Category Archives: December 2011

A Chanukah Message

English: Hanukkah menorah, known also as Hanuk...

Image via Wikipedia

from Rebecca Reice
Student Rabbi

Happy Chanukah to the Aitz Chaim Community!

As Asher and I lit the candles these first few nights, we reflected on how beautiful the light is on these, the darkest days of the year.  I count it as a blessing that in this cold and dark time, we are asked to light up our homes with the chanukiah (Chanukah menorah), reminding us of the miracles wrought by and for our ancestors.

Chanukah is a holiday celebrating the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem.  At that time, the Temple in Jerusalem was the place of God’s Presence on earth.  The Temple was only able to be rededicated after the people cleaned it and prepared a place for God to dwell among them.  Today, we understand that God’s Presence can fill our world.  What part of your life would you like to rededicate for God’s Presence to dwell with you?

I wish you all a Chag Urim Sameach – A Happy Holiday of Lights!  May the light of your chanukiah pierce the dark and cold of these days and bring warmth and blessing into your homes and the whole community.

MAJCO Communities to Light Menorot Together at Capitol, 2 p.m. Thurs, Dec 22

English: Montana State Capitol

Dear Montana Jews,

For the third year, the Montana Association of Jewish Communities (MAJCO) is sponsoring a Chanukah Menorot Lighting event with Lt. Governor Bohlinger where we hope to have all nine communities of MAJCO light a Menorah (one each).  In 2009, Chabad Lubavitch of Montana handed off this annual Menorah Lighting Ceremony, which they started and sponsored at the Capitol for the first two years.
On behalf of MAJCO, I have taken on the responsibility of organizing the Annual Chanukah Menorot Lighting event.  I hope we use this opportunity to come together as Montana Jews and celebrate the light that we all share.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS:  Thursday, December 22
1:00 p.m. Setup; 2:00 p.m. Lighting Ceremony with Lt. Governor Bohlinger
The State Capitol in Helena; the Rotunda Room which is below the Large Dome of the Capitol
Parking:  Park in the lot that is on the north side of the capitol or park on the streets all around the capitol. There should be plenty of parking, but please allow time to find a space and walk to the Rotunda.  1301 East 6th Avenue, Helena, MT
The nine communities of MAJCO, listed from East to West based on town/city of location, are:
  • Congregation Beth Aaron, Billings
  • Chabad Lubavitch of Montana
  • Congregation Beth Shalom, Bozeman
  • Congregation Aitz Chaim, Great Falls
  • The Jewish Community of Helena
  • Congregation B’nei Israel, Butte
  • Congregation Har Shalom, Missoula
  • Congregation Bet Harim, Kalispell
  • Synagogue of the Northern Rockies, Whitefish
At 1:00 p.m., we will meet to setup tables, tableclothes, Menorot, signs and any info you bring about your community.  Each community should bring their own Menorah and candles.  MAJCO will provide extra candles and Menorot if needed, small signs for each community, and a program that includes contact information for each community.  Beth Shalom will bring Sufganiyot to share.  Other communities are welcome to bring Chanukah foods to share.
MAJCO President, Josh Burnim, will welcome the crowd and introduce the Lt. Governor and and Rabbis.  Rabbis Barbara Block, Chaim Bruk and Ed Stafman will speak on Chanukah.  (Rabbi Allen Secher is not able to attend.)  Lt. Governor Bohlinger will address the crowd.  Then, we will all light our Menorot together and sing the blessings and Maoz Tzur.  After the ceremony, we will share Sufganiyot and other Chanukah treats.  The ceremony should only take 30 minutes, but we encourage all to spend some time before and afterwards with each other.
At 3:00 p.m., MAJCO Officers and Delegates will meet in Room 350 for a business meeting.  All are welcome to attend.
I hope many of you, and at least one representative from each MAJCO community, will make the trip to Helena to share in this statewide Jewish event, building ties with Jews from across the state.  Please share this email with other members of your Congregations and Communities.
Josh Burnim
MAJCO President


You’re Doing It All Wrong — How to Make Latkes

Make latkes the right way. Leslie Jonath of Chronicle Books is an avid latke maker. Here she shows you the right way to make your favorite Hannukah food. Video by

recipe from “Spice & Spirit, The Complete Kosher Jewish Cookbook of the Lubavitch Women:
Contributed by Helen Cherry

3 eggs 1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk 5 Tbl sugar
1 cup drained cottage cheese 1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour 1/2 cup oil
1 tsp baking powder

Place eggs, milk, cottage cheese, flour, baking powder, salt, sugar & vanilla in bowl & mix til smooth.
Heat oil in frying pan (if using nonstick pan, use less oil). Drop batter by spoonfuls into hot oil.
Fry til brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels & continue til all batter is used. Keep warm until serving.
Serve with sour cream or applesauce.

From Joy Breslauer: One of my favorite places to look for recipes is


1. Christmas is one day, same day every year: December 25. Jews also love December 25th. It’s another paid day off work. We go to movies and out for Chinese food. Chanukah is 8 days. It starts the evening of the 24th of Kislev, whenever that falls. No one is ever sure. Jews never know until a non-Jewish friend asks when Chanukah starts, forcing us to consult a calendar so we don’t look like idiots. We all have the same calendar, provided free with a donation from either the World Jewish Congress, the kosher butcher, or the local Sinai Memorial Chapel (especially in Florida) or other Jewish funeral home.

2. Christmas is a major holiday. Chanukah is a minor holiday with the same theme as most Jewish holidays: They tried to kill us, we survived, let’s eat.

3. Christians get wonderful presents such as jewelry, perfume, stereos… Jews get practical presents such as underwear, socks, or the collected works of the Rambam, which looks impressive on the bookshelf.

4. There is only one way to spell Christmas. No one can decide how to spell Chanukah, Chanukah, Chanukka, Channukah, Hanukah, Hannukah.

5. Christmas is a time of great pressure for husbands and boyfriends. Their partners expect special gifts. Jewish men are relieved of that burden. No one expects a diamond ring on Chanukah.

6. Christmas brings enormous electric bills. Candles are used for Chanukah. Not only are we spared enormous electric bills, but we get to feel good about not contributing to the energy crisis.

7. Christian women have fun baking Christmas cookies. Jewish women burn their eyes and cut their hands grating potatoes and onions for latkas on Chanukah. Another reminder of our suffering through the ages.

8. The players in the Christmas story have easy to pronounce names such as Mary, Joseph, and Jesus. The players in the Chanukah story are Antiochus, Judah Maccabee, and Matta whatever. No one can spell it or pronounce it. On the plus side, we can tell our friends anything and they believe we are wonderfully versed in our history.

9. In recent years, Christmas has become more and more commercialized. The same holds true for Chanukah, even though it is a minor holiday. It makes sense. How could we market a major holiday such as Yom Kippur? Forget about celebrating. Think observing. Come to synagogue, starve yourself for 27 hours, become one with your dehydrated soul, beat your chest, confess your sins, a guaranteed good time for you and your family.

Better stick with Chanukah!


* Daily Chanukiah lighting at the Civic Center, 5:30 p.m. each evening from December 20 – 27.
* Chanukiah lighting at the Montana State Capitol in Helena, Thursday afternoon,12/22, at 2:00 P.M.
* Aitz Chaim Chanukah Party, Jerry and Nadyne Weissman’s home, Friday, December 23 at 6 p.m. (following the Civic Center lighting) Many thanks to Laura and Wendy for volunteering to put this party together.

Marty will be out of town for the last several days of Chanukah. Wendy and I will also be out of town. We need a volunteer to spearhead the nightly lighting for those evenings.

Last chance to gift yourself or others to a Life or Associate membership in Hadassah for only $100.00

English: Flag of Hadassah עברית: דגל ארגון הדסה

From: Janet Tatz <>
Date: Sun, Dec 4, 2011 at 5:20 AM
Subject: Last chance to gift yourself or others to a Life or Associate membership in Hadassah for only $100.00
To: Montana Hadassah

Dear Friends,

We are now into December and that means there is less than one month left to take advantage of Hadassah’s great Centennial year promotion of becoming a Life member in this wonderful organization for only $100.00!

Whether you gift yourself, a friend, a relative, young or old, Hadassah has something to offer everyone.  And, of course, for the men ( and boys!) in our lives, there is the gift of Associate membership.

As many of you have heard, next year, the cost of Life and Associate membership is going up to $212.00 ( still a bargain from the usual $360.00 price).  Why not “upgrade” or gift someone you know and live today?

Hadassah does so much good throughout the world.  Help us continue on our mission to spread healing, education, Jewish identity and knowledge.

You can join or gift via the Hadassah website:   or contact me, Janet,   to get the job done via phone or check.

Don’t miss out on this once in a life time opportunity to become a Life member of Hadassah at this greatly reduced rate.  This truly is the gift that keeps on giving.

Civic Center Chanukiah Lighting Schedule!

Once again, congregant Marty Foxman has offered to organize our daily public lighting of the Diane Kaplan Memorial Chanukiah at the Great Falls Civic Center, which will be each evening during Chanukah, promptly at 5:30 p.m.

Aitz Chaim donated the nine foot Chanukiah to the City of Great Falls in 2009, in memory of our friend and former congregant Diane Kaplan.  Since that time, the City has displayed it each December in front of the Civic Center, directly to the south of the decorated tree.

For the first night of Chanukah, December 20, we will nosh on sufganiyot prior to the lighting.  This year, Chanukah begins on the evening of December 20 and concludes on December 28.

Chanukah in Chelena

Below, please find an email from Helena Jewish Community organizer Janet Tatz, about the upcoming MAJCO Menorah lighting in the State Capitol building in Helena and the Chanukah party being held in Helena on the evening of December 22.

Begin forwarded message:
From: Janet Tatz
Subject: Chanukah in Chelena
Date: November 27, 2011 8:17:31 AM MST
Dear Helena Jewish Community,
Below you will find a recent posting from our MAJCO president, Josh Burnim.  Please plan to attend this special, annual event that will take place at The Capitol on Thursday, December 22nd:
Dear MAJCO Communities and Friends,
Please mark your calendars for the following MAJCO events on Thursday, December 22, 2011.
Candle Lighting at the Capitol in Rotunda with Lt. Governor Bohlinger at
2:00 pm
MAJCO Business Meeting in Legislative Room 335 at 3:00 pm
Here is how the events will flow:
  • 1:00 – 2:00 pm set-up
  • 2:00 – 2:30 pm Candle-Lighting at Capitol with Lt. Governor Bohlinger
  • 2:30 – 3:00 pm clean-up
  • 3:00 – 4:00/4:30 pm MAJCO Business Meeting
I will send out more details as we near the events.  Please email or call
with any question/concerns/ideas etc.
Josh Burnim

MAJCO President

In addition, we are fortunate to have Rabbi Ed Stafman, from Beth Shalom, in Bozeman, staying over in Helena the night of the 22nd to help us celebrate Chanukah.  We’ll plan to begin at 5:30 pm at Touchmark on Saddle Dr. ( formerly, The Waterford on Saddle Dr.) in The Forum, on the 2nd floor of that facility.  We’ll light our menorahs (please bring something to place under your menorah, if you are planning to bring one, in order that wax does not drip on the tables or tablecloths), enjoy a vegetarian potluck meal ( if someone is willing to bring the latkes, please let me know in advance!), sing songs, enjoy a holiday teaching or story from Rabbi Ed, spin the dreidel, and enjoy being in each others’ company at this time of year.
The annual Solstice celebration, hosted by St. Paul’s Methodist church and always in conjunction with the Helena Jewish Community, will take place on Wednesday,  December 21st starting at 7pm.  This year, for the first time, Rabbi Ed will be presenting the Jewish seasonal teaching.  Please plan to attend.  This event is open and free to everyone and is a relaxing, enjoyable hour well spent.

Looking forward to seeing you at these Festival of Light celebrations.

P.S.  Checkout to learn about a wonderful holiday ( and Shabbat) product that I have available to sell right here in Helena.  These Menorah and B’rachah mats/”mates”  make a great gift or personal home item.  The mats are a great way to catch those wax drips and to learn the Chanukah or Shabbat blessings ( printed in Hebrew, English and transliteration).  If you are interested in purchasing one or more of these items, please contact me, as these are a fund-raiser for our Montana statewide chapter of Hadassah.    Thanks!

Supposedly seen in the window of a Chinese Restaurant in NYC …


Isaac and Hetty were planning a holiday. As usual, they ended up arguing.
“It’s ‘Hawaii’ I’m telling you,” Hetty said.
“Oy Vay, I never knew someone so stubborn. ‘Havaii’ is how it’s pronounced,” Isaac said.
And so it went on all the way till they got there.
As soon as they got off the plane, Isaac asked a porter, “Now that we’re on the island, you can settle an argument between my wife and me. Is this ‘Hawaii’ or ‘Havaii?'”
“This is Havaii,” replied the porter.
“Ha!” Isaac said, turning to Hetty, “See, didn’t I tell you never to argue with me? I’m always right.”
Just before they began to walk away, Isaac gave the porter a hearty “Thank you.”
The porter replied, “You’re Velcome.”