Category Archives: April

AITZ CHAIM COMMUNITY PESACH SEDER CANCELLED

Due to the current restrictions on group gatherings and for the safety of our congregation members during this Coronavirus crisis, the Aitz Chaim Board has made the decision to cancel our community Seder this year. Other seders and gatherings around the state are also being cancelled. Congregation President Laura Weiss said in an email: “Stay home, read a good book, stay well.” Rabbi Ruz said in an email, “… we’ll reschedule when it becomes possible! Take care, everyone!!💜

PESACH AND THE ELEVENTH PLAGUE

Shavuah tov, my friends!

So it looks like best practices, as dictated by the CDC, state regulations, and my children, dictate that I NOT fly there for the Pesach community gathering. 🥺 It’s looking like we have to push our plans back about six weeks.

Let’s turn the lemons into lemonade: we can have an amazing Shavuot celebration! It would be wonderful to learn about and enjoy this holiday together, a first!!
Please let me know what you think about that idea ASAP, so that rather than getting a refund on my ticket I can switch it to that time.

Meanwhile, I beg you to observe the social distancing and hygiene practices that Washington state had to wake up to on our own, thanks to that orange menace!!

Life here is so strange: everywhere is deserted, and grocery stores are barely half stocked. No school, no Shul, no anything.
☹️
My daughter’s partner works for a funeral home, transporting dead people from their homes to the mortuary. He has been, obviously, way too busy. And as my daughter is immunosuppressed with a chronic illness, we are really scared. Dystopia indeed!

Please check on my Facebook page to find some wonderful prayer and healing services that are being broadcast online by some incredible musicians and clergy!

Stay safe and, as everybody keep saying, WASH YOUR HANDS!!

Love, Ruz
Sent from my iPhone March 14, 2020

COMMUNITY PASSOVER SEDER REMINDER

Please remember that the Aitz chaim Community Seder is this Friday, April 26, at 5:30 P.M., in the basement of the O’Haire Motor Inn, 17 7th Street South, in Great Falls.

Please have your reservations in by this week end, as we will need to have a count to the caterer by Monday, April 22.

For reservations or inquiries, e-mail Laura at
president@aitzchaim.com

Send your payment to:
Congregation Aitz Chaim
C/O Wendy Weissman, CPA
525 Central Avenue, Suite L8
Great Falls, MT 59401-3271

Looking forward to seeing you there.

Next year in Jerusalem, but if not, the O’Haire Motor Inn!

HAPPY PESACH FROM OUR HOUSE TO YOURS

Chag Pesach Sameach from Bruce and Joy Breslauer






19 WAYS YOU KNOW IT’S PASSOVER IN ISRAEL

FROM THE JEWISH NEWS SYNDICATE

Submitted by Brian Schnitzer, MAJCo

WHAT MAKES A PERSON JEWISH?

FROM THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Born Half Jewish, I Chose to Be Wholly So
My journey began when my Catholic mother joined the local synagogue.
By
Joshua Weisberg
April 18, 2019 7:25 p.m. ET

On Friday night Jews around the world will recite the Passover haggadah, a celebration of the Jews’ liberation from slavery in Egypt and an opportunity to reflect on identity. Children will sing the “four questions,” beginning with, “Why is tonight different from all other nights?” As my own children ask their questions, I remember the ones I grappled with decades ago.

“It never occurred to me that I was creating a conflict,” my mother told me recently. “One day, when you were 5, I saw you standing in front of a mirror. You said to me, ‘I know I am half Jewish and half German, I just don’t know which half is which.’ ”

Shortly thereafter, my German Catholic mom insisted that our family join the local Reform synagogue. She no longer believed in God, but she missed the community, music and holidays of her Catholic childhood. “Besides,” she told my American Jewish atheist father, “Joshua has a right to be exposed to Judaism. It is half of his heritage.”

After high school, my dad encouraged me to take a year off before attending college. He suggested volunteering on a kibbutz, an Israeli agricultural commune, which sounded adventurous enough. At my first job in the communal dining room, I met Jews who had fled Germany for Palestine in the 1930s. Many of their families had a formal, diluted Jewish identity but yearned for something more passionate and moved to help build a new home for their people.
It was the first time I had met people for whom Judaism was more than a heritage, for whom identity was worth making sacrifices. Many were disappointed to learn that I planned to return to Canada. I thought of the year in Israel as an experience; they assumed I had come home.

Religious faith didn’t bind the kibbutzniks to Israel. They typically were confident in their secularism—happily eating bread with matzo on Passover while denying the existence of God. But I didn’t know enough about the religion to rebel against it. After leaving the kibbutz I joined a yeshiva, or center for Talmudic studies.
My doubts about God’s existence didn’t surprise or disappoint my rabbi. “I don’t believe in the god you don’t believe in either,” he said and explained that my limited language for faith gave me a shallow image of God, which he also rejected. “You’re Jewish, Joshua. You can worry about God later. At your age, you should be learning Talmud.”
I studied and eventually learned that technically I was not Jewish. But no one asked, and I didn’t volunteer the information.

The year ended, and soon I was at Wesleyan. On the first night the university president spoke to new students and their families about the importance of challenging tradition. For dinner they served lobster, which isn’t kosher. I filled my plate with pasta salad—but my dad couldn’t turn down a good crustacean.

For so many Jews I met at Wesleyan, Israel was a problem and Judaism an afterthought. The dissonance between my inner world and theirs made me miss Israel even more, and after two years I returned and studied more Talmud. This time I told my rabbis that my mother was not Jewish. They encouraged me to convert formally, but I resisted—too Jewish to convert and too Jewish not to.
Eventually I converted. Through studying Talmud, I learned to appreciate the subtleties of faith, the depth of Jewish spiritual practice, and the possibility of an encounter with God in the act of study itself. Twenty-five years later, I teach Talmud for a living and have eight children who speak Judaism as their first language.

Last year I took my teenage daughter on a trip to visit family in the U.S. A woman at the airport noticed her modest dress and asked if she was Amish, embarrassing my daughter. I told her to be proud, that Americans respect people who keep their traditions. “It isn’t what Americans think that embarrasses me,” she replied. “I just don’t know why we have to be so different from everyone else. Why can’t we just be people?”

Jewish law is demanding. When I struggled with Judaism’s exclusivity and claims to chosenness, I immersed myself in the Talmud’s complexity and tried to shield my children from my own contradictions. But now my daughter was as confused as I had been at her age. It had never occurred to me that I was creating a conflict, too.
“I have lots of questions, dad.” She asked what to do.

“You’re Jewish,” I said. “Maybe we should start learning some Talmud together.”

Mr. Weisberg is a rabbi and educator at Nishmat in Jerusalem.
Appeared in the April 19, 2019, print edition.

Submitted by Jerry Weissman

HAPPY PESACH!

Happy Pesach from M, K, K, L, and F.

WHY ARE SEPHARDIC SEDERS DIFFERENT FROM ASHKENAZIC SEDERS?

CLICK HERE TO FINE OUT

PLEASE MARK YOUR CALENDARS AND JOIN US FOR OUR ANNUAL COMMUNITY PASSOVER SEDER!

The annual Aitz Chaim community Passover Seder will be held at 5:30pm Friday, April 26, in the basement room of the O’Haire Motor Inn, 17 7th Street South. The meal will include all the traditional fixings and a multi course dinner including matzo ball soup, salad, brisket, chicken, potato, vegetable, and dessert. The cost will be $30 per adult member, and $40 per adult non-member. Children under 13 are $20. If you have special dietary requests, please contact Laura to see if they can be accommodated. The Seder will be led by Rabbi Ruz Gulko.

Payment is expected in advance unless other arrangements have been made. Please be aware you will be responsible for the cost if you do not attend and have not canceled prior to April 21.

To make reservations or inquiries, e-mail Laura at president@aitzchaim.com

Send your payment to:
Congregation Aitz Chaim
C/O Wendy Weissman, CPA
525 Central Avenue, Suite L8
Great Falls, MT 59401-3271

Looking forward to seeing you there.

Happy Pesach!

COMMON INTEREST FROM BUTTE

Shalom to everyone.

I am writing to introduce an opportunity to contribute to the legacy of the Butte Montana Jewish community. Please note that I am writing to you as an individual rather than on behalf of the Congregation.

On May 10 and May 11, 2019 the Butte Silver Bow Public Archives, (www.buttearchives.org) (bsbarchives@bsb.mt.gov) will host a workshop to begin to document the history and culture of the Jewish community in Butte.

The Archives has received a Common Heritage Grant from the National Endowment for Humanities, (NEH).

The Archives is interested in oral histories, manuscripts for digitalization, family trees and histories, artifacts to be loaned for exhibit and returned to owners, ephemera (stuff) relating to the Jewish community. They are interested to learn when how and why Jews came to Butte, where they came from, their means of travel to get here, how they made a living and raised their families. What part did our ancestors take in Butte’s history? Details about the Congregations and Temples are of interest.

The Archives is a professional organization that has the means to properly care for anything sent to them to help in the project.

If you know of anything that might help in this project, please let the archives know. The details to contact the Archives are below. Please check out their website. Thank you for your interest in this project.

Dave Canty

BUTTE-SILVER BOW PUBLIC ARCHIVES
17 W. Quartz St.
Butte, Mt. 59701
(406) 782-3280
http://www.buttearchives.org
bsbarchives@bsb.mt.gov
Ellen Crain, Archives Director
Nikole Evankovich, Assistant Director