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Rabbi Manuel Laderman Remembered for Years of Service

March 04, 2019

The inscription on the bronze bas-relief portrait of Rabbi Manuel Laderman that now hangs in the lobby of Denver Health reads in part, “In gratitude for his half-century of distinguished and devoted service to the people of Denver.”

The portrait was created 25 years ago for Denver General’s Trauma Center (as it was called then) and was recently relocated to a place of prominence during an event attended by his admirers from across the community on February 21st.  The program was introduced by CEO Dr. Robin Wittenstein followed by remarks from longtime friend, Jonathan Perlmutter.  The rabbi’s grandson, Zev Laderman, flew in from Israel to deliver thanks and reminiscences on behalf of his entire family.  Rabbi Bruce Dollin officiated.

Although best known as the longtime spiritual leader of Denver’s Hebrew Educational Alliance synagogue he also served for fourteen years on the City of Denver’s Board of Health and Hospitals from 1958-1972, the last eight years as its chairman.  It was a tumultuous time and he was at the helm during one of the most remarkable periods in Denver Health history.  After an effort in the early sixties to close down the hospital and send its patients to Colorado General, the Board mounted forceful opposition to the proposal.  With support from the citizens of Denver and a new mayor, a $12 million state-of-the-art hospital was built (now known as Pavilion A) and the hospital's emergency department was put on a path that one day would make it one of the best in the nation.  Simultaneously, the first neighborhood health center was established in Denver’s race-torn Five Points neighborhood—a courageous and visionary act given the political climate.  The innovative clinic was one of the first in the nation providing medical and dental services to thousands of patients and offering jobs and training to hundreds of people who lived in the neighborhood.
   
Said Robin Engleberg, Denver Health Foundation program manager, during the re-dedication of the portrait, “This is a modest but sincere effort to perpetuate the memory of Rabbi Manuel Laderman, who gave so much to our community. Many of us know him because we and our families had close, deep and personal connections to him. He officiated at our bat mitzvahs and weddings (like mine), or he was there with us at the graveside of our parents and grandparents. But as time passes it's easy to forget the many, many ways he impacted our community during a long and illustrious career. It's my privilege personally, and an honor for Denver Health to participate in the rededication of a beautiful memorial to him. It's time he has a place of honor in the entry to the hospital.  We hope that everyone who enters will be reminded of his many accomplishments.”

Click HERE to see photos from the event.

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