [The community] is growing by leaps and bounds, which is exactly how it’s supposed to be.”