Category Archives: MAJCO


The Shabbat Project was introduced in South Africa in 2013 to quite astonishing effect. On the Shabbat over which it ran, close to 70 percent of that country’s 75,000 Jews kept Shabbat to a more full degree, most for the first time in their lives.

Perhaps more significantly, the initiative drew people together in ways never seen before.

In the aftermath, many wrote in from around the world, wanting to bring the initiative to their own cities and communities. And so, The International Shabbat Project was born.

It has already been described as “an experiment that has no precedent in modern Jewish history,” and “the most ambitious Jewish unity initiative ever undertaken.”

In October 2016, over 1,000 cities in 90 countries held events, some with as many as 10,000 attendees. It is estimated that as many as 1,000,000 Jews participated in the numerous public and private celebrations of the Shabbat.

Congregation Beth Aaron has enrolled in this year’s The Shabbat Project. In addition to our Erev Shabbat Service and Oneg Shabbat Friday, October 27 and Shabbat Torah Study/Lunch-n-Learn Saturday, October 28, please join us for these other Shabbat morning and afternoon activities.

Friday, October 27, 2017, 8 Cheshvan, 5778:

  • 7:00 PM – SHIRIM UZ’MIROT/Songs and Hymns
  • 7:30 PM – KABBALAT SHABBAT/Welcoming the Sabbath
  • 8:45 PM – ONEG SHABBAT/Sabbath celebration

Saturday, October 28, 2017, 8 Cheshvan, 5778:

  • 9:00 AM – SHACHARIT L’SHABBAT/Sabbath Morning Service (No Torah service or D’VAR TORAH.)
  • 10:00 AM – Torah Study
  • 12:00 PM – Lunch-n-Learn (Non-hosted lunch; bring your own dairy or vegetarian selection.)
  • 5:00 PM – SEUDAH SHELISHIT/Third Sabbath meal (Hosted cheese pizza and salad.)
  • 6:00 PM – HAVDALAH/Separation of the Sabbath
  • Submitted by brian Schnitzer



    The Shabbat Project | 27-28 October

    This week, in addition to exciting events in Rome, Tel Aviv and Warsaw, there are tributes from a nation’s president, a Chassidic rebbe and a New York
    a capella band!

    How are your final preparations going?

    #KeepingItTogether #TheFinalCountdown

    Reuvy Baby!
    Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin has publicly endorsed The Shabbat Project.
    Read his letter here!

    It’s Official
    In Zichron Yaakov, organisers are partnering with the mayor’s office to run a host of events – including a pre-event wine evening, citywide Challah Bake, Kabbalat Shabbat under the stars, Shabbat activities and workshops in schools, and a Friday night dinner for the city’s teenagers.

    Click here for more.

    Friends, Romans, Countrymen
    Rome has clicked into gear with the “Invite your neighbours” campaign that will see friends and ‘strangers’ gathering together in homes across the city for Shabbat meals. Rome will be joined by Venice, Naples, Milan, Cosenza, Cuneo and Torino, which are all running headline events.

    Check it out.

    Poles A Part
    Warsaw is paying tribute to South Africa – where The Shabbat Project was introduced in 2013 – with a communal Friday night meal comprising South African delicacies. The South African Ambassador to Poland is also expected to attend.

    Contact Magda

    Rocking in Rio
    In Rio de Janeiro, Jews in the neighbourhoods of Copacabana, Ipanema, Botafogo and Leblon are participating in a veritable carnival of Shabbat Project events.

    Check it out here.

    Shabbat Around the World
    Inspire Tel Aviv (ITV) is hosting an extraordinary dinner on a rooftop overlooking the city, where it will be serving foods and celebrating cultures from around the world. ITV is also having a cholent-and-beer Shabbat lunch, a walking tour of “Tel Aviv’s hidden history”, a third meal, and a musical Havdallah!

    Register here.

    I’m a Jewish Mother, Do Exactly As I Say!
    Tovah Feldshuh – actress, singer, playwright, and Jewish mother – says: “Come to the worldwide Challah Bake!” And you dare not disobey.

    Havdallah Spice Shouldn’t Be a Problem
    In Marrakesh, Morocco, a tour group of 35 people from around the world have opted to keep a full Shabbat together! That’s not all for Morocco. Shabbat Project activities are also happening in the cities of Rabat and Casablanca, where Shabbat meals are being planned.

    Contact David

    A Jew You Should Know
    Ari Koretzky has interviewed US senators, Nobel Prize winners, 9/11 survivors, hedge fund masterminds and global human rights ambassadors. In his latest “Jews you should know” podcast, he gets up close and personal with the “Good Shabbos Rabbi” himself – South Africa’s Chief Rabbi Dr Warren Goldstein, who is the founder and director of The Shabbat Project.

    Check it out here.

    Novaminsker Rebbe Gets On Board
    People often ask, what about communities that keep Shabbat every week? If they experience this gift every week – what can they do to tap into the magic of The Shabbat Project? The Novominsker Rebbe and the Chief Rabbi of South Africa have answered this conundrum…
    The Shabbat Project is an opportunity for everyone to renew their appreciation of Shabbat, even those who have kept Shabbat since birth. So families around the world are uniting to study chapter 30 of the Rambam Hilchos Shabbos on the Shabbat of The Shabbat Project, as a way to renew their appreciation of this beautiful gift!

    Download the study material here.

    Justin Timberlake Says: “Keep Shabbat!”
    Okay, we admit – that headline was just clickbait. But to help you get over your disappointment, here’s NYC’s crack a cappella outfit, Six13, giving JT’s “Can’t stop the feeling!” a distinctly Sabbatical spin.

    Here’s to keeping it together in 2017.
    The Shabbat Project Team

    There is still time to put your city/town/county on the list!

    Submitted by Brian Schnitzer


    The Shabbat Project

    Here’s how to:
    Keep it together
    We’ll show you how in three simple steps.

    Partner with us
    You can partner with us and organise your own event this year.


    July 6       –

    July 7/8    –

    July 9       –

    July 10     –

    July  11    –

    July   12   –

    Submitted by Brian Schnitzer


    The World Maccabiah Games
    Hebrew: משחקי המכביה‎‎ or Hebrew: משחקי המכביה העולמית‎‎; plural Maccabiot)

    First held in 1932, the Maccabiah Games are an international Jewish multi-sport event now held quadrennially in Israel. It is the third-largest sporting event in the world, with 10,000 athletes competing on behalf of 80 countries. The Maccabiah, which is organized by the Maccabi World Union, was declared a “Regional Sport Event” by, and under the auspices and supervision of, the International Olympic Committee and international sports federations in 1960. The Maccabiah is often referred to as the “Jewish Olympics”.


    Contributed by Brian Schnitzer



    There are Jews Here is the story of America’s disappearing Jewish communities. Over 1 million American Jews live in once thriving small towns that have seen better days. Exploring themes of faith and community, the film is an intimate look into what Jews are doing to keep their communities alive, or TO ensure their legacies are not lost. The film takes you to Laredo Texas, Butte Montana, Latrobe Pennsylvania, and Dothan Alabama, where you are sure to be surprised by the people you meet who are doing their part to keep the Jewish spirit alive.

    The film is both a celebration of tenacity and a cautionary tale; a warning that synagogues, cemeteries and sacred possessions could vanish. This film transcends religion, and is a deeply human exploration of age-old universal questions of faith and identity.

    Congregation Beth Aaron will be showing this film on Monday, July 31, at the Art House Cinema and Pub, 109 North 30th. The theater will open at 6:00 PM for socialization and no-host beverages, with screening of the film at 6:30 PM, and discussion after the film at 8:00 PM. We are most fortunate that Nancy Oyer, of Butte, Montana, who is featured in the film, will be joining us.

    The film is open to the community without charge, but donations ARE greatly appreciated.

    Additional information about the film can be found HERE
    For other questions, contact Diane Kersten at or 406-697-7992.


    (Produced by BBC in 2007)

    “This is a very well done documentary with some great archival footage. It not only documents the war itself, but more importantly, events leading up to it and the dilemmas faced by main characters on both sides of the conflict — Israeli PM Levi Eshkol on one side and Egyptian leader Nasser on the other. Both of these leaders were exposed to some pretty intense pressures and the documentary does a terrific job retracing all the steps, exposing the sources of pressure, motivations behind them, etc.

    The other great thing about this documentary is that it also brings in a number of eye witnesses from both sides, who are all pretty frank about their assessment. It’s interesting to hear the commentaries from the point of view of Nasser’s secretary, high-ranking Soviet officials, a Syrian student in Cairo, an Egyptian soldier, a U.S.-born Palestinian journalist in Jerusalem, Jordanian commanders, the UN commander in the Sinai, CIA officials, U.S. government officials, Israeli generals, soldiers and fighter pilots as well as Israeli civilians. This really puts it in even greater perspective.

    The other interesting thing is how this documentary illuminates the misinformation and bias about the real state of affairs perpetuated by many Arab governments and media. It’s interesting to hear Nasser’s boasts of almost sure victory in a conflict he instigated based on flawed intelligence from the Russians. He’s touting the strengths of his armies which are ready for war, unaware that the war had already begun. Yet, when it’s all over he refuses to take responsibility, blames the British and the Americans for intervening on behalf of Israel even when the Israelis have clear evidence from an intercepted phone call between Nasser and King Hussein of Jordan plotting how to find a scapegoat for their own folly.

    But it also looks at the war and its outcome as the seed of the current conflict, the occupation of the West Bank and Golan Heights, the “land for peace” principle and the general trauma that the war inflicted on the Arab world. It effectively illustrates how we got to where we are now.

    The producers got access to some pretty unique archival war footage, most of it from the Israelis. The one incident the documentary does not cover or even mention is the controversial Israeli attack on the USS Liberty, a US Navy electronic intelligence ship.”


    Israeli water experts share technology, conservation in Missoula

    7 June 2017

    By Martin Kidston/Missoula Current

    A delegation of Israeli water experts met with state leaders in Butte this week before stopping in Missoula to discuss water scarcity and the leading technologies developed by the desert nation to address the shortage on a global scale.

    Led by Israeli Consul General Andy David and the Montana World Affairs Council, the delegation came to observe Montana’s varied water practices and hear the concerns of state officials confronted with a future where water could become scarce in a shifting climate.

    “I hear in the U.S. that whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting,” David said before joining KGVO Talk Back radio for an interview. “The world does face a water shortage already. There are policies that need to be in place and planning to ensure there is no shortage of food or water.”

    While clean drinking water and rich aquifers are currently abundant in Montana, climate experts, including those at the state’s two flagship universities, project that may change later this century as rainfall tapers off and temperatures rise.

    The situation is even more dire in other parts of the West, where prolonged drought and reckless water usage has prompted massive changes to both policy and practice. Some suggest Montana may not be far behind, and that could have dire consequences on both an economic and ecological scale.

    “It’s the No. 1 issue,” said Robert Seidenschwarz, president emeritus of the Montana World Affairs Council. “Every industry, all our agriculture, all of our population centers, they cannot function unless we have secure, clean water.”

    David, accompanied by global water experts Avner Adin and Anan Adin of Israel, spent the past week in Montana observing the state’s water practices, from irrigation to municipal consumption.

    Touring Butte with Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney, they found that nearly 40 percent of the residences were unmetered. The state’s irrigation practices also remain somewhat antiquated in a water-scarce world.

    “When it comes to irrigation here, we’ve learned a lot of it is just sprinklers or flood irrigation,” David said. “Drip irrigation in Israel has proven to save on the water, but you also increase the yield. We’re basically here to try and understand the challenges and offer our friendship.”

    Since its independence in 1948, Israel has been forced by geography and circumstance to address its water shortage. Avner Adin, an emeritus professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and an environmental engineer, said water was the catalyst of change that enabled Israel to thrive in the desert.

    “Three thousand years ago, Moses hit a rock with a stick and water came out, but today, we don’t have miracles like this,” said Adin. “With climate change, we’re facing more troubles. We have to work out and develop more water resources.”

    The U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence now ranks water scarcity as a major threat to national security. David and his Israeli delegation have seen the risks first hand, from the Middle East to the American West.

    To address the problem, Israel has developed new, cost-effective technology to produce drinkable water, including desalination. But it’s the nation’s conservation practices that could best apply to Montana, and that has the attention of state officials.

    “As chair of the Governor’s Drought and Water Supply Advisory Council, I know firsthand how important water is to our economy, quality of life, and the health and safety of Montanans,” Cooney said Wednesday. “It was a great opportunity to engage in a unique partnership between Montana and Israeli water experts, and to discuss innovative ideas to conserve and protect our precious resources and safeguard the right to clean water.”

    David described the meeting with state leaders as a “first date,” and said his country’s delegation of global water experts will return if requested.

    “We’re thinking about the next steps and the value we can bring to Montana when it comes to planning, or creating a demonstration project somewhere to show some of our new agriculture techniques, or what we call precision agriculture,” David said.

    “People are used to paying for food, but they’re not used to paying for water in many cases,” he added. “They look at it as a resource that has no limits, but it does have limits.”


    One fateful week in June 1967 redrew the map of the Middle East.

    Fifty years later, Israel continues to face numerous existential threats.

    Experience an inspiring and thrilling account of what was then considered the most improbable and astonishing victory in all of military history.






    What Is MAJCo?

    The Montana Association of Jewish Communities (MAJCo) is an umbrella organization that includes representation from Jewish communities across the length and breadth of the great state of Montana. Membership in MAJCo is open to any Jewish community, whatever the “stream,” within Montana.
    (Acceptance by the current communities is required.)

    Small Jewish communities in rural areas do not exist in a vacuum. Almost three decades ago, the Jewish communities throughout the state created MAJCo, an association of all the organized Montana Jewish
    communities. Through MAJCo, we keep in touch and have created a community throughout this great big beautiful state.
    The Jewish communities in the Big Sky currently include:

    • Congregation Beth Aaron, Billings
    • Chabad Lubavitch of Montana, Bozeman
    • Congregation Beth Shalom, Bozeman
    • Congregation B’nai Israel, Butte
    • Congregation Aitz Chaim, Great Falls
    • Helena Jewish Community, Helena
    • Glacier Jewish Community/B’nai Shalom, Kalispell-Whitefish
    • Chabad Lubavitch of Missoula, Missoula
    • Congregation Har Shalom, Missoula

    Anyone wishing to be on the MAJCo email list may contact Brian Schnitzer at