Category Archives: MAJCO
I am not a scientist, I am a rabbi. I am not a doctor, I’m a mom and a Crohn’s patient. I am not a miracle-worker, but I know my actions have power and consequences.
If there was ever a time when we each have to take stock of how we are living our lives and how our actions could impact each other, now is the time. Consider this time in our lives like the preparation period for Yom Kippur, called “cheshbon ha-nefesh” or “accounting of our souls.”
In this moment, let us take an accounting of our actions/ma’asim so that we can then take an accounting of our souls. Ask yourselves: what am I doing that is helping to heal the world? What am I doing that is hurting the world? What can I do to preserve life?
Right now, the answer is clear. Stay home and stay safe.
While there is so much that is unknown about the COVID19 virus, there is one thing that is clear. It is spreading across the world, across the United States and across Montana. There is no place that will be untouched by the virus. The challenge is slowing down its spread so that our healthcare systems are not overwhelmed and people at risk are not able to be helped. The challenge is doing all that we can so that the fewest number of people die from this virus.
We are all responsible for doing what we can to keep ourselves safe, our loved ones and our communities safe, our state and our country protected.
So, please, if you can work from home, stay home. If you do not work regularly, stay at home. If you feel just fine, stay at home. If you are not feeling well, stay home and call your doctor.
Once we are taking care of our physical needs, we need to remember our emotional and spiritual needs. The level of anxiety is frequently high for many of us. The more we read or hear about the disease, the scarier things seem. As word arrives that people you know and care about are affected by the disease, it can be even scarier. Please take care to limit your time reading and listening about the virus and balance your day with refreshing actions like listening to music, reading a book, taking a walk or doing an art project!
What I can offer to you is a listening ear, relatively quick text responses, and presence by virtual meetings. In the next couple days I will be sending out word about how we can connect virtually so that we are staying safe, socially distant, yet also virtually connected.
What to do while you are staying at home and isolating? I highly recommend that you schedule a regular time to sit in prayer or meditation to help ground your spirit and reset your nervous system. There are various apps that will offer you timers for meditative sitting or guided meditations of various themes and lengths of time. Below is website information for the Institute of Jewish Spirituality that is holding a daily sit and offering resources for spiritual comfort in troubling times.
Soon, I will be offering learning sessions on skills to manage anxiety and regulate our nervous systems as well as lessons from Jewish tradition about life, Torah, resiliency and the power of the human spirit. I am also happy to start up a study group on the basics of Jewish life, in preparation for our Adult B’nai Mitzvah celebration July 25th–virus-willing. If you want to learn about Torah, prayer, Shabbat and Jewish holidays, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Even if you have had a bar/bat mitzvah in the past, I am creating a service to share each other’s learning and spiritual journeys!
There are many people in our community who have wisdom and experience to share and I would love to create a way for us all to share with each other. I will be in touch about ways we can share experiences, learn together and laugh together. We can’t hug each other but we can smile and share and support each other.
We are all in this together. If you know of someone who is ill and needs support, please reach out to them. If you know of someone who is elderly, please reach out to them. If you need something and think I might be able to help, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. You can email, text or call me at email@example.com or 973-787-7846.
In closing, there are traditional prayers for waking up in the morning that help us express gratitude and remember the gift of life, health and spirit. They are below and click here for a PDF if you would like to print them out for your bedside table or morning coffee spot. I invite you to take a moment when you wake up in the morning and when you go to bed at night, to recount your blessings and focus on the many resources we can all access, at any time, from any place.
Please stay tuned for more resources from me and Glacier Jewish Community and please stay in touch and stay safe!
With love and blessings,
Rabbi Francine Roston
Now’s the time to explore Meditation!
If you always wanted to explore meditation, now might be the time!
If you are finding yourself struggling with uncertainly and anxiety, I encourage you to consider growing or expanding your meditation practice. Daily meditation can be a way to anchor your day and help give you a sense of calm and stability in these uncertain times.
The Institute for Jewish Spirituality offers many different courses and options for study and meditation integrating Jewish tradition. I encourage you to browse around their website http://www.jewishspirituality.org One of their offerings is a “Meditation Starter Kit” which includes all the tools and resources you’ll need to feel confident, prepared and inspired as you begin your Jewish meditation practice, including:
• A sample text teaching – connecting the wisdom and inspiration of scripture to everyday life
• A guided meditation practice connected to the text – that you can use again and again
• Simple tips for how to begin meditating – and how to integrate Jewish mindfulness meditation into your life
Click here for more information on the meditation guidance offered by the Institute for Jewish Spirituality.
A Poem & A Prayer for You
by Lynn Ungar
What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath—
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.
Promise this world your love—
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.
A Prayer of Hope During this Pandemic
by Rabbi Naomi Levy
We are frightened, God,
Worried for our loved ones,
Worried for our world.
Helpless and confused,
We turn to You
Seeking comfort, faith and hope.
Teach us God, to turn our panic into patience,
And our fear into acts of kindness and support.
Our strong must watch out for our weak,
Our young must take care of our old.
Help each one of us to do our part to halt the spread of this virus
Send strength and courage to the doctors and nurses
In the front-lines of this battle,
Fortify them with the full force of their healing powers.
Send wisdom and insight to the scientists
Working day and night across the world to discover healing treatments.
Bless their efforts, God.
Fill our leaders with the wisdom and the courage
To choose wisely and act quickly.
Help us, God, to see that we are one world,
Who will rise above this pandemic together.
Send us health God,
Watch over us,
Grace us with Your love,
Bless us with Your healing light.
Hear us God,
Heal us God,
Glacier Jewish Community/
Bnai Shalom |
PO Box 615, Kalispell, MT 59903
Congregation Beth Shalom in Bozeman invites you to celebrate Rabbi Mark Kula’s Installation with a weekend of special events, March 5-7
“Yearnings: Embracing the Sacred Messiness of Life” presented by Rabbi Irwin Kula
Thursday, March 5th at 7:00pm
Montana State University, Strand Union Building, Ballroom D
Our desires for love, happiness, truth, goodness, creativity, and self-awareness define our lives. These yearnings, never fully realized, drive us, disappoint us, push us, frustrate us, elevate us, distort us, damage us, propel us, energize us and inspire us. How can our yearnings become sources of wisdom to help us know ourselves better, live more fearlessly and joyfully, act more ethically and purposefully, and love more passionately and unconditionally?
Rabbi Irwin is a disruptive spiritual innovator and rogue thinker. A 7th generation rabbi, he is Co-President of CLAL, The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, a do-tank committed to making Jewish a Public Good. Named one of the leaders shaping the American spiritual landscape, he received the 2008 Walter Cronkite Faith and Freedom Award for his work “toward equality, liberty and a truly inter–religious community” and has been listed in Newsweek for many years as one of America’s “most influential rabbis.” Learn more about Rabbi Irwin here.
Installation, Shabbat Service, and Purim Celebration
Friday, March 6th at 6:00pm
Congregation Beth Shalom, 2010 W Koch St.
Join us in a celebration of our new Rabbi, Rabbi Mark Kula, with a service officiated by Rabbi Irwin Kula, followed by a catered dinner hosted by Beth Shalom. “The Sanctuary” open bar with live music and Purim festivities kicks off at 8pm. Give a “l’chaim” toast to our Rabbi with a “Kula-tini”!
RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, February 28.
Torah Study led by Rabbis Mark and Irwin Kula
Saturday, March 7th at 9:30am
Congregation Beth Shalom, 2010 W Koch St.
Join us for great conversation and company. Bagels and coffee provided.
For more information, visit www.bethshalombozeman.org.
Rabbi Irwin Kula: Embracing the Sacred Messiness of Life
Rabbi Irwin Kula: Embracing the Sacred Messiness of Life
Editorial Review from Amazon
“This sagacious book will be a blessing to all who read its teachings on the value of spiritual yearning.”
“At a time when religion is too often associated with absolutism and extremism, Kula combines ancient Jewish teachings and contemporary insights to articulate a practical, spiritual path that embraces uncertainty, complexity and tolerance.”
“This wonderful book does what so many like it fail to do: it embraces the magic of day-to-day living, the spirituality that can be found in our questions, our mistakes, our passions and our doubts. Life is indeed messy, but as Rabbi Irwin Kula shows us, sorting through it is what transforms us to higher ground, and there is wisdom in how the heart approaches what it yearns”
“Provocative, engaging and transforming, Yearnings is a shofar blast of a book that will open your eyes and stir you, inspiring you to break free of inertia and move forward in your spiritual evolution.”
“Yearnings: Embracing the Sacred Messiness of Life” was selected by Spirituality and Health Magazine as one of the 10 Best Spiritual Books of 2006.
About The Book
The host of PBS’s Simple Wisdom and The Wisdom of Our Yearnings explores life’s most defining human experiences.
A perfect love, enduring happiness, discovering our purpose. Yearning for these experiences accompanies us through life, leading us to both joy and disappointment, and to a powerful vision of who we are, and who we can become. Far from being a burden, our yearnings can themselves become a path to blessing, prompting questions and insights, resulting in new ways of being and believing.
In Yearnings, renowned Rabbi Irwin Kula explores and celebrates seven of our deepest desires. He opens the spiritual toolbox of Jewish wisdom — it has much to teach about the ambiguities and uncertainties we all encounter — and takes us on an excursion into our age-old questions, merging ancient wisdom and stories with contemporary examples and insights. Whether it’s a woman struggling with a breach in her marriage, a child wondering about the tooth fairy, or Moses yearning for answers in the story of the burning bush, Yearnings offers a broader perspective to enrich our search for meaning.
The practices and insights in this book are based on teachings that have evolved for over three thousand years, as generations have wrestled with the messiness and complexities of the human experience. Rabbi Kula invites us to do the same, urging us to seek answers to our deepest questions, to search for spiritual and personal fulfillment while knowing we will never finally get there, and to celebrate the discoveries we’ll make along the way.
About the Author
Rabbi Irwin Kula has appeared on Oprah and Frontline and serves as a consultant to corporate and family foundations, as well as to federations, synagogues, and agencies on issues of leadership and change. Fast Company has named Rabbi Kula as one of the new leaders shaping the American spiritual landscape and he has been featured in national publications such as the Washington Post, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and the Chicago Tribune. He lives in New York City.
Rabbi Irwin Kula is an eighth-generation rabbi, nationally known speaker and teacher, and the president of the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership. A repeat guest on Oprah, he is also the host of the public television broadcast called The Wisdom of Our Yearnings. Rabbi Kula lives with his wife and daughters in New York City.
MLK EVENTS ACROSS THE STATE!
Reflections from a Civil Rights Icon:
A Conversation with Rabbi Allen Secher
Monday, Jan. 20, 2020
6:15 pm Reception
6:45 pm Presentation
Martin Luther King Day interview-style presentation with Rabbi Allen Secher on a lifetime of civil rights work. Allen will reflect on the journey from the 1960’s Freedom Riders to current issues in Whitefish. He’ll address incorporating human rights into his work as a radio host, TV producer, actor, and author. More info about this event can be found here Admission is free but donations will be accepted.
Love Lives Here Annual Celebration
Friday, Jan. 17, 2020
Whitefish Performing Arts Center
7:30 – 9:00 pm
Each year, the celebration combines live musical performances, spoken word presentations and reminders of the long and hard-won struggle that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. championed in his lifetime. We Were All Strangers Once chronicles the history of the Black experience in Montana. Admission is free, but a suggested donation of $10 will help us cover the costs for this amazing event! The Facebook event for the celebration can be found here
We Were Made for These Times
Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020
Monday, Jan. 20, 2020
The Full Schedule of Events Can be Found here
Everyone Against Injustice
Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020
Billings First Congregational Church
More information can be found here
Georgetown University Law Professor Anthony Cook
Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020
Strand Union Building – Ballroom A
More information can be found here
Six13 – A Star Wars Chanukah
“DO, OR DO NOT — THERE IS NO TRY.”
Little known fact: though Baby Yoda’s cousin delivered this sage advice to Luke Skywalker, he took his inspiration from the Maccabees. Like the Jedi years later, against all odds (never tell us the odds!) they fought off a great empire who sought their destruction.
Today, we celebrate the miracles of that time with presents, dreidels and latkes — and our tribute to the music of one of the greatest film franchises of all time. CHAG SAMEACH… may the force be with you!
There will be a Menorah lighting at the State Capitol Rotunda in Helena on Monday, 12/23/2019, 26 Kislev, 5780, at 12:00 P.M., followed by a MAJCo meeting at 1:00 P.M. All statewide members are welcome to attend.
Also on Monday, 12/23/2019, 26 Kislev, 5780, at 4:30 P.M., Rabbi Mark Kula of Beth shalom, Bozeman, will light the Chanukiyah at Fort Harrison. Everyone is welcome to attend.
The annual city wide Chanukah celebration has become a Missoula tradition. All are welcome to celebrate Chanukah with family, friends, and Mayor John Engen!
Sunday, December 22
At the DoubleTree Hotel
100 Madison Street
Enjoy an LED JUGGLING SHOW, as well as the traditional Latkes, Doughnuts, Dreidel games and Arts & Crafts.
Fun for kids, and fun for kids at heart.
A MAJCo meeting has been planned for Sunday morning, October 20, during the upcoming Missoula Shabbaton.
It will begin sharply at 8:30 AM and last approximately 1 to 2 hours.
For those unable to attend in person but wishing to participate, they may join in online: https://join.freeconferencecall.com/bchessin4
or by calling: (605) 313-6069
Access code: 857836
meeting ID: bchessin4
1. Introduction. Bert and Brian take a few minutes to bring people up to date on MAJCo. (5 min)
2. Congregational and Montana Jewish organizations (MAOR, Hadassah, other) summaries. (30 min)
3. CHANUKAH Menorah lighting plans. (5 min)
4. Financial summary (5 min)
5. Ideas on what communities and individuals want from MAJCo. BY-LAWS, annual gatherings, elections, dealing with political/social/security issues that directly affect congregations, minorities, etc. (30 min)
6. Other issues and announcements (10 min)
Submitted by Brian Schnitzer
From NYC to the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, from Ghana and Belarus, Turkey, Israel, Guatemala and beyond, 92Y would like to wish you a “Shana Tovah” (a “Happy New Year”) with the release of “Reset”, a new song and video for Rosh Hashanah 2019-5780.
“Reset” features music and lyrics by Noah Aronson and Abigail Pogrebin and was shot on mobile phones by people all over the world, all making music together.
A Song for the New Year Sung by Communities Around the World #5780
We hope your New Year is full of love and gratitude. Thank you to everyone around the world who helped make this happen.