Author Archives: Joy Breslauer


I hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving and are enjoying the early Hanukkah this year!

It is time to start thinking about helping out at the Mercy Home for Christmas Eve and Day. As you may or may not know, our Jewish community volunteers to staff the women’s domestic violence shelter in town for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day so that the staff can have a day to celebrate with their families. If you have never done this before, we can get you a brief training. It is really easy, rewarding, and a great Mitzvah for the staff at the Mercy Home. Just keep in mind that, because it is a women’s domestic violence shelter, men are welcome if they are with a female. Due to the sensitive nature of the situation, we just can’t schedule males by themselves at the facility.

Please text, call or email Wendy Weissman to sign up for a shift.

Shifts are as follows:
12/24 2-5 PM
12/24 5-8 PM
12/24 8-11 PM
12/25 8-11 AM
12/25 11 AM to 2 PM
12/25 2-5 PM
These hours may be rearranged as needed to cover the necessary shifts.

Hope to see you at the Mercy Home. And thank you for your time and dedication to this worthy project.

Submitted by Wendy Weissman
Phone or Text: (406) 868:5712


Donald Neil Cherry, 1933-2021, 5694-5782, 88, of Great Falls, passed away on Tuesday, November 30, 2021. A Graveside Service will be held on Thursday, December 2nd at 12:00 Noon at Mount Olivet Cemetery with full Military Honors. A Celebration of Life is planned for a later date. A full obituary will be available later.


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 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 may we be a comfort to all who are bereaved.

Name of Deceased English Date of Passing Hebrew Date of Passing Deceased Relationship to Congregant
Rae Lind Oct 12, 2021 6 Cheshvan, 5782 Wife of Michael Renne
Diane Sherick Aug 13, 2021 10 Elul, 5781 Wife of Jack Sherick, Mother of Michael Sherick and Heidi Cech
Henry Espelin Dec 1, 1984 7 Kislev, 5745 Father of Dawn Schandelson
Diane Kaplan Dec 3, 2009 16 Kislev, 5770 Mother of Kai Nealis
Beverly Tatz Dec 8, 2015 26 Kislev, 5776 Mother of Janet Tatz
Carl Weissman Dec 9, 1960 20 Kislev, 5721 Grandfather of Jerry, Irving, Lauren, Susan, and Toby Jane Weissman
Irving Tatz Dec 9, 2008 12 Kislev, 5769 Father of Janet Tatz
Joseph Magalnick Dec 12, 1970 13 Kislev, 5731 Father of Elliot Magalnick
Richard Weiss Dec 12, 2000 15 Kislev, 5761 Father of Laura Weiss
Jules Cherry Dec 13, 1972 8 Tevet, 5733 Father of Don Cherry
Louis Eisenberg Dec 17, 1985 5 Tevet, 5746 Father of Sharon Eisenberg
Michael Thorne Dec 17, 2016 17 Kislev, 5777 Brother of Alan Thorne
Molly Dunaeff Dec 20, 1985 8 Tevet, 5746 Aunt of Meriam Nagel
James Levie Dec 22, 2010 15 Tevet, 5771 Uncle of Wendy Weissman
Charlotte Weiss Dec 28, 2019 30 Kislev, 5780 Mother of Laura Weiss
Theodore Eichner Dec 30, 1970 2 Tevet, 5731 Father of Jerry Eichner


  • Sunday, December 5, 2021, 1 Tevet, 5782
    5:00 P.M.: Hanukkah Across Montana, on Zoom:
    Dial-in: 1 669 900 6833
    Meeting ID: 838 8759 1318
    Passcode: 778258

    Please mark your calendars for the Aitz Chaim Hanukkah schedule.

    • Sunday, 11/28/2021 — Monday, 12/06/2021, 24 Kislev — 1 Tevet, 5782: Hanukkah.
    • Sunday, 11/28/2021, 24 Kislev, 5782: Erev Hanukkah. 5:30 P.M.: We will light the first candle of the Diane Kaplan Memorial Chanukkiah at the Civic Center. If you come at 5:30.30, you’ll probably miss it, especially if it is cold.
    • Monday, 11/29/2021, 25 Kislev, 5782: First day of Hanukkah. 5:30 P.M.: We will light the second candle of the Diane Kaplan Memorial Chanukkiah at the Civic Center.
    • Tuesday, 11/30/2021, 26 Kislev, 5782: Second day of Hanukkah. 5:30 P.M.: We will light the third candle of the Diane Kaplan Memorial Chanukkiah at the Civic Center.
    • Wednesday, 12/01/2021, 27 Kislev, 5782: Third day of Hanukkah. 5:30 P.M.: We will light the fourth candle of the Diane Kaplan Memorial Chanukkiah at the Civic Center.
    • Thursday, 12/02/2021, 28 Kislev, 5782: Fourth day of Hanukkah.
    • 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM: Menorah lighting and Chanukkah celebration at the Capitol Rotunda, Helena. **(See separate article in Ram’s Horn.**)
    • 5:30 P.M.: We will light the fifth candle of the Diane Kaplan Memorial Chanukkiah at the Civic Center.
    • Friday, 12/03/2021, 29 Kislev, 5782: Fifth day of Hanukkah.
    • 5:30 P.M.: We will light the sixth candle of the Diane Kaplan Memorial Chanukkiah at the Civic Center.
    • 6:00 P.M.: From there we will go to the Bethel for services led by Devorah Werner and to celebrate Hanukkah as a community. **(See separate article in Ram’s Horn.**)
    • Saturday, 12/04/2021, 30 Kislev, 5782: Sixth day of Chanukah. 5:30 P.M.: We will light the seventh candle of the Diane Kaplan Memorial Chanukkiah at the Civic Center.
    • Sunday, 12/05/2021, 1 Tevet, 5782: Seventh day of Hanukkah.
    • 5:00 P.M. MAJCO Hanukkah Across Montana, on Zoom. **(See separate article in Ram’s Horn.**)
    • 5:30 P.M.: We will light the eighth candle of the Diane Kaplan Memorial Chanukkiah at the Civic Center.
    • Monday, 12/06/2021, 2 Tevet, 5782: Eighth day of Hanukkah.

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

    Hope to see you there.


    Our next scheduled Friday night Kabbalat Shabbat services will be the 5th night of Hanukkah, December 3, which is also the Christmas Stroll.

    At services in November, those present discussed having a small gathering at the Bethel to celebrate Hanukkah. We would gather after lighting the Diane Kaplan Memorial Chanukiah in front of the Civic Center. The thought was that each person would bring food for themselves. Eldon said he would bring individual drinks, probably apple juice or something similar. Stuart said he would bring individual portions of wrapped challah or rolls.

    A few years ago, I got some pieces of granite or quartz and we made our own Chanukiot. I am going to try to obtain some granite or quartz and the other things necessary to make the Chanukiot again. If you plan to attend, please bring your own Chanukiah so that we can light a plethora of Chanukiot for this celebration.

    Laura has checked with the Bethel and they sent her approval, so we are good to go. We would have a service, eat our own food and then make the “craft” if I am able to find the materials to make them. I’m sure we would be out of there by about 8:30 – maybe a little time to clean up.

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

    Hope to see you there. Happy Chanukkah!

    Contributed by Nadyne Weissman


    This is a reminder of the Aitz Chaim Kabbalat Shabbat service held the first Friday of the month, December 3, 2021, 29 Kislev, 5782, led by Devorah Werner at 6:00 P.M. at the Bethel, followed by the Community Hanukkah Celebration. **(See separate article in the Ram’s Horn, as well as one on the Hanukkah Schedule.)**

    As discussed and approved by the Bethel church council on June 8, 2021, all organizations that are using the facilities will be required to follow all the current use guidelines or any new guidelines adopted by the church council or as mandated by any federal, state or local government agency.

    Current guidelines include but are not limited to:

    • Masks will be voluntary and are recommended if persons are or have been ill, or if people are more comfortable wearing them.
    • Social Distancing would still be appreciated.
    • Food or beverages will be allowed upon request.
    • All contact surfaces must be wiped down with a sanitization product before leaving.

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

    Hope to see you there.


  • WHAT: Hanukkah Gathering
  • WHERE: Helena Capitol Building Rotunda
  • WHEN: Thursday, December 2, 2021, 12 noon until 1 pm, with more time afterward for socializing.
  • WHO: Governor Gianforte will be speaking and attending the event. I will invite the various community representatives to speak, as well.
  • We look forward to re-establishing our annual in-person celebration. Bert


    The Great Falls Hebrew Association, Aitz Chaim Community would like to extend our heartfelt thanks and appreciation to all veterans. We as individuals and as a nation owe you a debt of gratitude we can never repay.
    We all know that the cost of our freedom isn’t free. Thank you for your service.


    I’m writing to you in my capacity as president of the Montana Jewish Project. This Helena-based non-profit has been working for the past seven months to re-acquire Helena’s historic synagogue and return it to Jewish use. Today, we signed a sale purchase agreement with the Roman Catholic Bishop of Helena, who has used the historic synagogue for administrative offices since 1981 but no longer has need of it. This agreement is a milestone, but only a first step.

    Many native Montanans don’t know about the state’s rich history of Jewish life. Helena’s early Jews built Temple Emanu-El in 1891. The cornerstone with the Hebrew date (5651) was laid by Montana’s Governor Toole in a huge gathering that drew crowds from across the Northwest. In his speech, congregation president Herman Gans described the majestic building on Ewing Street as a “gift to ornament the city we love.” Temple Emanu-El’s congregation were early adopters of Reform Judaism and hired a Rabbi, who later led New York’s largest Reform synagogue.

    Unfortunately, two years later, the Panic of 1893 cratered Montana’s economy. The Jewish community managed to hang on to Temple Emanu-El but couldn’t afford salaries, so lay leaders took over services.

    In 1935, the Depression continued Montana’s economic decline, and meanwhile the local Jewish population had also dwindled. Recognizing they could no longer maintain the building, the congregation “sold” the synagogue to the state for $1, asking only that it be used for a “good and social purpose.” The state converted the once-38-foot-high sanctuary into two floors of social services offices, and a basement of classrooms became a third floor of offices. “De-sacralizing” the building for government use included removing its distinctive onion domes and the Hebrew inscription “Gate to the Eternal” from the front. In 1981, the state sold the building to the Roman Catholic Diocese.

    Now in 2021, Bishop Vetter is moving into new headquarters, and he recognized the importance of returning the building to Jewish life. We reached out to him, and we are overjoyed to have signed a contract to buy Temple Emanu-El.

    Our vision is to create the first Jewish cultural center in Montana, also potentially serving Idaho, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Alaska. Helena’s Jewish community has been growing steadily, but we recognize that it is small, and our members approach Judaism in different ways. Rather than attempt to form one congregation from the small many, our founding goal is to establish a center for Jewish life, culture, and education that radiates beyond Helena. I’ve been working with the JCC Association of North America for ideas for future programming, education, and events that will benefit all of Montana’s Jewish communities. We also will have space available for regular services for Helena’s Jews. We envision Jewish cooking classes and book groups, education for children and adults, and speakers on Jewish history and ethics.

    We’d like to explore the possibility of collaborating with different Jewish communities around the state to join you online for services. For example, my family have long been members of Beth Shalom in Bozeman, and we plan to remain so. This project should not replace or erode the vibrant collaboration among Montana’s Jewish communities; rather it should add something new that will enhance Jewish life in Montana.

    We also want to continue the legacy of Temple Emanu-El. Even in 1935, at its lowest point, the congregation donated the synagogue’s pews to the African Baptist Church across Helena, looking outward to find where they could help. Our core value is tikkun olam, and we will partner with other organizations that share this mission.

    Right now, we’re focused on raising the funds to complete the purchase of the building, but we’re also working hard to lay groundwork for connecting with like-minded partners. Whether it is by providing the space for after-school youth mental health groups, sharing office space with other non-profits that value acceptance, offering eldercare, making our space available for MAJCO or Hadassah meetings, or hosting open cultural and educational events, we envision active collaboration with our partners to meet community needs. We are also consulting with Montana historians to create an exhibition open to the public that celebrates the unique history of Jewish life in Montana and to inform our consideration of the synagogue as an historical treasure.

    Judaism puts its focus on community before buildings, and in our case, we have come to realize these are inextricably connected here in Helena, where we have been homeless. We see Temple Emanu-El as a living symbol, one that connects Montana’s past with our growing present Jewish population and with our future. Consider: Montana is one of only two states that does not have a Jewish center or synagogue in its capital. Montana’s politics have taken an alarming shift. Anti-Semitism is on the rise (for example. the neo-Nazi campaign in Whitefish and anti-Semitic leafleting in Bozeman. We believe that re-acquiring and openly existing in our historic home as Montana’s first Jewish cultural center is a powerful action we can take to counter these forces.

    My board members and I would like to get your feedback and ideas for the Montana Jewish Project. We hope we can earn your trust and council on how best to nurture the project and grow together in our vision.

    May we meet with you in the coming weeks? What is the most convenient way for you that we can begin this conversation? Phone? Video conference? Sitting down to coffee in your city?

    Rebecca Stanfel, President
    Montana Jewish Project
    (916) 216-1580
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