Category Archives: 2015


EDITOR’S NOTE: This is taken from the December 3, 2015, minutes of the Great Falls Interfaith Association, submitted by Stephen Boyd.

Those present:
Pastor Ray Larson, Benefis Health care
Stephen Boyd, GF Hebrew Association
Jim Kizer, Great Falls Rescue Mission
Marla Wilkins, 1st Presbyterian Church
Chastity Roofner, Opportunities, Inc.
Dusti Zimmer, Center for Mental Health
Pastor Andre Murphy, Living Grace Church
Lt. Andrea Reedy, Salvation Army
Michael Key, Kairos Youth Services
Cherrie Kelly, Opportunities Inc.
Mark Jones, Northwest Family Fellowship
Jackie Sloak, CMR Food Pantry
Pastor Natalie Faltin, St. John’s Lutheran Church
Joshua Trosper, Northwest Family Fellowship
Rebecca Cloutier, Alliance for Youth
Chris Crooks, Church of Christ
Kristie Stroop, Alliance for Youth
Lee Barrows, New City Church
Sharon Odden, Family Promise
Anna Merritt, Our Saviors Lutheran Church
Laurie Jungling, Redeemer Lutheran Church

Focus: Middle, Secondary Schools & General Youth Assistance

Jackie – CMR Food Pantry – 19 Schools in Great Falls have food pantries, with the 5 middle and high schools having the largest. 912 students being served, 7,000 lbs. of food per month. 200
boxes distributed each holiday from just the five largest pantries. More than 4,000 kids in Cascade county are classified as “food insecure”. The city-wide needs seem to be increasing every year. Kids “shop” the food pantries every week. They get what they want instead of a box of food they may not use. Holiday food is distributed in pre-made boxes. There is supervision, they have to take vegetables as well as cake mixes. Funded by the Great Falls Public Schools Foundation. They don’t limit families from “shopping” every week. The whole family can be fed through the school program. It’s a city, county, and state problem.

Good ways to help include shopping for the food, distributing the food, and paperwork. There is also a constant need to replenish the Great Falls Food Bank. Food donations directly to the schools are very needed.

Church Partnerships: Andre – Calling the school principals and checking in helps a lot. Not just food, sometimes they need clothes, long pants, underwear, socks, gloves, it all helps.

Lee – They provided lunch for the kids in Lewis and Clark who couldn’t afford lunch.

Dusti – Youth Crisis – Been working on Youth Crisis for 3 years. Trying to keep kids at home, with their families, and helping the whole family as a unit. The crisis home is designed as the place they can go before getting institutionalized. The goal being to keep kids close to home in their own communities. The Youth Crisis home is now complete at 625 Central Ave. West. It’s an old renovated hotel. The top floor and basement was given to Dusti, and through a grant, they were able to transform it into a livable space. The Optimist group provided the furniture, lighting, etc… It is being licensed for ages 6-18. Younger youth on the West end, and older on the East end. They have hired a supervisor for the home, and are in the process of hiring group home workers – seven shifts available. You can apply on their web site, or at
Before youth are admitted, they will have a full clinical exam to make sure they are appropriate for the home. Right now it’s grant funded, sustainability is very important, and will hopefully come in year two of the home’s operation. Right now, the closest similar place is in Helena. The most alarming statistic is that 82% of the first 108 kids they served were suicidal.

Kristie – Youth Mental Health – First Aid training is available for free to any church, school, or community organizations. Much like regular First Aid, but more training focused to identify and see the signs and symptoms related to Mental Health/Suicide Prevention. Amy this that “you don’t talk to a suicidal person about it for fear it would make it worse”. This is NOT the case, talking to them actually DOES help. People with mental health issues are more likely to wait for others to approach them to talk about it.
Sharon – Christmas party for the 16 families who have graduated from the Family Promise program, and are in need of gift cards so the parents can shop for their kids for Christmas.

Mike – Always in need of anything, donations gratefully accepted.

Jim – Last year the Rescue Mission shopped for 900 kids, We can help through the Ornament of Hope program, they need UNWRAPPED gifts by the 16th. They will have a giftwrapping party afterwards.

December is suicide month. This month is known as the season of hope, but if you don’t have a family to celebrate with, or are from a broken home, you don’t feel very hopeful. These people need help. Reach out to people in need, let them know that there IS hope!

Ray adjourned the meeting. See you all next year! Next meeting is January 28th at Benefis West.
Submitted by Stephen Boyd



TONIGHT DEC. 10, 5:30 PM

UPDATE: The road conditions for these young men were just too great to overcome. After the meetings and funeral in Helena, Nadyne, Aaron and Jerry returned in time to assist in lighting the Menorah in front of the Civic Center. We gave out the Sufganiyot from Brooklyn and they were enjoyed. The final box of these sugared jelly filled fried pastries were taken to Paris Gibson Square and given to them for their art opening on Thursday evening by Mimi and Gary Wolf.

Again thanks to Lubavitch Montana for providing.


EDITOR’S NOTE: Our condolences to Janet and her family.

Happy Hanukah

Rabbi Kalman Packouz (Originally a Reform Jew from coastal Oregon) and now the sender of Aitz Ha Torah, sent this out today. I like the Latke beginning and am reminded of a young Jewish recruit to the US Army in WW II, who went to the Army Doctor and told him that he was dying. “Why “asked the Doctor, “Well”, he replied,” I have been eating the Army food for two months now and my fire has gone out!”

Jerry Weissman

Mikeitz (Genesis 41:1-44:17)
GOOD MORNING! A friend of mine told me that as he grows older he experiences a personal miracle on Hanukah. He eats one potato latka — and it burns for eight days.
I share with you this week two stories about Hanukah — my Hanukah gift to you!
I heard the following story years ago when I lived in Israel and to the best of my knowledge it is true. Before the USSR let the Jews leave for Israel, Jews used to hire a guide to smuggle them out of Russia. One Hanukah a group of Jews were playing “cat and mouse” with a Soviet army patrol as they approached the border. When the guide thought they had lost the patrol, he announced an half-hour break before continuing the trek. One of the escapees, hearing the “magic” number of “one-half hour” — the minimum time a Hanukah candle must be lit to fulfill the mitzvah — pulls out his menorah, sets up the candles, says the blessing and starts to light the candles. The other escapees immediately pounce upon him and the menorah to put out the candles — just as the Soviet patrol moves in and completely encircles them!
The head of the army patrol speaks: “We were just about to open fire and wipe you out when I saw that man lighting the Hanukah candles. I was overcome with emotion; I remember my zaideh (grandfather) lighting Hanukah candles …. I have decided to let you go in peace.”
There is a verse in the Book of Psalms, (chapter 116, verse 6), “The Almighty protects fools.” Should he have lit the candle? NO! The Talmud tells us (Ta’anis 20b), “One should not put himself in a place of danger saying, ‘Let a miracle happen.’ ” So, while the story is one of action, adventure, suspense … the real lesson is not to rely upon a miracle to save you from danger … but to be thankful if the Almighty performs one to save you!
The second story was sent to me years ago. I was never able to verify it, but I love the story. I offer a prize of $100 to the first person who can prove it true! The story: Young private Winneger was with the U.S. Army as it marched through Europe at the end of World War II. His unit was assigned to a European village with the orders to secure the town, search for any hiding Nazis and to help the villagers any way they could.
Winneger was on patrol one night when he came across a young boy with an ornate menorah. The menorah was his only possession and his only remnant from his family. The boy had survived a concentration camp and was mistrustful of all men in uniforms. He had been forced to watch the shooting of his father. He had no idea what had become of his mother. Winneger calmed the boy, assured him that he himself was Jewish and brought him back to the village.
In the weeks that followed, Winneger took the young boy, David, under his wing. As they became closer and closer, Winneger’s heart went out to the boy. He offered to adopt David and bring him back to New York. David accepted.
Winneger was active in the New York Jewish community. An acquaintance of his, a curator of the Jewish Museum in Manhattan, saw the menorah. He told David it was a very valuable historic, European menorah and should be shared with the entire Jewish Community. He offered David $50,000 for the menorah.
But David refused the generous offer saying the menorah had been in his family for over 200 years and that no amount of money could ever make him sell it.
When Hanukah came, David and Winneger lit the menorah in the window of their home in New York City. David went upstairs to his room to study while Winneger stayed downstairs in the room with the menorah.
There was a knock on the door and Winneger went to answer. He found a woman with a strong German accent who said that she was walking down the street when she saw the menorah in the window. She said that she had once had one just like it in her family and had never seen any other like it. Could she come and take a closer look?
Winneger invited her in and said that the menorah belonged to his son who could perhaps tell her more about it. Winneger went upstairs and called David down to talk to the woman … and that is how David was reunited with his mother.



That’s the place to be Sunday evening after the lighting of the first candle of the Diane Kaplan Memorial Chanukkiah at the Great Falls Civic Center at precisely 5:30 P.M. Who knows, maybe one of the following 17 latke recipes from the Los Angeles Times will be served there, and become the new Aitz Chaim Congregation favorite.


Please mark your calendars to remind you of these upcoming events.

  • Monday, 12/07/2015—Monday, 12/14/2015: Chanukkah.
  • Sunday, 12/06/2015, 5:30 P.M.: Erev Chanukah. 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. From there we will go to the home of Jerry and Nadyne Weissman, 2777 Greenbriar Drive, for the annual community Chanukah party. Please bring a milchig (dairy) dish to share, and a hearty appetite for latkes and Sufganiyot. Please see separate article in Ram’s Horn.
  • Monday, 12/07/2015: First day of Chanukah. We will light the second candle at the Civic Center at precisely 5:30 P.M.
  • Tuesday, 12/08/2015: Second day of Chanukah. We will light the third candle at the Civic Center at precisely 5:30 P.M.
  • Wednesday, 12/09/2015: Third day of Chanukah. We will light the fourth candle at the Civic Center at precisely 5:30 P.M.
  • Thursday, 12/10/2015: Fourth day of chanukah. We will light the fifth candle at the Civic Center at precisely 5:30 P.M.
  • Thursday, 12/10/2015, 12:00 P.M.: Annual MAJCO Chanukiah lighting at the Capitol Rotunda in Helena. Please see separate article in Ram’s Horn.
  • Friday, 12/11/2015, Fifth day of Chanukah. We will light the sixth candle at the Civic Center at precisely 5:30 P.M.
  • Saturday, 12/12/2015: Sixtht day of Chanukah. We will light the seventh candle at the Civic Center at precisely 5:30 P.m.
  • Saturday, 12/12/2015, 4:00 P.M.: Helena Community Chanukah potluck and celebration. Please see separate article in Ram’s Horn.
  • Sunday, 12/13/2015: Seventh day of Chanukah. We will light the eight candle at the Civic Center at precisely 5:30 P.m.
  • Monday, 12/14/2015: Eighth day of Chanukah.
  • Thursday/Friday, 12/24-25/2015: Christmas at the Mercy Home. Please see separate article in Ram’s Horn.


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 Yahrzeit 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 comfort to all who are bereaved.

Name of
English Date of Passing Hebrew Date of Passing Deceased Relationship to
Dr. Charles (Chuck) Astrin Jan 29, 2015 17 Sh’vat, 5775
Henry Espelin Dec 1, 1984 7 Kislev, 5745 Father of Dawn Schandelson
Diane Kaplan Dec 3, 2009 16 Kislev, 5770 Mother of Kai Nealis
Carl Weissman Dec 9, 1960 20 Kislev, 5721 Grandfather of Jerry Weissman
Irving Tatz Dec 9, 2008 12 Kislev, 5769 Beloved husband of Beverly Tatz and 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
Molly Dunaeff Dec 20, 1985 8 Tevet, 5746 Aunt of Meriam Nagel
James Levie Dec 22, 2010 15 Tevet, 5771 Uncle of Wendy Weissman
Theodore Eichner Dec 30, 1970 2 Tevet, 5731 Father of Jerry Eichner
Joe Lavin


Now that Thanksgiving is behind us, we can look forward to Chanukah that begins this year on Sunday, December 6th ( just one week from today!).

We will be gathering at the State Capitol rotunda on Thursday, December 10th at high noon for our annual MAJCO chanukiah lighting ceremony and speeches. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to tell their friends. “You don’t have to be Jewish”. The more the merrier. Set up and schmoozing begins at 11a.m. Immediately following this program, we will hold a MAJCO board meeting. Room to be determined. All are welcome to attend.

Then, on Saturday, December 12th, the Helena Jewish Community is hosting a Chanukah potluck and celebration. This program will begin at 4pm in The Forum ( on the 2nd floor) of Touchmark on Saddle Dr. ( 915 Saddle Dr.) At that time, Rabbi Ed will offer a shiur (Jewish study session) on the topic of religious zealotry, focusing on the Chanukah story which begins (in 1 Maccabees chapter 2, as follows:

“A Jew came forward in the sight of all to offer a [Greek style] sacrifice upon the altar in Modein, according to the king’s command. [24] When Mattathias saw it, be burned with zeal and his heart was stirred. He gave vent to righteous anger; he ran and killed him upon the altar. [25] At the same time he killed the king’s officerwho was forcing them to sacrifice, and he tore down the altar. [26] Thus he burned with zeal for the law, as Phinehas did against Zimri the son of Salu.”

At this shiur, we will look at what the Jewish tradition, and especially the Talmud, have to say about this part of the Chanukah story, the preceding Pinchas story, and religious zealotry in general. You may find it surprising. The shiur will be open to whoever wishes to do some Chanukah learning.

Immediately following this study session, we will hold havdalah, followed by chanukiah lighting and a vegetarian potluck. This is a rare opportunity to partake of a little Jewish learning, socializing and holiday celebration right here in Helena. Hope you can attend.
Shavuah tov ( have a good week),

Submitted by Janet Tatz