Author Archives: Joy Breslauer


On Sunday, June 29, Bruce breslauer left with his guide dog Glendale to go to California to retire her and train with a successor dog. Although she is otherwise very healthy, Glendale, who is 9-1/2 years old, has cataracts which are just beginning to be visible to the naked eye. So far, they have not affected her guide work in any way. Although they could technically be surgically removed and thus prolong her working life as a guide dog, Bruce has opted to retire her while she is still at the top of her game, and get a successor dog. He wants Glendale to enjoy a few good years of healthy retirement with the family who raised her as a puppy. She already knows and loves them and they her, so it will be good for all of them all around. Besides living a dog’s life, Glendale also has a promising future as a therapy dog in hospitals and nursing homes, for which she will be very well suited. She will be greatly missed.

Bruce is now in San Rafael, near San Francisco, in training for two weeks with a successor dog, a male yellow lab named Nimbus, who is about eighteen months old. They are getting to know each other, sorting out who is the alpha dog, learning current guide dog training methods, and beginning the bonding process which will only get stronger as their working life develops. There are five others in his training class, four of whom are receiving guide dogs for the first time. Through donations, the school pays for the students’ air fare to and from campus, and provides dormitory housing and meals for them while they are there. Training a guide dog costs somewhere around $54,000.00, and something like sixty percent of them don’t make it through the program. Called “career change” dogs, they sometimes go on to be another type of service or therapy dog, or they may become someone’s wonderful pet. There is no shortage of people who would love to have a career change dog or a retired guide dog in their lives.

Every day the students are expected to study and review several hours of information regarding what-if scenarios and how-to procedures, so that they can use the techniques they are learning in real life situations as they arise. During training, the dog-person team is exposed to many situations that might be encountered in everyday life, such as coping with city traffic; taking busses or other forms of mass transit; crossing busy intersections or those with blended curbs or unusual configurations; walking safely down sidewalkless country roads; navigating stairs and escalators; finding entrance and exit doors; maneuvering through obstacle courses, crowded streets, or shopping malls; going to restaurants or through cafeteria lines while carrying a tray of food and drink; going to grocery stores; finding elevators; finding and activating pedestrian walk signal buttons; learning how to navigate college campuses, office buildings, conference rooms, or medical facilities; going through airport security and boarding airplanes. There are several times during training where the dog will be called upon to maneuver their blind or visually impaired partner out of the way of a silent car coming suddenly and unexpectedly toward them. One of the most fun outings toward the end of training is a trip to Muir Woods, full of wonderful sights, sounds, and smells. In addition to all this, the dog is learning to depend on his new partner for feeding, watering, and relieving, the person is learning to trust and follow their dog and to depend on the dog to follow directions and make intelligent decisions, and they are each learning to trust each other and to communicate with each other.

Toward the end of the training, the emphasis changes from focusing on more generalized life experiences to customizing and fine-tuning the training to the specific environment to which the team will be returning. The point of the training is not necessarily to cover every conceivable situation a dog-person team might face, but to teach them skills and techniques they can use in whatever situation they find themselves to optimize their safety, efficiency, and confidence as a good working team. building the partnership into a well-oiled machine can take several months, often with a few bumps in the road along the way, and in some ways resembles building a marriage. A successful team will continue fine-tuning their relationship throughout the working life of the team.

At the end of two intense weeks of training, Bruce and the others will go through a graduation ceremony, which is open to the public, during which the families who raised the dogs from puppyhood will formally turn the dogs over to their new partners. Then they have the opportunity to receive a new potential guide dog puppy to start the whole thing all over again. The graduation experience is often a time for laughter and tears for both students and puppy raisers alike.

For more information, please visit

Boy Scouts save Scoutmaster and Aitz Chaim congregant on Belt Creek

Kristen Cates, 3:38 a.m. MDT July 5, 2014

Aaron Weissman can tell you from personal experience the best people to have around when you break your tibia and fibia is a group of Boy Scouts.

“My kids are awesome,” he said.

On Sunday, as Weissman was floating down Belt Creek through the Sluice Boxes Canyon with four boys and three adults affiliated with Boy Scout Troop 26 Great Falls, a sudden decision of his to cling to a raft in rough waters after the boys got to the shore caused his right leg to get pinched in between boulders. The decision resulted in a compound fracture of the tibia and fibula in his right leg, about 3 miles upstream from the Sluice Boxes boat launch, which required a lengthy emergency response to the scene.

Before emergency crews arrived, the group of Scouts — two of which have earned Eagle Scout ranking — had Weissman’s leg splinted and wrapped.

Scouts Jake Smith, Jack Dresel, Wyatt Tanner and Daniel Stone all helped with the process with assistance from Pack 26 Cubmaster Brandon Carpenter, Dean Tanner and Eric Christian, adults on the trip.

“I’m so proud of these boys — so proud,” Weissman said. “Thank God it was me that got hurt and not one of the boys.”

Weissman said the trip was well-planned and followed Boy Scout protocol with the trip being registered with the local office and proper safety measures under consideration. It happened after the Scouts spent two months learning CPR and other safety training. It was the group’s first time floating that area of Belt Creek.

“Everything was done by the book,” Weissman said. “We knew the area and we knew what we were getting into.”

But just past the canyon, the group ran into some rapids. Weissman said he and one of the boys and two adults were in the main raft while the others had moved to the extra raft they were carrying for safety reasons. The boat spun and moved to the side of the creek and everyone was ejected. Weissman said while the boys got safely to the shore, he decided to keep a hold of the boat as it was filling with water. He thinks his right leg was jammed between two large boulders, where he said the combination of the stream and the raft caused his lower right leg to snap, approximately an inch below his knee. It was just before 4 p.m.

“I did find out I keep calm in an emergency,” Weissman said.

Weissman called out to Bob Keith, who had been maneuvering the second boat and was fishing, that he was injured and learned Keith was farther down stream. He had to float downstream using his arms and one working leg and told Keith he needed to splint his legs to which Keith responded he couldn’t find anything to use as a splint.

That’s when the Scouts got to work. Daniel, 11, started scouring the shores for something to use as a splint.

“Once he told me he broke his leg I ran to where a big tree was fallen over and I grabbed a couple of straight sticks,” Daniel said.

Meanwhile Wyatt, 14, scanned the area hoping to find rope to stabilize the splint.

“I took straps off the boat while Daniel was getting the sticks,” he said.

The other two helped gather materials and Weissman — though in serious pain — still tried to turn his injury into a teaching moment.

“My first thought was, ‘boys, you need to watch this splinting process,'” Weissman said.

The boys kept his leg in the water, splinted and covered with life jackets for protection, while others called for help. They were about three miles upstream from any access point along the creek. Weissman said originally Mercy Flight was called out, but there wasn’t an easy place for crews to land. Belt Ambulance Service responded and Dean Tanner said the crew had to run in three miles up the Sluice Boxes trail with a backboard to get to Weissman. The crew arrived around 5:30 p.m.

The ambulance crew determined they couldn’t take Weissman back down on the trail, so they strapped him to Keith’s boat and floated him back out before taking him via ambulance to Benefis Health System.

“It turns out, I have a high tolerance for pain,” said Weissman, who will be in a brace and a wheelchair for the next month.

The boys said only after Weissman was loaded up in the ambulance did they begin to process what they’d seen and done.

“My immediate reaction is ‘I’m not going to the Water Park this week,'” Daniel said. “I think we responded better than we could have.”

“It was unexpected; it escalated quickly,” Wyatt said.

Jack, 14, and Jake, 13, said they were both in shock, but were eager to help as the events unfolded.

“I thought he’d be OK,” Jack said. “Aaron’s a pretty tough guy.”

The boys attribute their response to the motto they live by as Boy Scouts: “Be prepared.”

“There’s an ideal in Boy Scouts. It’s not ‘no risks’ it’s ‘know risks,'” Weissman said. “A huge part of Scouting is teaching these boys to manage risks.”

Reach Tribune Staff Writer Kristen Cates at 791-1463 or Follow her on Twitter @GFTrib_KCates.




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
Marvin Langsam Oct 27, 2013 23 Cheshvan, 5774 Brother of Helen Cherry
Irving Langsam Jul 3, 1991 21 Tammuz, 5751 Father of Helen Cherry
Alvin Magalnick Jul 3, 2010 21 Tammuz, 5770 Brother of Elliot Magalnick
Natalee Holly Kelman Jul 10, 2013 3 Av, 5773 Daughter of Evelyn Kelman
Beverly Espelin Jul 12, 2007 26 Tammuz, 5767 Mother of Dawn Schandelson
Hilda Schandelson Jul 17, 1962 15 Tammuz, 5722 Mother of Arnold Schandelson
Miriam Fischer Jul 20, 1953 8 Av, 5713 Mother of Robert Fischer
Elsie Cook Mother of Helen Auch
Maurice Jacoby Jul 27, 1976 29 Tammuz, 5736


The cemetery cleanup will be on Tuesday, June 24. We’ll meet at the cemetery at 5:30 P.M. Anyone willing to bring a lawn mower, a weed eater, a shovel, a set of working muscles and a merry heart is welcome. We’ll make it an evening of comraderie along with some hard work, and perhaps go somewhere afterward for some liquid refreshment. Sorry for the short notice.

Adendum, submitted by Jerry Weissman: We went out to the cemetery this afternoon for cleanup and mowing. For the most part it is done and great congratulations are due for Aaron, Stephen, Marty and Nadyne who did the work.

Marty Foxman suggests that we have a followup cleanup and perhaps picnic and watch the full moon on July 12.


Only in Israel!

Itzik was driving home from his job in Tel Aviv when he was pulled over for not wearing a seat belt.

Two days later-same ticket, same cop.

“Nu,” the officer said, “have you learned anything?”

“Yes,” said Itzik. “I’ve learned I need to take a different way home from work.

–Submitted by Jerry Weissman



The Normandy Kaddish Project
By Alan Weinschel , 4/02/2014

This past September, my wife and I visited the Normandy beaches, including the American Cemetery at Omaha Beach. Visiting the cemetery was an emotional experience. The cemetery is immaculately maintained and, in some ways, very beautiful. But we were overwhelmed by the vastness of more than 9,000 gravesites and the realization that nearly all the soldiers buried there were killed as young men. I originally thought that on this visit, our second to the site, we would be in better control of our emotions than we were the first time but, surprisingly, we were not.

This time, for some reason, we focused more sharply on the graves marked with Stars of David. There are 149 of them scattered among the crosses, each one indicating the burial site of a Jewish soldier killed in action in Normandy. Our visit was just after the High Holidays and we noticed that some, but not all, of the Jewish graves had stones or coins on them, signifying, of course, that someone had been to visit. But not all of the graves had stones or coins upon them, and we realized that some of these men have neither visitors nor anyone to say Kaddish for them.

When my wife and I returned home, I was struck by the thought that Jews in the United States should be thankful for those among our people who fought and gave the ultimate sacrifice in Normandy. It is our responsibility to remember these fallen soldiers by saying Kaddish for them annually in every synagogue in the United States on the Shabbat that falls closest to June 6th.

Although I myself am not a World War II veteran, I did serve in the Army Reserves and was impelled to begin the Normandy Kaddish Project as a tribute to my dad and the millions of others in the Greatest Generation. My dad served in the Merchant Marine during World War II, but did not go overseas. He was active in the Jewish War Veterans of the U.S. for many years and together with millions of others who served during World War I and World War II fought wars that needed to be fought and by winning them, secured the freedoms we all enjoy today.

This year, Friday, June 6 will mark the 70th anniversary of the invasion of Normandy and the battle at Omaha Beach. With the help of my rabbi, Michael White of Temple Sinai of Roslyn, and our congregation’s president, Howard Berrent, the Normandy Kaddish Project is well underway. We already have asked hundreds of temple presidents and rabbis to participate, and the response has been overwhelmingly positive. One of my law partners, Bob Sugarman, the chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, is spreading the word of this initiative to the Conservative and Orthodox communities, where the response has been equally enthusiastic.

I hope you will join us by encouraging your congregation to participate in the Normandy Kaddish Project, and that on June 6, 2014, the 70th anniversary of D-Day, you will remember and recite Kaddish for the Jewish soldiers who gave their lives on the beaches in Normandy – including the 149 whose graves are at Omaha Beach – and elsewhere, so that we might live in freedom.

Alan Weinschel is a member of Temple Sinai of Roslyn.


Montana Folk Festival, Butte
July 11-13
Klezmatics band with dance leader Steve Weintraub

Alicia Svigals, violinist, a founder of the Grammy-winning Klezmatics, is widely acknowledged as the world’s foremost klezmer fiddler. Svigals has taught and toured with violinist Itzhak Perlman, who recorded her compositions; and was awarded first prize at the Safed, Israel international klezmer festival.

She will be joined at the Montana Folk Festival by dancer Steve Weintraub. Steve is a teacher, choreographer, and performer of Jewish dance, particularly Yiddish dance, the dance to klezmer music. He is in international demand as a teacher of traditional Yiddish dance at festivals and workshops.

Steven delights in introducing people to the figures, steps and stylings of the dances that belong to Klezmer music. He has often been called the Pied Piper of Yiddish Dance; his years of experience leading and researching Yiddish dance allow him to weave dancers and music together in astonishing ways. Young and old, from all backgrounds, find it easy to share in the joy of Yiddish dancing.

List of 2014 Performers:



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.

Marvin Langsam Oct 27, 2013 23 Cheshvan, 5774 Brother of Helen Cherry
Natalee Holly Kelman Jul 10, 2013 3 Av, 5773 Daughter of Evelyn Kelman
Al Nagel Jun 4, 2010 22 Sivan, 5770 Uncle of Meriam Nagel
Ann Magalnick Jun 6, 1987 9 Sivan, 5747 Mother of Elliot Magalnick
Minnie Goldberg Jun 8, 1983 27 Sivan, 5743 Grandmother of Jerry Weissman
Claire Hochfeld Meyer Jun 10, 1958 22 Sivan, 5718 Mother of Diane Sherick
Samuel Thall Jun 10, 1992 9 Sivan, 5752 Father of Terry Thall
Sigmund Oppenheimer Meyer Jun 11, 1986 4 Sivan, 5746 Father of Diane Sherick
Elsie Dorman Jun 14, 2004 25 Sivan, 5764 Aunt of Marjorie Feldman
Lillian Nagel Jun 16, 1999 2 Tammuz, 5759 Aunt of Meriam Nagel
Rhoda Barrett Jun 17, 2000 14 Sivan, 5760 Cousin of Nadyne Weissman
Charles Cohn Jun 21, 1930 25 Sivan, 5690 Father of Arlyne Reichert
Zollie Kelman Jun 23, 2008 20 Sivan, 5768 Husband of Evelyn Kelman
Morris Goldberg Jun 25, 1955 5 Tammuz, 5715 Grandfather of Jerry Weissman
Regan Holsclaw Jun 27, 1970 23 Sivan, 5730 Son of Arleen Heintzelman


A board meeting of the Great Falls Hebrew Association (Aitz Chaim) was held at 2:00 P.M. on Sunday, June 1, at the Washington School. Following are some highlights of the meeting.

  • The Board discussed having a cemetery cleanup evening on Tuesday, June 24, starting at 5:30 P.M. Anyone wishing to bring a lawn mower, weed eater, shovel, salad, or a cold drink is welcome to come. After the cleanup, then we can have the stones that have been vandalized repaired.
  • We still have one more student rabbi visit left in our contract this year. Student Rabbi Bess Wohlner was not able to come back for another visit, so we are going to check into whether the next year’s student rabbi could come out the week end of July 25, since air fares are much less expensive in the summer. He or she may not be able to get here in time to do a Friday evening service, but we might do something Saturday morning the 26th and then a potluck that evening and perhaps something Sunday. We will let you know if such a thing materializes. This summer we may get together and do something socially as a community, with or without a student rabbi. We had thought we should do that more often anyway to strengthen our ties as a community, since we meet so few times a year and so irregularly now for religious services. Stephen Boyd offered to be our social events coordinator. We may even get together some time this winter to have a movie night. Stay tuned to your Ram’s Horn for further developments.
  • Next year the second night of Passover is Saturday, April 4. We had such a fun Passover Seder last year, with several people signing up at the last minute to make up for some that weren’t able to come. We will have next year’s Passover Seder at the same place, and it will be led by Sarah, Max, and Hannah. We’ll let you know more as it gets closer.

So the tentative calendar for upcoming events looks like this:

  • Tuesday, 06/24/2014, 5:30 P.M.: Cemetery cleanup and noshing.
  • The week end of 07/25-27/2014: Possible visit from next year’s student Rabbi, but we’ll plan to do something anyway. TBA
  • Wednesday, 09/24/2014: Erev Rosh Hashanah with Student Rabbi
  • Sunday, 09/28/2014: Annual Board meeting and election of board members and officers
  • Friday, 10/03/2014: Erev Yom Kippur with Student Rabbi
  • November: Possible visit from Student Rabbi TBA
  • Tuesday through the next Wednesday, 12/16-24/2014: Hannukah
  • Wednesday, 12/24/2014: Christmas at the Mercy Home
  • January and February: Possible social event(s) to be planned by our new social coordinator
  • 03/05/2015: Purim, and possible visit from Student Rabbi TBA
  • Friday through the next Saturday, 04/03-11/2015: Passover. Community Seder Saturday, 04/04/2015.
  • May: Possible visit from Student Rabbi TBA

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 665 other followers