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The Roth Center's First Decade

Anniversary events celebrate center's impact

The Roth Center for Jewish Life will celebrate its 10th anniversary April 11 through 13, marking a milestone in its history as a gathering place for Jews from Dartmouth and the wider Upper Valley community.

Roth Center poster
Poster Design by Jermaine Johnson

The celebration will include religious observations, panel discussions, and a gala concert, as well as opportunities for visitors and members of the center’s congregation to visit informally. The events are sponsored by Dartmouth College Hillel, the Jewish students’ organization, and the Upper Valley Jewish Community (UVJC), a community congregation. UVJC and Hillel are both housed in the Roth Center and jointly support the building and its staff, including the services of Michael Steinberg Class of 1961 Rabbi Edward Boraz.

Anniversary events open to the public begin Saturday, April 12 at 1 p.m., with a panel discussion in Filene Auditorium, entitled “Israel at Dartmouth,” and featuring, as moderator, Ambassador Kenneth Yalowitz, director of the Dickey Center for International Understanding, Associate Professor of Religion Ehud Benor, and Dartmouth student and alumni panelists. At 2:30 p.m., a panel moderated by Provost Barry Scherr and including Dean Emeritus of the Tucker Foundation the Rev. Dr. Fred Berthold will examine “The Impact of the Roth Center on Jewish Life at Dartmouth.” At 8:30 p.m. in Rollins Chapel, pianists Sally Pinkas and Evan Hirsch will present a concert of works by Schubert, Brahms, Copland, and Fauré. The concert is free and open to the public.

Before the Roth Center opened in 1997, the closest active synagogue was more than an hour’s drive from the Upper Valley.  Dartmouth Hillel and UVJC had begun sharing resources and the services of a rabbi and observing the Sabbath and holidays together. However, the two groups’ activities were hampered by the small space in which they met.

Named for primary donor Steven Roth ’62, Tuck ’63, a New York City real estate developer, the Roth Center provides a sanctuary, library, kosher dining room,  lounges, and meeting rooms in which smaller groups could meet and the UVJC could hold religious education classes. Now as many as 70 Dartmouth students regularly gather for Friday night Shabbat dinners at the center and more than 200 pass through the center during high holidays like Passover, compared to the few dozen who could be accommodated in the small house that served as Hillel headquarters before the center opened, says Rabbi Boraz. UVJC membership has increased by 40 percent to its current roster of approximately 200 families and its religious education program has grown by more than 30 percent.

For more information on the Roth Center celebration, contact Claudia Palmer at 646-0410 or via e-mail.  


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Last Updated: 12/17/08