Mendel Mintz is executive director of the Chabad Jewish Community Center, which brings the Aspen Jewish community together. Several years ago, Mendel Mintz began a program called Golshim L’Chaim: Ski to Live, a program that brings wounded Israeli veterans to Aspen for a week of skiing and healing. Below, Rabbi Mendel Mintz answers questions about Ski to Live, a program that recently caught the attention of a documentary filmmaker.
Q: You founded Ski to Live several years ago. Can you explain the program?
Mendel Mintz: I’d be happy to! Golshim L’Chaim brings wounded Israeli veterans to Aspen for a week each year for Ski to Live. We teach them to ski and snowboard, as well as provide the experience to meet the great Jewish community at the center.
Q: You provide lodging and meals to these veterans while they’re in town?
Mendel Mintz: Yes, they stay with us while they’re in town and we provide all meals.
Q: How does the Chabad Community Center pay for Golshim L’Chaim?
Mendel Mintz: The program is funded through generous donations of our members and other members of the Jewish community who recognize the important role these soldiers played in defending their homeland.
Q: Tell us a little about Beyond the Boundaries.
Mendel Mintz: Beyond the Bound is a film that chronicles the journey of four injured Israeli vets as they travel to Colorado to participate in Golshim L’Chaim. It was directed by an award-winning director and it has been making the rounds of film festivals around the world. Nina Zale produced it and I highly recommend people see this inspiring film.
Q: Ski to Live isn’t just about skiing and snowboarding, is it?
Mendel Mintz: Ski to Live helps these veterans develop self-esteem and confidence, as well as give them a newfound feeling of independence and accomplishment.
Q: How much does it cost to bring soldiers over for Golshim L’Chaim: Ski to Live?
Mendel Mintz: The cost of sponsoring only one soldier for the week is $5,000, so every donation is put to good use.
Q: How do I get involved?
Mendel Mintz: To donate, go to jccaspen.com and fill out the form. Your money will go toward the 2013 Golshim L’Chaim: Ski to Live.
Rabbi Mendel Mintz lives in Aspen, where he helps inspire and educate the Jewish community. Mendel Mintz and the Chabad Community Center welcomes Jews of all backgrounds.