Las Vegas Jewish Community – Then and Now



Image result for congregation montefiore las vegas nm

In collaboration with the Las Vegas Arts Council, the Las Vegas Jewish Community has prepared a month-long exhibit celebrating both their historical and contemporary influences on northern New Mexico. From the descendants of the crypto-Jews through the pioneer merchants and the first synagogue in the territory, up to and including the continuing contributions of today’s socially active residents, the Jewish community has left an enduring imprint.

The exhibit includes Judaica, historical photographs, art, and multiple presentations.

Marcus Gottschalk

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Rabbi Carp

Rabbi Chavah Carp, welcomed Shabbat
(the Jewish Sabbath) on opening night with refreshments (an “oneg”) and a slide presentation by local historian and author, Marcus Gottschalk who presented “The Taichert Collection: A View of 20th Century Las Vegas”  The presentation was an informal exploration of the Taichert Family through the lens of their family camera.  Open discussion of the images from their impressive family photographic archive, gave those who attended an insight into the family’s life and business, and illuminated many members of the Jewish community.       


Stories from the Past,
Stories from the Heart
Storyteller Night at LVAC
A great crowd joined us for the stories of conversos and crypto-Jews and the continuing immigration of European refugees PLUS the contemporary Jewish community.

The ADELE ILFELD, played by Las Vegas actress Karyl Lyne, whose love for music and theater inspired her husband to build Ilfeld Auditorium,  paid us a visit, along with Molly Longoria, Ted Herberger, and Nancy Terr.

Jewish Pioneer Journals was a presen-tation by award-winning author, photographer, and journalist, SHARON NEIDERMAN.

The exhibit is open through August 25, from 1:00 – 4:00 pm, Tuesday through Saturday and by appointment, and videos will be played on request. Contact 505-425-1085 for more information.


Rabbi Chavah Carp was ordained in 1993, and was the Spiritual Leader in Taos, New Mexico from 1981 -1998. She also worked in Taos was as a silk-screen artist printing works from original oils for artists. In 1999 she attended UNM in Albuquerque.  After 10 years of being the Rabbi at Solomon Schecter Day School, Rabbi Carp has now opened a place of learning that offers classes in Art,  Spiritual Growth and Teachings from the Jewish tradition which is called Makor, which means Source.  She travels to Las Vegas to serve the Congregation Montefiori on High Holy Days and special days of celebration.

Marcus Gottschalk earned a Master’s Degree in Public Affairs with a concentration in Historical and Cross-Cultural Perspectives from New Mexico Highlands University in 2007.  With his local history writings he produced as a college student, along with his avid interest in historical and economic matters, he has published four editions of his book Pioneer Merchants of Las Vegas.  For twenty years he was a multi-color renovation painting contractor in New Mexico, but for his second career he has become a computer/business teacher at West Las Vegas High School.

Sharon Niederman is an award-winning Southwestern author, journalist and photographer living in Raton, New Mexico, with her husband, Charles Henry, Springer spaniel, Samantha and rescue Airedale terrier, Kelsey. Her work has appeared in virtually every regional and numerous national publications. One of the region’s most prolific freelance writers, she specializes in cuisine, travel, history, literature and spirituality. Her recent “New Mexico Farm Table Cookbook” received the New Mexico-Arizona Book Award and her “Signs and Shrines: Spiritual Journeys Across New Mexico” was awarded the prestigious Lowell Thomas Travel Writing Award. She is past president of the New Mexico Jewish Historic Society and the New Mexico Press Women. She currently works as a tour leader for Road Scholar, leading tours throughout northern New Mexico. Her varied, vibrant, and noteworthy career is outlined here, and she is a much-loved honorary member of the Las Vegas Jewish Community.

Jim Terr promotes Las Vegas,NM, in every way, every day.  He has produced countless YouTube videos that showcase Las Vegas and can be credited with drawing many visitors to see for themselves.  Other videos are political, personal,  satirical, and historical.  He has netted over 1.7 million YouTube views!  His is also a singer, songwriter, actor, and proud social activist.

Rock Ulibarri represents District 1 and is also the Chairman of the San Miguel County Commission.  He spent many years as a middle school teacher and continues to use his expertise to teach youth leadership at the community college for at-risk youth. In addition, he taught workshops in grassroots organizing and nonviolent resistance at United World College USA and guided students into the backcountry to teach Leave No Trace wilderness practices.  He is also now an advisory board member of HECHO, Hispanics Enjoying Camping, Hunting, and the Outdoors.

The Ulibarris were one of the original 36 families that settled Las Vegas, New Mexico, and Rock is the 7th generation on his family’s ranch in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.   As he has written, “I am also very aware of my own Jewish ancestry. It’s my understanding that my ancestors were Sephardic Jews who came to the New World to escape the religious persecution of the expulsion period in Spain.”