Denver Jewish Day School = Unique

Simon, David and Sam Kaufman
  • Alumni
  • Annual Dinner
Simon Kaufman, Class of 2012

By Simon Kaufman, Class of 2012

Simon, David and Sam Kaufman
Pictured left to right: Simon Kaufman (Class of 2012), alumni parent David Kaufman, Sam Kaufman (Class of 2010) 

As I got ready to watch the Human Fountains on Thursday night at Denver Jewish Day School's Annual Dinner, I couldn't help but think of what so many people had asked me earlier in the night. "Can you believe what this group has turned into?" Most guests naturally couldn't fathom that a one-time Color War act could end up being shared millions of times online and eventually land on national television.

I smiled and played along with their disbelief, and then enjoyed a front row ticket as the Human Fountains spoke about their Denver JDS experience and performed on stage. The truth is though, I could believe all their success, because as one of the performer’s brothers, I've always had a front row ticket to watch the Human Fountains. In fact — and I hate to brag — I was a groupie before they were big time. I remember my brother Sam Kaufman and Joel Lowinger spending hours at our home on play dates trying to perfect lyrics to songs that they could sing to their friends at school to illicit giggles. I kid you not, they'd just hang out in Sam's room and listen to the same song on repeat. (See, even celebrities weren't always cool.) And having attended Denver Jewish Day School kindergarten through twelfth grade with the other half of the quartet, I got to watch up close as Ben Tillis and Elan Leftin, two of my best friends, turned a knack for humor that once consistently landed them in trouble in our elementary school days, into a viral comedy act.

So, could I believe it? That my brother and a few of my best friends turned a 2010 Color War performance into a national sensation? Of course I could. As I listened to the Fountains reflect on their time at the school, one thing stood out. The Fountains claimed that their act, like the school, was unique. I was immediately reminded of a former high school English teacher who lectured us on the use of the word “unique.”

Unique means one of a kind, he told us. Something cannot be “very” unique or “really” unique. It either is unique or it is not.

Another magician or singer on a television talent show competition? Not unique. A group of four guys spitting water? Unique.

Denver Jewish Day School? Unique.

Sure, their act may be one of a kind, but listening to them speak, and hearing from the night’s honorees, I was reminded that their story at this school is not unique. It’s merely one of an endless number of stories of students who took the skills they learned at Denver JDS and applied them to do big things after graduating —  no different than the doctors, lawyers, business owners, philanthropists and others who also got their start at the school. The Fountains’ stage may have just been a little larger.

As a member of the Denver JDS community, how lucky we all are to have front row seats to see all of it.

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