Category Archives: 5778
THE PITTSBURGH SLAYINGS AND THE SEARCH FOR AMERICA’S SOUL
(Opinion on behalf of the Billings “Montana Interfaith Network,” submitted by the Rev. Dr. Paul Seastrand)
It is estimated that in the last 800 years, half of the world’s Jews have died violently, and on October 27, eleven more Jews in a Pittsburgh synagogue were added to that count by a man hurling anti-Semitic slurs and bullets. Yet though the history of anti-Semitism is immeasurably tragic, the slayings in Pittsburgh bring us face to face with another sobering fact: The religious and cultural diversity that is the heritage and strength of America has too often devolved into religious and cultural animosity.
Though affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, I write on behalf of the Montana Interfaith Network which represents Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Native American, and other historic faith communities who “advocate for the dignity, sanctity, and equality of every human being.” This advocacy finds common cause, as well, with the aims of civil freedom and justice affirmed by the U.S. Constitution and its amendments. Yet starkly contrasted is an America dismayed and torn by church shootings, school shootings, racist nationalism, tribalism, and the fatiguing tensions of identity politics. This is regrettable to people of faith as well as to every citizen who is committed to “one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
Observe how certain political and religious currents in American society today bring to mind the “Know-Nothing” politics of the mid-1800s. The “Know-Nothing-Party” was pledged to defend American values and life-style from the potential of foreign domination on native-born Americans. American Protestants, in particular, feared the influence of immigrant European traditionalists and not least the increasing influx of Roman Catholics. This kind of hostile American nativism is not just a historical footnote, but lingers on in polarizing debates about immigration, white nationalism, identity politics, and racial and religious equality. Moreover, during the present election season Republicans and Democrats debate tooth and nail about border control and healthcare, yet neither party has brought forward detailed proposals and moderating attitudes that effectively move our governing process and our body politic beyond vitriolic stagnation and suspicion.
So the tragedy in Pittsburgh is not only a marker of anti-Semitism, but is another mark of the discord and debate that press the search for America’s soul. Our Founding Fathers recognized that diverse people with competing self-interests can either break or make a nation. They knew well the pitfalls of human avarice and tyranny, but anticipated (more than they realized) that constitutional divisions of power and democratic controls could preserve this nation in civil harmony despite and even because of differences of religion and inheritance. By the same token, many faith traditions recognize that civil harmony is a religious imperative. In 1995, my Lutheran denomination made common cause with the Montana Association of Jewish Communities, not because we share the same religious doctrines about God and salvation, but because we share renewed respect for each other that does not bow to stereotypes and intolerance. Moreover, we stated that “We need not share a common creed to share common deeds that enhance human welfare and strengthen the moral fabric of society.”
Such is the kind of language and commitment that advances both faith and nation. Whatever
our religion or biological and social inheritance; whether we are conservative, liberal,Republican, Democrat, or Independent; whether we drive Fords, Chevys, or bicycles; we need not share a common creed to share common deeds of justice, respect, and maybe even love. This election season is a fitting time to deepen these foundations of our common life and prove-up the search for America’s soul.
(The Rev. Dr. Paul Seastrand is a retired pastor with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and a member of the Billings “Montana Interfaith Network.”)
September 5, 2018
“As Israel prepares to celebrate the 5779th year of the Hebrew calendar, Israel’s population stands at 8,907,000, of whom 6,625,000 (74.4%) are Jews, the Central Bureau of Statistics reported Tuesday. 175,000 babies were born in Israel this past year, and 25,000 new immigrants arrived – 62% from Russia and Ukraine, 12% from France, and 10% from the U.S. Arabs in Israel number 1,864,000, 20.9% of the population. 89% of Israelis polled said they were happy with their lives, while 84% assessed their health as good.
Amir Weitmann, Head of the Libertarian Caucus in the Likud, and Binyamin Lachkar, Likud Central Committee, speaking at ILTV studio about a new poll by Israel’s Keshet TV that reports that the Likud party with Prime Minister Netanyahu at its head would win 36 seats in the Knesset if elections were held today.
FROM THE GREAT FALLS TRIBUNE
Dawn M. Schandelson, 70, of Great Falls, passed away on Monday, September 3, 2018 of natural causes. A Graveside Service will take place this Friday, September 7th at 1:00 PM at Mount Olivet Cemetery.
Born on July 11, 1948 in Great Falls to Henry and Beverly Espelin, Dawn grew up in Columbia Falls and Great Falls. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Education with an emphasis on Special Education from the University of MT. She met and fell in love with Arnold Schandelson, an Airman whom she met at the Cart Wheel Bar and they were married in 1971.
Through the years Dawn enjoyed volunteering for the PTA in New York and Great Falls, Toys for Tots, the Aitz Chaim Hebrew Association in Great Falls, and was a Den Mother for the Boy Scouts (Cub) in Lake Grove, NY. She and Arny worked together, although she was really the “Boss”. They did medical billing for over two decades in north central Montana. When she wasn’t going to rummage sales, she loved crocheting, knitting, calligraphy, and reading a good book and she was also an avid collector. She was very proud that she had beaten the game of Tetris on Game Boy and Nintendo.
Survivors include her loving husband of 47 years, Arnold Kenneth Schandelson; sons, Scott Harris (Shannon) and Brett David (Jessie); brother, Theodore “Ted” (Roberta “Bobbie”) Espelin; sister, Nancy Espelin; four grandchildren, Alex, Aidan, Molly and Micah, with one on the way.
Dawn was preceded in death by her parents; sister, Heidi Espelin; and her beloved grand-dog, Marx.
From Aitz Chaim:
After the graveside service, lunch will be served at Teriyaki Madness, 1710 Tenth Avenue South, a restaurant that Dawn enjoyed.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a contribution to the Great Falls Hebrew Association.
Congregation Aitz Chaim
C/O Wendy Weissman, CPA
525 Central Avenue, Suite L8
Great Falls, MT 59401-3271
For the High Holidays this year, Congregation B’nai Israel is honored to be led by Rabbi Lynne Goldsmith. Rabbi Lynne headed Temple Emanu-el in Dothan Alabama from her ordination in 2007 until her retirement in 2017. Temple Emanu-el was one of four Congregations featured along with B’nai Israel in the documentary, There Are Jews Here. Rabbi Lynne is married and has two adult children. Her husband, Rob, will be accompanying her to Butte. We know her experience and knowledge will bring us new perspectives and be a great benefit to us.
Below is our High Holidays Schedule. Please forward this email to anyone you think would be interested or would like to attend.
Sun Sept. 9, 2018 Erev Rosh Hashana 7:30 PM
Mon Sept. 10, 2018 Rosh Hashana Day 10:00 AM
Tue Sept. 18, 2018 Kol Nidre 7:30 PM
Wed Sept. 19, 2018 Yom Kippur10:00 AM
Wed Sept. 19, 2018 Yizkor 1:00 PM
Wed Sept. 19, 2018 N’Elah 4:00 PM
No Host Breakfast following N’Elah will be at Lydia’s Supper Club. Please call Mike Rudolph (406)782-2100 for reservations.
My name is Mark Kula and I am a Rabbi in Miami. We are relocating to Missoula in a couple of weeks as my wife begins her job as Director of Choral activities at the University.
I am interested in learning more about Jewish life in Montana and opportunities for me to serve as a Rabbi, Cantor, Jewish educator. My CV is attached.
If people are in need of a Rabbi, Jewish educator, Bnai Mitzvah guide, and other life cycle event facilitator, I would make myself available and am willing to travel.
Interestingly, my wife’s family actually immigrated to Montana exactly 100 years ago in 1918. They eventually migrated to Chicago.
We are excited about this new chapter in our lives. As we are committed to our Jewish lives, and have a 4 and 2 year old, we strive to celebrate Judaism with our new communities.
I look forward to being in contact, talking and meeting in the near future.
Beevracha. With much blessing.
Rabbi Mark Kula
RAM’S HORN POLICY FOR LISTING YAHRZEIT MEMORIALS:!
Yahrzeit memorials are listed by consecutive Hebrew 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
May the source of peace send peace to all who mourn, and comfort to all who are bereaved.
|Hebrew Date of Passing||Deceased Relationship to
|Norman Nagel||11 Elul, 5736||Father of Meriam Nagel|
|William Meyer||21 Elul, 5726||Grandfather of Diane Sherick|
|Harriet Renne||22 Elul, 5769||Mother of Michael Renne|
|Joe Barrett||28 Elul, 5753||Uncle of Nadyne Weissman|
|Zel Lana Jenings||28 Elul, 5766||Niece of Diane Sherick|
Registration is now open for Mitzvah Day 2018
Sunday November 18th
Be a part of the largest Jewish led day of Social Action
On Mitzvah Day, we give our time, not our money, to make a difference to the community around us. We introduce people to social action, to their neighbours and to local charities setting up projects which address real needs. Jewish led, we bring people of other faiths, and none to volunteer side by side, with fun and laughter, with our community, to get to know each other.
2018 marks the tenth anniversary of Mitzvah Day – the largest Jewish led day of global social action, and with your support we are looking to include an even greater number of communities. Guided by the Jewish values of tikkun olam, gemilut chasadim and tzedek, our vision is of Jews and non-Jews coming together to build more cohesive neighbourhoods and to strengthen civil society.
Register now to join with us, and Jewish communities across the globe on Sunday 18th November 2018 and be a part of something amazing!
Now is the time to put on your thinking caps and start planning your social action projects such as organizing collections for your local shelters,visiting the elderly, helping the needy and vulnerable, reaching out to our neighbours of all faiths and none, and much much more.
Together we can make a difference!
To find out more please email