Please mark your calendars for these upcoming events.

  • Wednesday evening, 09/24/2014, 7:00 P.M.: Arev Rosh Hashanah Services, led by Ruz Gulko, at The Bethel. Oneg to follow.
  • Thursday morning, 09/25/2014, 10:00 A.M.: Rosh Hashanah Morning Services, led by Ruz Gulko, at The Bethel.
  • Tashlich at Giant Springs to follow.
  • Congregation no-host lunch to follow, at Maple Gardens, 5401 9th Ave. S.

The address of the Bethel is 1009 18th Avenue Southwest. click here for map and directions.


Try not to think of this as RYE BREAD. A Happy and healthy New Year to you all.

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, starts soon. Unlike January 1st, which is filled with merrymaking and parties, Rosh Hashanah is a time for introspection, and purifying one’s soul. In conjunction with this is the custom of Tashlich, where people take crumbs and throw them into a river or other body of water to symbolize throwing away one’s sins and starting the new year fresh.

However, times have changed…

Taking a few crumbs to Tashlich from whatever old bread is in the house lacks subtlety, nuance and religious sensitivity. Instead, consider these options this year for Rosh Hashanah:

For ordinary sins, use White Bread
For exotic sins, French Bread
For particularly dark sins, Pumpernickel
For complex sins, Multi-grain
For twisted sins, Pretzels
For tasteless sins, Rice Cakes
For sins of indecision, Waffles
For sins committed in haste, Matzah
For sins of chutzpah, Bread that’s fresh
For substance abuse, Poppy Seed
For committing arson, Toast
For committing auto theft, Caraway
For being ill tempered, Sourdough
For silliness, Nut Bread
For jingoism,Yankee Doodles
For excessive use of irony, Rye Bread
For telling bad jokes, Corn Bread
For hardening our hearts, Jelly doughnuts
For war-mongering, Kaiser Rolls
For immodest dressing, Tarts
For causing injury or damage to others, Tortes
For promiscuity, Hot Buns
For being holier than thou, Bagels
For unfairly upbraiding another, Challah
For trashing the environment, Dumplings
For sins of laziness, Any Very Long Loaf
For lying, Baked Goods with Nutrasweet and Olestra
For the sins of the righteous, Angel Food Cake
For selling your soul, Devils Food Cake
For lust in your heart, Wonder Bread
For inhaling, Stoned Wheat
Remember, you don’t have to show your crumbs to anyone.


A Rocky Mountain Tekiah Gedolah
Rosh HaShanah: One Consideration
The origins of Rosh HaShanah are found in the Bible. The Book of Leviticus (23:24-25) declares: “In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall observe a day of rest, a memorial proclaimed with the blowing of the shofar, a holy convocation.” Although this day eventually became Rosh HaShanah, the Jewish New Year, it was not originally known as such.

In ancient times, there were four “new years” in the Jewish calendar. Each had a distinct significance:

The first of the Hebrew month of Nisan, the New Year of Kings, was the date used to calculate the number of years a given king had reigned.

-The first of the Hebrew month of Elul was the new year for tithing of cattle, a time when one of
every 10 cattle was marked and offered as a sacrifice to God.

-The first of the Hebrew month of Tishrei was the agricultural new year, or the New Year of the Years.

-The 15th of the Hebrew month of Sh’vat, known as Tu BiSh’vat, was the New Year of the Trees.

-Although the Torah refers to Nisan as the first month of the Jewish year, the first day of the month of Tishrei
emerged as what we now know as Rosh HaShanah.

The Babylonians, among whom the Jews lived, marked a “Day of Judgment” each year. They believed that, on that day, a convocation of their deities assembled in the temple of the god Marduk. These gods, they held, renewed the world and judged each human being, inscribing the fate of every individual on the tablet of destiny. The legend was a powerful one, and Jews most likely borrowed elements from it in shaping Rosh HaShanah. The meeting of many deities evolved into a belief that the one God judged every Jew on that day, immediately inscribing the completely righteous in the Book of Life and consigning the completely wicked to a sad fate. Those “in between,” however, had ten days, concluding on Yom Kippur, in which to repent before the Book of Life was sealed for the New Year.

In addition to the biblical “holy convocation” and the transformed Babylonian “Day of Judgment,” the first of Tishrei also was associated with the anniversary of the creation of the world, Yom Harat Olam. For these three compelling reasons, the first day of the seventh month ultimately became the “official” Jewish New Year.
It was not until about the second century C.E. that the holiday acquired the name Rosh HaShanah, which first appeared in the Mishnah [glossary?]. Before then, however, the day had many other designations. The oldest name, found in the Torah (Numbers 29:1) is Yom T’ruah (Day of Sounding the Shofar). Two other names, undoubtedly reflecting Babylonian influence, were Yom HaZikaron (Day of Remembrance) and Yom HaDin (Day of Judgment). While those terms are still preserved in the liturgy and rabbinic literature, Jews all over the world today usually refer to Rosh HaShanah as the Jewish New Year.
The Jewish Home (Revised Edition) by Daniel B. Syme

9/24-26 Rosh HaShanah

10/3-4 Yom Kippur

10/8-15 Sukkot

10/15-16 Sh’mini Atzeret & Simchat Torah


Now, here’s your chance. As an Aitz Chaim board member, you can lend your voice to decisions that are made by the Board concerning this congregation, and Jewish life in general in this community. You will have a chance to get together with other passionate Jews and discuss and make decisions that directly affect you now and in the future. Topics before the Board typically include such things as the upcoming schedule for services, upkeep of the cemetery, holiday planning, and annual budget concerns. Any congregation member is encouraged to attend board meetings as a spectator, but imagine yourself being an actual participant in making decisions about matters directly affecting your Jewish life in Great Falls. You could go down in Aitz Chaim history.

The Board members who are up for re-election for two-year terms are vice president Bruce Breslauer, who has declined to run again; Treasurer Aaron Weissman, Secretary Nadyne Weissman, and board member Stuart Lewin. Elections are typically held between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, and voting is done by secret ballot. As soon as times for the next board meeting and elections to the Board are confirmed, we will let you know right here. If you are considering running for election to the Aitz Chaim board, please let President Laura Weiss or any other Board member know so that we can include your name on the ballot.


Todah Robah to the following Congregation members who have offered their hospitality to Cantor ruz gulko and to provide the oneg:

  • Wednesday, 09/24/2014: Airport pickup for Ruz Gulko: Aaron Weissman
  • Wednesday evening, 09/24/2014: Dinner hosts for Ruz Gulko: Don and Helen Cherry
  • Oneg after Erev Rosh Hashanah Services. Challah will be provided by Meriam Nagel. Will need apples, honey, cookies, and drinks.

Please contact Helen at 727:2572 or to volunteer for the oneg.


Please mark your calendars for these upcoming events.

  • Friday evening, 10/03/2014: Erev Yom Kippur services led by Ruz Yulko, 7:00 P.M. at the Bethel.
  • Yom Kippur day schedule:

    • Saturday, 10/04/2014, 10:00 A.M.-12:00 P.M.: Yom Kippur Morning services led by Ruz Yulko at the Bethel.
    • Saturday afternoon, 10/04/2014, 12:00-3:00 P.M.: Break
    • Saturday afternoon, 10/04/2014, 3:00-4:00 P.M.: Discussion.
    • Saturday afternoon, 10/04/2014, 4:30-5:30 P.M.: Yitzkor
    • Saturday afternoon, 10/04/2014, 5:30-6:15 P.M.: Neilah
    • Saturday evening, 10/04/2014, 6:30 P.M.: Break the Fast Potluck, traditionally dairy (milchig.)

    The address of the Bethel is 1009 18th Avenue Southwest. click here for map and directions.



    Shalom, y’all!

    I chose to use this piece as it has a direct bearing on much of my teaching for Rosh HaShanah.

    Looking so forward to meeting everyone!


    My 85-year-old mother adores the TV show Jeopardy. You get answers in different categories, and you have to guess what the questions were. It’s on from 7 – 7:30 every weekday evening, and anyone who calls during this time is treated to a hasty apology and a promise to call back. She is one smart cookie, and loves guessing the correct questions before the contestants can. And yeah, she is right about 98 % of the time!

    Everyone has heard that old joke: “Why does a Jew answer a question with a question?” Answer: “Why not?” As silly as this may seem, I think we can look at it as an expression of Jewish non-binary thinking, combined with irony. After all, what do we really know? Our awareness and perceptions are clearly almost completely subjective, as has been demonstrated many times over in well-grounded scientific work. The Jewish response to this problem of knowing is to ask many questions, from different angles and approaches, turning it over and over until understanding, comprehension, and wisdom are achieved. That is why questions – sheh-eh-loht – are a critically important part of Jewish study, and, can often be more important than the answers.

    Now, here’s an interesting fact: there is only one word each in Hebrew for What, When, Where, etc. But when we come to the question Why, we learn that there are two separate words: maDU-ah, and LAmah. MaDU-ah means, literally, “What is known?” Basic facts are needed. LAmah means “For what?” That’s the big existential WHY. Why do good people suffer? Why do people do terrible things? WHY ME? Obviously, the LAmah is the much harder question to answer.

    Why do we need to ask so many questions? Which why?!


    Meriam Nagel has New Year’s cards for sale. She can be reached at 454-1123.


    Yahrzeit memorials are listed by consecutive Gregorian month, date, and year, if known, or at the beginning of the list for one calendar year following the date of passing.

    Compiled by Aitz Chaim over many years, this Yahrzeit list is maintained by the Ram’s Horn. Please send any corrections or additions to
    May the source of peace send peace to all who mourn, and comfort to all who are bereaved.

    Name of
    English Date of Passing Hebrew Date of Passing Deceased Relationship to
    Vicki Sherick Hawkesworth Oct 12, 2013 9 Cheshvan, 5774 Daughter of Jack and Diane Sherick
    Marvin Langsam Oct 27, 2013 23 Cheshvan, 5774 Brother of Helen Cherry
    William Meyer Sep 6, 1966 21 Elul, 5726 Grandfather of Diane Sherick
    Norman Nagel Sep 6, 1976 11 Elul, 5736 Father of Meriam Nagel
    Harriet Renne Sep 11, 2009 22 Elul, 5769 Mother of Michael Renne
    Joe Barrett Sep 14, 1993 28 Elul, 5753 Uncle of Nadyne Weissman
    Paralee Poplack Shapiro Sep 20, 1999 10 Tishrei, 5760 Mother of Jeff Shapiro
    Zel Lana Jenings Sep 21, 2006 28 Elul, 5766 Niece of Diane Sherick
    Frances Langsam Sep 22, 1996 9 Tishrei, 5757 Mother of Helen Cherry
    Alfred Maleson Sep 24, 2009 6 Tishrei, 5770 Uncle of Wendy Weissman
    Nathan Rapaport Sep 27, 1925 9 Cheshvan, 5686 Grandfather of Nadyne Weissman
    Leila Rapaport Green Sep 27, 1967 23 Tishrei, 5728 Grandmother of Nadyne Weissman
    William Semple Sep 29, 2010 21 Tishrei, 5771 father of Doug Semple


    EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the bio sent to us by Ruz Gulko, who will lead our upcoming High Holy Day services.


    Ruz grew up in eastern Canada where she attended private Jewish day schools and universities in Toronto and Montreal. She has worked with most of the Jewish educational and religious institutions in the greater Seattle area since 1984, teaching Judaic Studies and Hebrew and leading prayer services, particularly at the Jewish Day School in Bellevue and at Herzl – Ner Tamid Congregation.
    Ruz also trains teachers, writes curriculum, and lectures in the general community. She has led Rosh Hodesh (Jewish New Month) and Special Seder programs for women. Ruz’ passion is for exploring and sharing Torah’s radically humanistic teachings.
    She started her free-lance teaching career in the fall of 2007, beginning a small school in her home –- GAN ARGAMAN (Purple Garden) – teaching all ages in all matters Jewish. Ruz is also a “chazzan-for-hire” on the local circuit, leading Shabbat services throughout the community. She has served as the creator, organizer and Hazzanit for the participatory High Holiday services at Herzl-Ner Tamid Congregation since 1991.
    Ruz loves to work with people of all ages, and believes that learning Torah and eating chocolate together could save the world.


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