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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.

Torah Readers for High Holy Days?

How is it already the month of Elul?  The year is really flying by, and before you know it Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur will be upon us!

I had the opportunity for a lovely conversation with our service leader and Cantorial Soloist for our High Holy Day services this year, Ruz Gulko.  Ruz comes to us on Rabbi Fine’s recommendation, and has been leading services in the Seattle area for the past 25 years.  

Ruz is putting her plans together for our Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services, and would like to know if anyone would like the honor of reading from the Torah on Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur mornings.  She plans on using the High Holy Day trope for the services, and will be glad to send a written copy of the text and an mp3 of the trope to any volunteers.  If you are interested, please send her an email at or place a comment on this post.

If there is anything specific you would like to see done at these services, please send me and Ruz a note, or just comment below.

L’Shana Tova,



May You Have an Easy Fast!

Aitz Chaim Kol Nidre and Yom Kippur Schedule

As we draw to an end of the Days of Awe, we prepare for Kol Nidre and Yom Kippur. We hope to see you at our services, which will all be at the Bethel, 1009 18th Ave SW, led by Student Rabbi Bess Wohlner

Kol Nidre services will begin at 7pm on 9/13/13 at the Bethel, 1009 18th Ave SW, led by Student Rabbi Bess Wohlner. Sarah Weissman will be our cantorial soloist for the Kol Nidre.

• Yom Kippur morning services will begin at 10 am on 9/14/13 at the Bethel, 1009 18th Ave SW, led by Student Rabbi Bess Wohlner.
• A discussion on Yom Kippur will be held at 3pm.
• Yizkor service will begin at 4:30pm
• Ne’ila service will begin at 5:30 pm
• A community potluck (milchig) break the fast meal will follow the conclusion of Ne’ila services. Please contact Helen Cherry to sign up for the potluck.

Mark your Calendars for Upcoming Services and Events…

  • MAJCO Shabbaton, October 4-6 at Congregation Har Shalom in Missoula

  • Aitz Chaim Services for October, 2013: Weekend of October 11-13, led by Student Rabbi Bess Wohlner

  • Chanukah: 11/27 – 12/5. Watch your email and for more information!

  • Bar Mitzvah of Max Weissman, Saturday, December 28. Contact Aaron and Wendy Weissman for more information.


Have an easy fast.


Dip your apple in the honey, and carry the sweetnesss with you all through the year. May this new year be a good year for all of you! from Bruce and Joy


Todah Robah to the following Congregation members who have offered their hospitality to Student Rabbi Bess Wohlner during Yom Kippur.

Airport Pickup: Marty Foxman
Dinner host for Erev Yom Kippur: Don and Helen Cherry


  • Friday evening, 09/13/13, 7:00 P.M.: Kol Nidre Services led by Student Rabbi Bess Wohlner at The Bethel. Cantorial Soloist: Sarah Weissman.
  • Saturday morning, 09/14/2013, 10:00 A.M. — 12:00 P.M.: Yom Kippur Morning Services, led by Student Rabbi Bess Wohlner at The Bethel
  • 12:00 P.M. — 3:00 P.M.: 3 hour break
  • 3:00 P.M. — 4:00 P.M.: Discussion about Yom Kippur, led by Student Rabbi Bess Wohlner
  • 4:00 P.M. — 4:30 P.M.: 1/2 hour break
  • 4:30 P.M. — 5:30 P.M.: Yiskor
  • 5:30 P.M. — 6:15 P.M.: Ne’ila
  • 6:30 P.M.: Break The Fast milchig (dairy) Community Potluck
  • The address of the Bethel is 1009 18th Avenue southwest. Click here for map and directions.



    EDITOR’S NOTE: Adapted from an e-mail.

    I am thrilled to be serving as the student rabbi in Great Falls next year. I want to introduce myself to the Great Falls Hebrew Association community.

    Immediately below you will find a brief introductory paragraph.

    Bess Wohlner, a rabbinic education student in the Rhea Hirsch School of Education at Hebrew Union College on the Los Angeles campus, is currently in pursuit of her Masters in Jewish Education and will be ordained as a rabbi in May 2015. She grew up in Shawnee, Kansas and earned her BA in Judaic Studies from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Before beginning her studies at HUC, Bess worked as the Assistant Educator and Youth Director at Temple B’nai Shalom in Fairfax Station, Virginia. Since being at HUC she has served as a student rabbi at Congregation Havurim in Temecula, California (2010 – 2012), an education intern at University Synagogue in Los Angeles (2012 – 2013). Next year, in addition to the time she’ll spend in Great Falls, she is also the rabbinic intern at Temple Akiba in Culver City, California. When not studying or working, Bess can be found playing her guitar, traveling, and video chatting with her six-year-old niece.

    I am very excited to be joining your community next year. Looking forward to meeting you in person in September.


    Yom Kippur Food Donation Results

    Helen Cherry led us in a great program this Yom Kippur; to make a donation of the food we did not eat while fasting.

    Well, the results are in.  Over Kol Nidre and Yom Kippur, our congregants donated 65 pounds of food, which was all delivered to the Great Falls Food Bank.

    Todah Robah to all for your generosity!

    The Segal Guide to Fasting on Yom Kippur

    Fasting for Yom Kippur (From a Medical Perspective)

    Michael M. Segal MD PhD

    “… a very good site, perhaps even essential … extremely useful hints and tips … should be taken seriously by just about everyone except the most determined masochist.” The Jerusalem Post, 10 October 1997.

    Each year on Yom Kippur, Jews wish each other a khatima tova (a good seal in the Book of Life) and tolerable fast. The route to a khatima tova is beyond the scope of this article; the route to an easy fast is simpler to describe. The following are the essentials of human physiology that will help you have a tolerable fast on Yom Kippur:

    Don’t get thirsty:

    Most people think the difficulty about fasting is feeling “hungry”. However, avoiding thirst is much more important for how you feel. Not only do you avoid the discomfort of thirst but you are also well hydrated and swallow frequently, so your stomach does not feel as empty.
    One important way to remain well hydrated is to avoid drinks or foods that cause your body to get rid of water. Such foods and drinks include alcohol, tea, caffeinated coffee and chocolate. Another important rule is to avoid consuming much salt. Salt causes a person to feel thirsty despite having a “normal” amount of water, because extra water is needed for the extra salt. For this reason you should avoid processed foods containing lots of salt such as pickles, cold cuts, or cheese. Most tomato sauces, canned fish and smoked fish have a lot of added salt. Since Kosher meat has a high salt content it may be best to choose a main course such as fresh fish, canned no-salt tuna fish or a de-salted meat such as boiled chicken.

    By avoiding these types of foods and drinks in the several hours before a fast, you can avoid either losing water or needing extra water. Other actions that cause the body to lose water, such as perspiring in warm clothing, should also be avoided during the fast.

    Don’t start the pre-fast meal on a full stomach:

    The pre-fast meal often begins at 5 PM, so a large lunch could prevent you from eating enough immediately before the fast. It is best to have a small lunch, or no lunch at all. A large breakfast early in the day based on cereals, breads and fruits can provide the energy you need during the day, yet these high-fiber foods will be far downstream by the time of the pre-fast meal and will not keep you from eating enough food at the pre-fast meal. A large breakfast is also helpful because it stretches the stomach. After eating breakfast, it is best to consume beverages during the day. This will not fill you up, since liquids are absorbed quickly, and this will ensure that you have absorbed enough fluids during the day to start the pre-fast meal being well hydrated. Be sure to avoid beverages with alcohol or caffeine. You should also drink at least two glasses of fluids with the pre-fast meal because many foods need extra water to be digested properly.

    Eat foods that are digested slowly:

    Include some foods high in oils and fats in the pre-fast meal, since such foods delay emptying of the stomach and effectively prolong your meal. However, beware of fatty meats or salted potato chips that could load you up with too much salt. Salads and other high fiber foods that are so important in one’s normal diet should be de-emphasized for the pre-fast meal since they travel quickly through the digestive system. Fruit, despite its high fiber content, is worthwhile since it carries a lot of water in a “time-release” form.

    Don’t get a headache:

    Withdrawing from caffeine produces a headache in people who drink several cups of coffee a day. If you consume this much caffeine in coffee or other foods or drinks you should prepare yourself for the caffeine-free period by reducing or eliminating caffeine from your diet in the days before Yom Kippur. Don’t try to get through the fast by drinking coffee right before Kol Nidre, since this will cause you to lose a lot of water.

    Make the meal tasty enough so people will eat:

    The pre-fast meal doesn’t have be bland. Spices such as lemon or herbs are fine for fasting, but salt and monosodium glutamate should be reduced as much as possible.

    Don’t do a complete fast if you have certain medical problems:

    People with medical conditions such as diabetes should consult their doctors and rabbis before fasting. Certain medications need to be taken during Yom Kippur, and it is important to swallow them with enough water to avoid pills getting stuck on the way to the stomach and damaging the esophagus. Fasting by women who are pregnant or breast feeding can also be dangerous. If a young person who has not fasted much before has unusual difficulty fasting you should discuss this with your doctor since this happens in some serious metabolic problems in which fasting can be very dangerous.

    Don’t eat improperly after Nei’la:

    Even people who have prepared well for fasting will be hungry after Neila. Be sure not to eat food too quickly at the post-fast meal. Begin the break-fast meal with several glasses of milk or juice: these put sugar into the bloodstream and occupy space in the stomach, discouraging you from eating too rapidly. Also be careful about eating high salt foods such as lox, since you will still be a little dehydrated and will need to drink a lot of fluids to avoid waking up extremely thirsty in the early morning hours.
    These preparations for the fast of Yom Kippur will be different from your normal routine, but they can serve as a concrete reminder of the approaching Day of Atonement.

    An earlier version of this article appeared in the Jewish Advocate (Boston, USA) in 1989. Copyright © 1989 – 2011 Michael M. Segal, MD, PhD. This document may be reproduced freely on a non-profit basis, including electronically, through 2011 as long as the source at is indicated and this copyright notice is included.


    Sheet music:  Kol Nidre

    Image by Center for Jewish History, NYC via Flickr

    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.

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