Skip to main content

Jacob Gorden Papers

Identifier: B281


Jacob Gorden who was a Schohet, Talmudic scholar, and later a mohel, emigrated to Denver in 1914 from Kolki,Russia to join his uncle, Velvel Heller. Soon Jacob had saved enough to bring his wife Charlotte and daughter Bess over, and the family settled on the Denver's west side. Two more daughters and a son were born in the family. Collection contains papers and notes related to Jacob Gorden from 1920, documents, and digitized photographs from circa 1900 to 1969.


  • circa 1900-1977


Language of Materials

The papers are in English, Russian, and Yiddish. A few pages of Russian passport are in French.

Biographical / Historical

Jacob Gorden was born in Kolki, Russia, on June 15, 1887. He was a shochet (ritual slaughterer of Kosher meat), a mohel (one who performs the ritual circumcision), and a Talmudic scholar in Denver's West Side Jewish community. He and his wife Charlotte Gorden were leaders of the Orthodox Jewish community on Denver's west side and helped found the Hebrew Educational Alliance. Velvel Heller, Jacob Gorden's uncle, had established himself as a schohet in Denver. Velvel Heller wrote his nephew of the opportunities in Denver, and in 1914, Jacob decided to immigrate to Denver. Jacob Gorden became a schohet and, by 1917, had saved enough money to bring his wife, Charlotte Gorden, and their three-year-old daughter Bess to Denver. In the next few years, two more daughters and a son were born to the Gordens. Jacob Gorden also began work as a mohel in 1935. In 1944 Jacob Gorden was asked by Dr. Maurice Shapiro of Albuquerque to perform ritual circumcisions in New Mexico. In Albuquerque, a blindfold was placed over Jacob Gorden's eyes for the car ride to the secret destination. Jacob Gorden only told his wife where he had been after the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan. He could then tell his wife that he had been in Las Animas, New Mexico. In 1926, Charlotte Gorden, Mrs. Chernyk, and Mrs. S. Friedman began the Beth David Sisterhood to build a school for Jewish children. The Beth David Brotherhood was formed to help with fundraising, and the two groups founded the Beth Jacob Hebrew School at the Gorden home at 1490 Julian Street in 1929. The Denver Hebrew Institute was willing to merge with the new group, and the organization became the Hebrew Education Alliance (HEA), an Orthodox synagogue with a focus on Jewish Education. In 1932, Manuel Laderman became the long-term rabbi for the HEA. Jacob Gorden became a Reverend at the Hebrew Educational Alliance. The HEA opened the Hebrew High School in 1946. Charlotte Gorden died in Denver on February 6, 1960; After she died, Jacob married Mrs. Pearl Goldstein, who was born in Hungary. Jacob Gorden died at the age of eighty-nine on March 7, 1977.


1.25 Linear Feet : flat box (19 x 15 x 3 inches)

Scope and Contents

Documents and Correspondence re Jacob Gorden: Naturalization Papers, 1920; Russian Passport, 1913; Army Waiver, 1910; Affidavit re Rev. Gorden as assistant reverend of Hebrew Educational Alliance, 1935; Miscellaneous correspondence in Yiddish; Marriage Certificate, Ketubah; Driver's license; Selective Service registration; Miscellaneous Russian documents.


The papers are arranged in two series: 1. Correspondence and Notes, ; 2. Documents, .

Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and Archives Repository

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