Category Archives: October
A GFHA board meeting was held on Tuesday, October 23, at 5:30 P.M,with all board members — including those who had just been re-elected — in attendance, as well as a few congregants. The official board minutes, which contain more details than will be presented here, are available upon request. Any member of the congregation is welcome to attend any board meeting, but for those of you who didn’t, here are some highlights.
- CEMETERY. One of the liveliest topics of discussion concerned the cemetery — whether a previous survey has been done concerning the boundaries of the land, where the plots are, and who is buried where. Common sense would suggest that there are some graves that predate the incorporation of the cemetery. The board wants to find an existing survey (if there is one) before paying for another, as well as any other historical documentation concerning the cemetery, so that this information can be collected in one place and accessed by this and future boards. We also will need to determine a price per plot and set up a payment plan for the purchase or prepayment of a plot, as well as determine whether any restrictions will apply regarding who is eligible to be buried where in the cemetery. We also need to make sure we maintain insurance on the cemetery. It may be necessary at some point to appoint a separate board to deal exclusively with cemetery matters. The Board concluded that most of us are pretty clueless when it comes to being in the “cemetery biz.” Student Rabbi Miriam Farber should have some input for us that may be helpful when she comes for services the week end of November 16th.
As this is a prairie cemetery, there is no perpetual care (watering, mowing, planting flowers … ), included in the price of a cemetery plot, but we still need to maintain the grounds and repair head stones that have been damaged by age or vandalism. The Board will investigate the possibility of having a “controlled burn,” with rural fire departments monitoring it and perhaps even using it as a training exercise. The Board also decided to use the cemetery fund to pay for the professional repair of the most severely damaged head stones while maintaining their historical integrity, and then have a fund raiser or ask for donations to replenish the cemetery fund for the cost of the repairs. We have the opportunity to have the repairs done for the cost of materials alone.
- BUILDING FUND. Another lively topic of discussion was the building fund — who were the original contributors to the fund (some are now deceased), when was the fund created, and what was the original intent of the creators for the use of the fund. It may seem obvious that the building fund was established to purchase or renovate a building for the use of the congregation as a worship space, but rather than have that be a topic of hearsay or conjecture, the Board determined that, for the legal protection of both the Board and the fund, it would be best to have this in writing from the original contributors to the fund or their heirs.
- TREASURER’S REPORT. The use and care of the cemetery and the building fund are also in the year to date Treasurer’s Report, discussed at the Board meeting and available upon request to any interested congregant. It is always good to see where your contributions go and how much they are needed.
- UPCOMING SCHEDULES. The Board discussed scheduling upcoming visits from Student Rabbi Miriam Farber, as well as scheduling holiday and other celebrations and events. Information about these upcoming schedules can be found elsewhere in this publication.
As always, if you have a question or concern, please don’t hesitate to contact a Board member, or let the President know so that your concern can be put on the agenda for the next Board meeting. Your Board is here to serve you and to make decisions about our congregational life on your behalf.
Bruce Breslauer received the Rehabilitation Award of the Year for 2012 from the Montana Association of Rehabilitation conference he attended in West Yellowstone from Wednesday, October 24 to Friday, October 26. This award was given to Bruce Breslauer “in Recognition of His Contribution To the Improvement of the Lives of Persons with Disabilities”.
Bruce began working for the Department of Blind and Low Vision Services as an Orientation and Mobility Specialist trainee in June, 2006. While working a full time job, he obtained two Masters Degrees from Western Michigan University, one as a Vision Rehabilitation Therapist and one as an Orientation and Mobility Specialist. This gives him a total of four Masters degrees. He was promoted to regional manager of the Great Falls office in July of 2010.
Many letters of recommendation were submitted by his coworkers, and copies of them were given to Bruce in both print and Braille. Here are some excerpts from those letters:
” … Bruce exemplifies the quality of an outstanding, dedicated leader, who possesses personal integrity and a thoughtful, communicative style. I am an ardent admirer of his giving spirit, talents, and gifts, as well as the poise he radiates no matter how demanding or pressing the situation. … If I ever need inspiration I think of Bruce, and I personally feel that if I have a problem I can go to him and it will stay with him. In addition to his many other qualities, Bruce’s sense of humor often gives clients as well as fellow employees a reason to smile. His knowledge of not only important things but random trivia is truly amazing. I have often said that I would pick Bruce to be my “lifeline” if I were ever on “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.”
From another letter: We all appreciate his honesty and direct approach. … He listens patiently to our input, takes our suggestions seriously, and will help us implement ideas we present. … The staff in Great Falls uses him daily as a reference book. He encourages school and learning. He is the most approachable person I have ever known.
“He is never too busy to take a call from an employee, a client, or someone from the general public who may have a question or need guidance. He has great patience with the elderly in the Older Blind program, yet can easily switch to a conversation with a young person talking about starting school and a career. … He is fearless in his travels and encourages others to explore their possibilities and their capabilities. He gladly participates in presentations and meetings … including television appearances, although sometimes I think it is really Glendale they want to see.
“Bruce’s calm, strong leadership has coalesced the Great Falls BLVS staff into a content and collaborative unit that works together as a team toward good outcomes for our clients. It is a pleasure to work with and for him.” .
And another comment from another letter: ” … He gives his advice, support, and knowledge to all who ask him. He has people contacting him from all over the country from time to time for his opinions. This shows his fairness and compassion for all he serves. … He makes each of us feel like we matter and that he values our input.”
You all know that as his wife, your friendly newsletter editor is probably not the most objective person on this planet, but I think that Bruce’s receiving this award is a wonderful affirmation of the qualities I see in him, some of which are the result of letting his Jewish faith inform the attitude he has toward the people he works with and the decisions he makes in his daily life. It’s nice to see those characteristics recognized by others.
Mazal Tov, Bruce.
This Jewish boy is terrible in math, absolutely terrible. His parents get him extra help but to no avail. They talk with his teacher and he says “I wouldn’t normally suggest this, but why don’t you send him to Catholic school, the nuns are very good”.
After some consideration, the parents decide that since math is so important, they will try anything.
The first day at Catholic school, the boy comes home with an A in math. The second day, another A. This goes on all semester. Then it’s exam time and he gets all the answers correct.
His parents are thrilled. That night at dinner they ask him what happened, wondering why now he’s doing so well when the non-Catholic school couldn’t help him.
The son looks at them and says, “Well, I walked into the classroom and when I saw that guy nailed to the plus sign, I knew the teacher meant business”.
All congregants are welcome to attend the Congregational board meeting this Tuesday evening, 10/23/2012, at 5:30 P.M. at 1015 1st Avenue North in the first floor conference room. Please park in the Western parking lot so that we can open the door for you.
Newly uncovered knowledge – this was found on tablets of stone hidden for more than a thousand years beneath Edinburgh Castle. It provides new evidence that there was an ancient trade between many peoples :
In ancient Israel, it came to pass that a trader by the name of Abraham Com did take unto himself a young wife by the name of Dot. And Dot Com was a comely woman, broad of shoulder and long of leg. Indeed, she was often called Amazon Dot Com.
And she said unto Abraham, her husband, “Why dost thou travel so far from town to town with thy goods when thou canst trade without ever leaving thy tent?” And Abraham did look at her as though she were several saddle bags short of a camel load, but simply said, “How, dear?”
And Dot replied, “I will place drums in all the towns and drums in between to send messages saying what you have for sale, and they will reply telling you who hath the best price. And the sale can be made on the drums and delivery made by Uriah’s Pony Stable (UPS).”
Abraham thought long and decided he would let Dot have her way with the drums. And the drums rang out and were an immediate success. Abraham sold all the goods he had at the top price, without ever having to move from his tent. To prevent neighboring countries from overhearing what the drums were saying, Dot devised a system that only she and the drummers knew. It was known as Must Send Drum Over Sound (MSDOS), and she also developed a language to transmit ideas and pictures – Hebrew To The People (HTTP).
And the young men did take to Dot Com’s trading as doth the greedy horsefly take to camel dung. They were called Nomadic Ecclesiastical Rich Dominican Sybarites, or NERDS.
And lo, the land was so feverish with joy at the new riches and the deafening sound of drums that no one noticed that the real riches were going to that enterprising drum dealer, Brother William of Gates, who bought off every drum maker in the land. And indeed did insist on drums to be made that would work only with Brother Gates’ drumheads and drumsticks.
And Dot did say, “Oh, Abraham, what we have started is being taken over by others.” Abraham looked out over the Bay of Ezekiel, or eBay as it came to be known, and said, “We need a name that reflects what we are.” To which Dot replied, “Young Ambitious Hebrew Owner Operators.” “YAHOO,” said Abraham. And because it was Dot’s idea, they named it YAHOO Dot Com.
Abraham’s cousin, Joshua, being the young Gregarious Energetic Educated Kid (GEEK) that he was, soon started using Dot’s drums to locate things around the countryside. It soon became known as God’s Own Official Guide to Locating Everything (GOOGLE).
That is how it all began.
CHESHVAN: THE JEWISH MONTH LIKE NO OTHER
By Rebecca Reice
I have a deep admiration for the genius of the Jewish calendar, especially at this time of year. Back in Elul, which corresponded to the month of September this year, Jews around the world added two longstanding traditions to their everyday spiritual practice: blowing the shofar and reciting Psalm 27. These two ancient customs seem directed at each person’s heart, encouraging us to begin the work of teshuvah, of turning and repentance. Giving us 29 days to make apologies and forgive each other, before Rosh HaShanah arrives on the first day of the next month of Tishrei.
Tishrei is packed with Holy Days and Festivals. Rosh HaShanah starts the month with the celebration of the creation of the world and placing our focus on God as Ruler of that world. It initiates the Yamim No’raim, the 10 Days of Awe, during which Jews tried to finish their teshuvah and settle their affairs in order to start the year with a “clean slate.” Then Yom Kippur arrives as both the pinnacle of the work from Elul and the Days of Awe and its conclusion. Traditionally, as soon as Yom Kippur is over, Jews begin to build their sukkot, temporary booths, decorated for the next festival. The Festival of Sukkot arrives just five days later and is called “the time of our joy.” Having concluded all of the soul searching, chest beating, and hard work, we transition into eight days of partying. The “time of our joy” culminates in Simchat Torah, dancing and celebrating with the Torah, as we conclude Deuteronomy and start all over again with Genesis. It is quite the roller coaster ride, and also a marathon. Beginning with two days of Rosh HaShanah and including Shabbat, 15 of the 30 days of the month are set aside for special worship, celebration, or fasting. If a Jew were to observe every single one of these days, he or she might be partied out by the end of the month, or at least, a bit tired of going to synagogue.
A week after Simchat Torah, the month of Cheshvan begins. Cheshvan stands out on the Jewish calendar as the only month with no feast days or fast days, no special psalms nor shofar blowing, no seder nor omer counting. For this reason, it earned the nickname of Mar Cheshvan, bitter Cheshvan. Yet, I have never found the lack of festivity in Cheshvan to be bitter. It is true that Cheshvan is quiet in comparison to the busy days of Tishrei and it does not light up the gradually longer and longer darkness with beautiful lights like the Chanukah candles of the month to come. However, in its silence, Cheshvan presents a tremendous opportunity.
Cheshvan is the month that responds to the rush of Tishrei with time, time to fulfill the commitments we made during the Days of Awe, time to start becoming the people we want to be the next time the High Holy Days arrive. In fact, one group saw Cheshvan as an opportunity for the global Jewish community to do exactly that – change themselves and the world for the better. If you visit
, you will find the home of Jewish Social Action Month (JSAM), supported by organizations and individuals around the world: from my school, Hebrew Union College to Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi of the UK, to the President and former Prime Minister of Israel to individual congregations around the world. The website is full of events to participate in to do the work of tikkun olam, repairing the world, around the world; as well as ideas for starting your own events or making meaningful changes in your own life. So, whether you choose to use Cheshvan as your time to get started on your personal improvement or improvement of the world with JSAM, I invite you to sweeten its bitter reputation.
Three positions on the Aitz Chaim Board (GFHA) were up for election this year. The Board members whose two-year terms had expired were Helen Cherry, Steve Boyd and Laura Weiss. All three chose to stand for re-election. Sarah Weissman was a write in candidate.Voting between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur was by secret ballot. Nadyne Weissman tabulated the votes.I am pleased to report that Helen Cherry, Steve Boyd and Laura Weiss were each re-elected to a two year term. President and Vice President will be voted on by the Board.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is an e-mail exchange between Aaron Weissman and Garry Kohn (rhymes with John), the President of Leftbridge Hebrew Congregations who, together with his wife Linda, joined us for Rosh Hashanah services this year.
On Sep 24, 2011, J. Garry Kohn wrote:
My wife Linda and I would like to know if we would be able to join your congregation for Rosh Hashanah. I would rather drive to Great Falls than Calgary. Will you be holding services on two days or just the first day?
President, Lethbridge Hebrew congregations
From: Aaron Weissman
Sent: Sunday, September 25, 2011
Of course you would be very welcome at Aitz Chaim for the High Holy Days.
Our services will be for the first day only. We will hold erev Rosh Hashanah, Rosh Hashanah and Tashlich services.
From: Garry Kohn
Sent: Monday, October 3, 2011
Aaron and members of the Great Falls Hebrew Association,
Linda and I would like to express our most sincere gratitude to all of you for welcoming us to your congregation to celebrate Rosh Hashanah. The warmth and friendliness was more than we expected, and hope that we may in the future, even though it may be unlikely, be able to reciprocate. We look forward to being able to join you again, perhaps on a weekend when we are down there , and to get to know each of you better. The time was too short to chat with all of you, but most gratifying.
May you all enjoy a good healthy and prosperous New Year, and a good fast on Yom Kippur.
L’Shanah Tovah to all….
Garry and Linda Kohn
As we know, Yom Kippur starts this year on Friday night, October 7, 2011.
The following story illustrates why we remember the reason we observe this solemn time.
The story is told of a house painter who deeply regretted stealing from his clients by diluting the paint, but charging full price. He poured out his heart on Yom Kippur hoping for Divine direction, after which he heard a voice from Heaven saying:
“Repaint, repaint … and thin no more!”
All services are led by Cantor Elliott Magalnick
Friday October 7
- Kol Nidre services are 7:00 P.M. at the Bethel, 1009 18th Ave SW, Great Falls
Saturday October 8
- Yom Kippur services begin on Saturday morning, October 8 at 10:00 A.M. at the Bethel, 1009 18th Ave SW, Great Falls.
- 10:00 A.M.-12:00 P.M. Morning Services
- 12:00 P.M.-2:00 P.M.: 2-hour break
- 2:00 P.M.-4:00 P.M. Adult Discussion, STORAHtelling on Jonah by Cantor Elliot Magalnick
- 4:00 P.M.-5:00 P.M.: 1-hour break
- 5:00 P.M.-5:45 P.M. Yizkor
- 5:45 P.M.-6:15 P.M. Minhah
- 6:15 P.M.-7:00 P.M. Neilah
- Following evening services: Break The Fast milchig (dairy) pot luck.