Golda Meir’s Teenage Home in Colorado Rededicated as Center for Jewish Learning
The home where Israel’s first female prime minister, the late Golda Meir, lived as a teenager in Denver, Colorado, was rededicated this month to serve as a Jewish center for learning and engagement for local students.
The new Golda Meir House Museum, Meir’s only known residence in the United States, will feature Jewish learning classes, social gatherings, and activities hosted by the Chabad of Auraria Campus, according to Chabad.org. The house was relocated from its original location in northwest Denver to the 150-acre Auraria Higher Education Center (AHEC), which provides shared services, resources, and facilities for the University of Colorado, Denver; the Metropolitan State University of Denver; and the Community College of Denver.
“We hope to strengthen the relationship with AHEC and the Golda Meir House leadership to do amazing things for our students in the upcoming semesters and years,” said Rabbi Yisrael Moshe Ort, who is a co-director of Chabad of Auraria Campus along with his wife Aura.
She added, “We hope that all past and future Chabad events, activities and classes will be an aliyas ha’neshama (‘ascent of the soul’) for Golda Meir, and that we continue to grow in her merit.”
Born in 1898 in Kiev, then part of the Russian Empire, Meir, whose original name was Goldie Mabovitch, fled to the US with her family in 1906 and settled in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She had dreams of attending high school and later becoming a teacher, but her parents arranged a marriage for her without her consent, and married women were not allowed to teach in Wisconsin at the time.
In 1913, she ran away from home to live with her married sister’s family at their duplex, less than a mile from the present Auraria Campus, and attended North High School. She met her future husband Morris Meyerson in Denver, and began developing her political ideas. She emigrated with her husband and sister in 1921 to British Mandatory Palestine, where she later become the third female prime minister in the world.
The museum houses original Jewish artifacts, including a mezuzah and tzedakah box, used by Meir when she lived there.
“We hope to inspire the Jewish students of AHEC to be the next generation of Jewish leaders in their communities and throughout the world, like Golda Meir,” said Rabbi Ort.
Eytan Michaelson, the son of Israeli-born Colorado State Rep. Dafna Michaelson Jenet, told Chabad.org about Meir, “she was an amazing woman who accomplished so much, and her home is the perfect place for us to gather as a community.”
Meir’s former home in Denver had fallen into disrepair and was slated for demolition several times before a small group of citizens worked to save it. After the Denver City Council spared the house from destruction, the duplex was relocated twice until it found a permanent home on the Auraria Campus in 1988. It was designated as a Denver landmark in 1995, and a total restoration of the home took place with the help of private contributions and a grant from the Colorado Historical Fund.