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Rayor Family Torah Ark Curtains

 Collection
Identifier: B341
The Jewish community in Cheyenne, Wyoming, committed to building a new synagogue around 1950. The leaders of the community, including Bernard Leon Rayor, equally provided the funds for the building. When Mt. Sinai Congregation was completed, B.L. Rayor donated the ark curtains, which were left unused because his name was embroidered on them. The curtains were rediscovered in storage. Collection contains a red Bimah curtain and valance for the Ark Embroidered in gold threads and sequins on the curtain is a crown, two lions, Hebrew letters standing for "the crown of the Torah, and the Ten Commandments in Hebrew between the lions. Both the curtain and the valance have gold colored trim and fringe.

Dates

  • between 1950-1951

Creator

Extent

3 Linear Feet (Box 45 x 31 x 7.5 inches)

Biographical / Historical

The leaders of the community, including Bernard Leon Rayor, equally provided the funds for the building. When Mt. Sinai Congregation was completed, B. L. Rayor donated the ark curtains, which were left unused because his name was embroidered on them. The curtains were recently rediscovered in storage. Bernard Leon Rayor moved to Cheyenne with his wife Bessie and young family in 1918. As a builder and real estate broker since 1924, he donated the grounds for the elementary school and for the Veterans Hospital. Rayor Avenue was named in his honor. B.L. Rayor’s youngest daughter Dorothy and son-in-law Joseph Feldman were committed members of the synagogue. After Joseph Feldman’s death, Dorothy Feldman donated his large collection of Jewish books to the synagogue to start its library. Mrs. Feldman became the synagogue librarian. The synagogue is still active for the small Cheyenne Jewish community. B.L. Rayor’s youngest son, Harold Rayor, a Cheyenne native, lives in the Denver area with his wife Connie, a Jewish Denver native for generations (her grandmother, whose family were sharecroppers on a horse farm, was born in Denver in 1896). Their oldest two daughters (Linda and Diane) were born in Cheyenne, and the youngest (Janet) in Denver, where they were raised. Harry Rachofsky, an immigrant from Poland via Manchester, England, was invited to join in a relative’s clothing store in Central City, Colorado. (Harry went on to have a series of unsuccessful general stores in various locations in Colorado; he also purchased a non-productive silver mine in La Plata County in 1916.) Miriam Kobey lived in Central City initially, but moved to Denver for a more observant Jewish life; she became a prominent midwife in Denver. Harry Rachofsky married his niece, Miriam Kobey’s daughter Betsy. Harry and Betsy had six children; their youngest, Bernard Leon, was born in Denver in 1892. Shortly after, the family moved to Durango, where Bernard Leon grew up. In 1909, Bernard Leon and his brothers changed their name from Rachofsky to Rayor to improve job prospects.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and Archives Repository

Contact:
2150 East Evans Avenue
Denver CO 80208
(303) 871-3428