Shalom Chaverim,

As Holocaust Remembrance Day comes to a close, and we remember to never forget, let us now also look forward, with hope in our hearts! Here is an opportunity to strengthen the bonds of our Jewish community, and enjoy our bright and fulfilling future. Below is the agenda and registration form for this year’s MAJCO 2015 Shabbaton. We look forward to seeing you in Butte.

MAJCO Shabbaton 2015 in Butte
Honoring Our History and Celebrating Our Community
June 26-28, 2015
Congregation B’nai Israel
327 West Galena Street
Butte, MT 59701

Congregation B’nai Israel Watercolor by Sonia Ehrlich, 1976

Nancy Oyer
Congregation B’nai Israel President

MAJCO Agenda and Registration 2015

MAJCO Shabbaton 2015 in Butte
Honoring Our History and Celebrating Our Community
June 26-28, 2015

Congregation B’nai Israel
327 West Galena Street
Butte, MT 59701


All Events at the Synagogue

Friday, June 26

  • 5:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Registration
  • 6:00 p.m. – 7:20 p.m. Dinner
  • 7:30 p.m. – Shabbat Evening Service led by Rabbi David Fine

Saturday, June 27

  • 9:00 a.m. – 9:50 a.m. Torah Study led by Rabbi Ed Staffman
  • 10:00 a.m. – 11:50 a.m. Shabbat Morning Service led by Rabbi David Fine
  • 12:00 p.m. – 12:50 p.m. Lunch
  • 1:00 p.m. – 1:50 p.m. Programming led by Rabbi David Fine
  • 2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Free Time
  • 6:00 p.m. – 7:20 p.m. Dinner
  • 7:30 p.m. – 8:20 p.m. Programming – Ellen Burke, Area VP, Desert Mountain Region of Hadassah
  • 8:30 p.m. – 9:20 p.m. Programming – Jewish Music or To Be Determined
  • 9:30 p.m. – Havdallah (Sunset is 9:26 p.m.)
  • 9:45 p.m. – Hadassah Silent Auction Opens
  • 10:15 p.m. – Hadassah Silent Auction Closes

Sunday, June 28

  • 8:00 a.m. – 8:50 a.m. MAJCO Business Meeting (with breakfast for attendees)
  • 9:00 a.m. – 10:20 a.m. Butte History/Jewish History Custom Trolley Tour – Group A
  • 10:30 a.m. – 11:50 a.m. Butte History/Jewish History Custom Trolley Tour – Group B
  • 12:00 p.m. – 12:50 p.m. – Lunch with Programming – Bruce Barrett, American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Regional Director for the Mountain West Region. Lunch sponsored and executed by Montana Hadassah
  • 1:00 p.m. MAJCO Adjourns
  • 1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Hadassah Business Meeting

MAJCO Shabbaton 2015 in Butte
Honoring Our History and Celebrating Our Community
June 26-28, 2015

Congregation B’nai Israel
327 West Galena Street
Butte, MT 59701


Blocks of rooms are reserved at two hotels in Butte. Mention “MAJCO/Congregation B’nai Israel” to get the following rates:

  • UPTOWN: Historic Finlen Hotel, 100 East Broadway, Butte, MT, 59710. 406.723.5461. Rates are $82 for a single and $92 for a double, plus tax. Rooms held until May 26. The location is one-half mile (7 blocks) from the synagogue.
  • ON THE FLATS: Best Western Plus Butte Plaza Inn, 2900 Harrison Avenue, Butte, MT, 59701. 406.494.3500 Flat Rate: $99 plus tax for 1-4 people, specify 1 king or 2 queens. Rooms held until June 5. Includes full breakfast and shuttle. To see amenities, visit the Best Western website.

Additional Information

  • Trolley Tours: Tour designed by Congregation B’nai Israel, led by Ellen Crane, Director, Butte-Silver Bow Public Archives. Seats are limited, so reserve your spot ASAP by sending in your MAJCO registration. The tour starts and ends at the synagogue. You will be notified which tour you are on upon receipt of registration.
  • Donations to Safe Space: It is a Montana Hadassah tradition that when meeting for a Shabbaton, our members bring donations for the local women’s shelter. This year we ask all MAJCO participants to bring hotel or full size toiletry items. Items will be donated to Safe Space, the Butte women’s shelter.

Meals Included in the Registration Fee:

Friday Dinner: Organized by the Hettingers:

  • Chicken
  • potato salad
  • green and other salads
  • challah
  • gluten-free bread (to be available throughout the weekend)
  • desserts
  • coffee, tea, water

Saturday Lunch: Catered by Nancy’s Pasties:

  • Butte famous cocktail pasties
  • Butte famous sweet potato salad
  • cole slaw
  • brownies, lemon bars – desserts will be marked “contain dairy.”

Saturday Dinner: Catered by the Uptown Café:

  • Baked sole
  • tarragon chicken
  • artichoke curry rice salad
  • green beans almondine
  • pasta with marinara
  • poppy seed cake, –cake will be marked “contains dairy,”
  • fruit
  • coffee, tea, water
  • If you enjoy wine, please bring a bottle to share!

Sunday Breakfast for Business Meeting Attendees:

  • Bagels, shmear
  • hard-boiled eggs
  • smoked salmon
  • lox
  • onions, capers
  • coffee, tea, water
  • Any leftovers will be available to all.

MAJCO Shabbaton 2015 in Butte
Honoring Our History and Celebrating Our Community
June 26-28, 2015

Congregation B’nai Israel
327 West Galena Street
Butte, MT 59701

Registration Form

Name __________________________________________________________________________
Phone __________________________________________________________________________
Email __________________________________________________________________________

I am enclosing the following registration fee (please check appropriate box):

  • $54
  • I am a presenter and my fee is waived.
  • $__________ Amount other than $54
  • I cannot afford the full price, so I will pay what I can (and MAJCO will cover the rest)
  • I am able and willing to donate extra to defray costs, which also helps those who can’t afford the full price to attend
  • I am a presenter and my fee is waived, but I wish to donate.

The registration fee covers attendance to all services and programming; Friday dinner; Saturday lunch, dinner and entertainment; Sunday trolley tour and lunch.

I would like to reserve a seat on the trolley. My first choice is:

  • Group A: 9:00 a.m. – 10:20 a.m.
  • Group B: 10:30 a.m. – 11:50 a.m.

Please make your check payable to Congregation B’nai Israel and send it with this form to:
Nancy Oyer
527 Edison Street
Butte, MT 59701

Any questions, call Nancy at 406.490.8989, or email her at

Sipping and Dipping on the last day of Pesach

During our Seder, Marty taught us that many Jews Sip and Dip (their matzah) on the last day of Pesach. Apparently, those of us in Aitz Chaim are trendsetters, as we sip and dip at the Sip and Dip each year!

Todah Robah to everyone that joined us for a wonderful community Seder!




I hope the congregation will enjoy this, even though it’s a few days late.

Submitted by Helen Cherry




1 4-6–pound brisket
1 12-ounce jar of apricot preserves
1 envelope of dried onion soup mix


1. Place a large piece of extra-wide heavy-duty foil shiny side up in a roasting pan.

2. Sprinkle half the contents of the onion soup envelope on the foil.

3. Spread ½ of the jar of apricot preserves over the soup mix. Place the meat fat side up (if there is a fat side) in the pan over the preserves and dried soup mix.

4. Sprinkle the remaining soup mix over the meat, and dot with the remaining preserves, being careful that the spoon for the preserves never touches the meat.

5. Make a butcher’s fold with the foil: bring the long sides of the foil together and make 3 or 4 folds to seal close to but not tight on the meat. At either end, flatten the foil, fold up 2 times, fold the points in like you would wrapping a present, and then fold across the end 2 more times to seal the end. Repeat on the other side.

6. Place in a 300F oven and roast for 4 hours

7. Carefully open a corner of the foil and pierce the meat with a fork. If the fork goes in easily the meat is done. If not, seal foil and return to the oven for another 30 minutes. When the meat is fully cooked, carefully re-open the foil and pour the gravy into a container. Chill the meat in the foil in the refrigerator until it is cold. Freeze for later use, or slice the cold meat on a slight diagonal against the grain.

8. When ready to serve, skim the fat off the gravy, pour the gravy over the meat, place in a microwave-safe container and cover with plastic wrap, and microwave on high for 5-6 minutes or until heated through.



2 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 pounds beef brisket
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves crushed garlic
1 (1 ounce) package dry onion soup mix
1 pound dried apricots

PREP: 15 mins
COOK: 3 hrs 30 mins
READY IN: 3 hrs 45 mins


1. In a large heavy skillet, heat oil over medium high heat. When the oil is hot, brown the beef on all sides. If the brisket is too large, cut it in half first, and brown in two stages. Place the meat in a large Dutch oven with a lid.

2. Add onions to the drippings in the skillet. Saute over medium heat until the onions are beginning to brown. Stir in garlic, and cook for 2 or 3 more minutes. Pour over the brisket in the Dutch oven.

3. Empty one package of dry, instant onion soup mix over the browned onions and meat. Arrange all of the apricots on top of the soup mix. Pour enough water around outside of meat, not on top, to cover the sides of brisket. Cover.

4. Bake at 325 degrees F (160 degrees C) for 1 hour. Check liquid; if dish is starting to look dry, add a bit more water around meat. Cover, and cook another hour. Remove lid, and stir apricots into gravy. Leave uncovered, and cook for another hour. Stir gravy again, and add more water if the gravy is too thick. Meat should be very tender. If necessary, bake for an additional 1/2 hour. Cut across grain to serve. Serves six.

Note: Try making this in a crockpot or slow cooker.

Total Time: 3hrs 30mins
Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 3 hrs
Servings 8

This is an extraordinary flavourful, moist, and tender brisket. Recipe is from Jayne Cohen, printed in “Bon Appétit Magazine” (April 2002). It is Kosher for Passover.

Begin this at least one day ahead. Try chilling the meat separately from the gravy; it makes removing the fat from the gravy much easier. Read through entire directions before beginning.


2/3 cup quartered dried apricots, (about 4 ounces)
9 large garlic cloves
3-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4-1/2-5 lbs flat-cut beef brisket
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups chopped onions
2 medium carrots, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup dry red wine
3 cups homemade beef stock or 3 cups canned low sodium beef broth
2/3 cup pitted prunes, quartered
chopped fresh cilantro


1. Combine 1/3 cup apricots, 3 garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon cumin, salt, cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in processor. Using on/off turns, chop to coarse puree. Using small sharp knife, make 1/2-inch-deep slits all over brisket. Set aside 1 tablespoon apricot mixture. Press remaining apricot mixture into slits.

2. Position rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 300°F

3. Heat oil in heavy large ovenproof pot over medium-high heat. Sprinkle brisket all over with salt and pepper. Add brisket to pot and sauté until brown, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to plate, fat side up; spread with reserved 1 tablespoon apricot mixture.

4. Add onions to same pot. Sauté over medium-high heat 5 minutes. Add carrots, ginger, coriander, cayenne pepper, remaining 6 garlic cloves and 2 1/2 teaspoons cumin; sauté 3 minutes. Add wine and boil until reduced almost to glaze, stirring up any browned bits, about 5 minutes.

5. Return brisket to pot. Add stock and bring to simmer. Spoon some of vegetable mixture over brisket.

6. Cover pot and place in oven. Roast brisket 2 1/2 hours, basting every 30 minutes with pan juices. Add prunes and remaining 1/3 cup apricots. Cover; roast until brisket is tender, about 30 minutes longer. Cool brisket uncovered 1 hour. Chill uncovered until cold, then cover and keep chilled overnight.

7. Spoon off any solid fat from top of gravy; discard fat. Scrape gravy off brisket into pot. Place brisket on work surface. Slice brisket thinly across grain.

8. Bring gravy in pot to boil over medium-high heat. Boil to thicken slightly, if desired. Season gravy with salt and pepper.

9. Arrange sliced brisket in large ovenproof dish. Spoon gravy over. Cover with foil. (Can be made 2 days ahead; refrigerate.).

10. Rewarm covered brisket in 350°F oven about 30 minutes (or 40 minutes if chilled). Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.



The real story behind the orange on the seder plate

By Anita Silvert

I love setting the Passover table. Each item on the table has such meaning, and I’m not just talking about the matzoh and the shankbone. I’m talking about the pot that I’m pouring the chicken soup from-it’s from my grandmother’s Passover dishes. The tablecloth was given to me by my mother-in-law. The Seder plates were wedding presents. I make my mother’s matzoh balls (fluffy and light, of course!) You know what I mean.

I like the colors on the table, too. There’s the green of the parsley, and the red of the Manischewitz horseradish (don’t judge me-I don’t like the stuff anyway, and I only use enough to make the blessing. But it looks nice on the plate). And then there’s the orange. It’s right on the seder plate, where it’s been for almost 20 years.

Have you heard about putting an orange on the Seder Plate? Even if you have, I’m sure it’s not the true story of how it came to be, so to do my part to put rumors to rest, I present you here with the real story of why people put an orange on the Seder plate.

It started with Dr. Susannah Heschel. The story you may have heard goes something like this: After a lecture given in Miami Beach, a man (usually Orthodox) stood up and angrily denounced feminism, saying that a woman belongs on a bima (pulpit) the way an orange belongs on a Seder plate. To support women’s rightful place in Jewish life, people put an orange on their Passover tables.

It’s a powerful story. And it’s absolutely false. It never happened.

Heshchel herself tells the story of the genesis of this new ritual in the 2003 book, The Women’s Passover Companion (JPL). It all started with a story from Oberlin College in the early 1980’s. Heschel was speaking at the Hillel, and while there, she came across a haggadah written by some Oberlin students to bring a feminist voice into the holiday. In it, a story is told about a young girl who asks a Rebbe what room there is in Judaism for a lesbian. The Rebbe rises in anger and shouts, “There’s as much room for a lesbian in Judaism as there is for a crust of bread on the seder plate.”

Though Heschel was inspired by the idea behind the story, she couldn’t follow it literally. Besides the fact that it would make everything-the dish, the table, the meal, the house-unkosher for Passover, it carried a message that lesbians were a violation of Judaism itself, that these women were infecting the community with something impure.

So, the next year, Heschel put an orange on the family seder plate, “I chose an orange because it suggests the fruitfulness for all Jews when lesbians and gay men are contributing and active members of Jewish life.”

The symbolism grew to include people who feel marginalized from the Jewish community: the widow, the orphan, women’s issues in general, but solidarity with the gay and lesbian Jewish community was at the core. It wasn’t a navel orange; it had to have seeds to symbolize rebirth, renewal. And spitting out the seeds reminds us to spit out the hatred and ostracization of homosexuals in our community, and others who feel prejudice’s sting. The orange is segmented, not fragmented. Our community has discrete segments, but they form a whole. The symbolism of the orange may have expanded, but its origins are clearly from a desire to liberate an entire segment of our community from their painful mitzrayim-narrow place.

Passover is a holiday of liberation, and in thanking God for our own national liberation, we must also take notice of those around us who are not free, but still in chains either seen or felt. There are so many Haggadot on the market today. Each has a different perspective, perhaps, but each tells the same story. There was a people enslaved by others, and they were freed with God’s outstretched arm. But God didn’t act alone. God needed human partners to make the liberation a reality. Who are we reaching out to today? Who needs that outstretched arm and open hand? And what new symbols or rituals can you bring into your Seder to deepen the meaning of this most fundamental gathering?

There are many beautiful colors in our community, and the orange reminds us to keep our hearts and hands open. And for this year, may you reach out to someone new, may you sit at a full table, may your songs and your wine be sweet, and may your Passover be filled with love and joy. Chag kasher v’sameach.

Anita Silvert is a freelance teacher and writer, living in Northbrook. You can read more of her weekly Torah musings on her blog, Jewish Gems,


An Orange on the Seder Plate

A modern-day custom in support of including marginalized Jews in mainstream Jewish life

By Tamara Cohen

In the early 1980s, while speaking at Oberlin College Hillel [the campus Jewish organization], Susannah Heschel, a well-known Jewish feminist scholar, was introduced to an early feminist Haggadah that suggested adding a crust of bread on the seder plate, as a sign of solidarity with Jewish lesbians (which was intended to convey the idea that there’s as much room for a lesbian in Judaism as there is for a crust of bread on the seder plate).

Heschel felt that to put bread on the seder plate would be to accept that Jewish lesbians and gay men violate Judaism like hametz [leavened food] violates Passover.

So at her next seder, she chose an orange as a symbol of inclusion of gays and lesbians and others who are marginalized within the Jewish community. She offered the orange as a symbol of the fruitfulness for all Jews when lesbians and gay men are contributing and active members of Jewish life.

In addition, each orange segment had a few seeds that had to be spit out–a gesture of spitting out, repudiating the homophobia of Judaism. While lecturing, Heschel often mentioned her custom as one of many feminist rituals that have been developed in the last 20 years. She writes, “Somehow, though, the typical patriarchal maneuver occurred: My idea of an orange and my intention of affirming lesbians and gay men were transformed. Now the story circulates that a man said to me that a woman belongs on the bimah [podium of a synagogue] as an orange on the seder plate. A woman’s words are attributed to a man, and the affirmation of lesbians and gay men is erased. Isn’t that precisely what’s happened over the centuries to women’s ideas?”

Tamara Cohen
Tamara Cohen is a Jewish feminist writer and educator currently living with her partner in Gainesville, Florida. She is the spiritual leader of a community in Litchfield County, CT and is on the board of Brit Tzedek V’Shalom: The Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace.



The Rose Haggadah – Ancient Technique, Modern Sensibility

Each year the ancient story of Passover is told through the Haggadah, “the telling” of the story. The Haggadah includes prayers, biblical passages, stories, and songs, all designed to make the participant feel as if he or she were actually moving from slavery to freedom. Many remember the Haggadah provided by Maxwell House® Coffee. Over the years, many wonderful Haggadot have been published. Some have featured beautiful art.

Others link the contemporary struggles of women, LGBTQ people, African-Americans and Palestinians to the plight of the ancient Hebrews. Some are designed to be especially welcoming to interfaith families. Many families cherish their worn Haggadot, complete with wine and food stains of past seders.

On display at The Morgan Library and Museum through May 3, the exhibit Hebrew Illumination for Our Time: The Art of Barbara Wolff is an important and beautiful addition to the tradition of Hebrew manuscripts. Commissioned by Joanna S. and Daniel Rose, The Rose Family Illuminated Haggadah was designed and illuminated by Barbara Wolff. The Hebrew text was written by Izzy Pludwinksi and the English text was written by Karen Gorst.

Of special interest is the video, featuring Barbara Wolff, which accompanies the online exhibition. It is a fascinating window into the making of an illuminated manuscript. Wolff begins by pointing out that just as the Haggadah follows an order, so does the production of a manuscript. It begins with the selection of parchment. In this case, calf is the preferred source and both quality and quantity are important. Enough parchment must be secured for the entire project. Watching the Hebrew calligrapher Izzy Pludwinksi write the letters of the text is almost hypnotic. Wolff herself describes the work as “almost a meditative process.”

Creating an illuminated manuscript is not only art but science as well. The video features the painstaking process of first creating gesso, the mixture used for attaching gold to the parchment. Gesso contains white lead and takes several weeks to dry. It creates the illusion of solid gold letters on the page. Gilding is the process of creating the bright gold that seems to bounce off the page. Before artificial lighting, the bright sheen of the gold captured and reflected the light of the sun and candles to create the effect of illumination. Shell gold is the flatter, soft shade of gold. Requiring numerous steps, it is made from gold powder, honey, and salt. Rather than shine, it creates a soft glow, perfect for creating a background for more vibrant colors.

Ultimately, it is the art that makes this Haggadah so unique. The art includes both contemporary and traditional imagery. While some of the art is evocative of Chagall, other motifs and colors are inspired by ancient Egyptian artwork and statuary. Throughout the Haggadah, extensive images of plants and flowers remind us that Passover is a Spring holiday.

The Rose Haggadah is a one-of-a-kind work, and this special exhibit provides a chance for everyone to enjoy its beautiful artwork. During the intermediate days of Passover, savor the memorable manuscript and marvel at how 14 century techniques have been employed to create a modern Haggadah.

Rabbi Victor S. Appell is the Union for Reform Judaism’s Congregational Marketing Director.

Submitted by Brian Schnitzer


The Weekly Parashah
The Center for Latino-Jewish Relations

This weekend marks the end of the Passover holiday and the return to eating chametz. During the last week, we were to think about the meaning of freedom and when we lacked both national freedom and also personal freedom. One of this holiday’s aspects that makes Passover so unique is that it is a time when we are “chametz-free”.

The term chametz is not easy to translate. We often translate it as “leavening”, or something that makes food rise. Thus, Jews around the world refrain from eating most bread products and beers throughout the holiday. Can we see Passover as the first “gluten-free holiday”?

In reality, as almost every Jewish person knows, translating the word chametz for someone outside of Jewish culture is not easy. The word conveys a sense of “puffed-up” and of “self-importance”. Thus, it has both a food-science meaning and a spiritual and national meaning. Chametz reminds us that we are free but only within the confines of society. The term also reminds us that each of us is just one small dot in the scheme of history, that to rid oneself of self-importance is another way to rid oneself of perpetual slavery.

The word “chametz” is not only used, however, with the holiday of Passover. Thus, in chapter 2 of Leviticus we read: “No meal offering that you offer to the Lord shall be with leaven (chametz), for you shall burn no leaven (se’or) or honey in any fire offering to the Lord.” (2:11)
And again in chapter 6 of Leviticus we read: “… its remainder (of the meal offering) shall be eaten by Aaron and his sons; it shall be eaten as unleavened cake (matzot) in the sacred precinct … It shall not be baked with leaven …” (6:9-10). Does being chametz-free here symbolize the unfinished, the work that has yet to be done to complete a task?

As we finish the holiday of Passover we remember that the search for freedom and human dignity is also an unfinished business. To be chametz free then represents the beginning of a yet-unfulfilled process. Now that we are about to end the Passover holidays and enter the comforts of the chametz world, it is our responsibility to remember that our journey to collective and personal freedom is not yet complete, that all too many of us have become spoiled and at times selfish. How do each of us remember the lessons of Passover and the meaning of freedom throughout the rest of the year? What do you think?

From Rabbi Peter Tarlow
Submitted by Jerry Weissman

Happy Pesach everyone!!!


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
Dr. Charles (Chuck) Astrin Jan 29, 2015 17 Sh’vat, 5775
Rose Gran Oct 14, 2014 20 Tishrei, 5775
Sandra Albachari Apr 3, 2005 23 Adar II, 5765 Mother of Julie Nice
Sherri Estil Hopperstad Apr 4, 2003 2 Nissan, 5763
Margaret Slate Breslauer Apr 6, 1969 18 Nissan, 5729 Mother of Bruce Breslauer
Sid Kelman Apr 6, 2003 4 Nissan, 5763 Brother-in-law of Evelyn Kelman
Naomi Bay Kaplan Apr 8, 2007 20 Nissan, 5767 Grandmother of Kai Nealis
Heidi Espelin Apr 11, 1986 2 Nissan, 5746 Sister of Dawn Schandelson
Esther Nagel Lyndon Apr 12, 2012 18 Adar, 5772 Aunt of Meriam Nagel
Elaine Thall Apr 15, 2006 17 Nissan, 5757 Mother of Terry Thall
Maurice Weissman Apr 16, 1991 2 Iyyar, 5751 Father of Jerry Weissman
Gary Cohn Apr 17, 1984 15 Nissan, 5744 Brother of Arlyne Reichert
Harry Wasserman Apr 19, 2003 17 Nissan, 5763 Father of Miriam Wolf
Irving Greenfield Apr 28, 2000 23 Nissan, 5760

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