Category Archives: October


EDITOR’S NOTE: Dr. Irving Weissman has been the director of the Institute of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, since 2003. He is also a brother of our own Jerry Weissman. Besides being extremely interesting, I found this article to be encouraging for those of us who may not do well in a traditional school setting, but who nevertheless have a child’s insatiable curiosity to find out how things work. I’m sure Dr. Weissman didn’t have a clue that his curiosity would lead him to be so influential and successful in the emerging field of stem cell research. It is also interesting to contemplate what are the attributes of a good leader, and what sustains an environment of learning at an institute and what could kill it.

Stepping down but not leaving

I’m writing this explanation for the faculty and staff of the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Medicine, and for all of the trainees, and especially for the individual donors and other institutions and foundations that allowed the birth and growth of the institute. And I hope it is also useful for the Stanford search committee that will choose my successor, and our Scientific Advisory Board who are all leading stem cell biologists, and whose advice should help the committee make the right choice.

When I was 10 and growing up in Great Falls, Montana, one of my teachers gave me a book called “Microbe Hunters” by Paul de Kruif. It was a book about the lives and work of the great microbe hunters of the past two centuries—people who may or may not have been trained scientists but who had in them the curiosity to wonder how things worked, people who discovered microbes and the diseases they caused—and who translated their discoveries as soon as they could to benefit the health of those stricken with these diseases. And when they got into these clues to “how things work,” they put all of their time and energy in their labs into their projects. Elsewhere, I’ve written about the incredible luck I’ve had to find, starting at 16 in high school, labs that were led by great role models such as Ernst Eichwald in Great Falls, a pathologist and immunogeneticist of tissue transplantation who worked in a rural hospital without a university or medical school. Eichwald had neither the time nor the inclination to tell me what to do and how, but left me largely on my own to explore the emerging fields of immunology and transplantation and cancer, and how my own brand of ‘how things work’ emerged to ask how the systems developed from fetal life on.

I had curiosity, I had the openings to work in a lab (actually, none of us think of it as work), but I didn’t know if I had the drive to go at it day and night, weekdays and weekends, like the microbe hunters, or have their ability to translate discoveries.

I knew I didn’t have the discipline to devote hours to memorizing texts to get great grades—in all of my schooling I never made the honor roll (the top 10% in grades). But when I hit my subject, I realized it took no discipline to be completely absorbed, to observe and to ask how did things work and how did systems develop to get what I observed and could verify by experiment. In fact, I did not have the discipline not to spend as much time as I could in the research. Albeit, much of the time I’d be doing all the other things my Montana friends and I did during high school and college, but my mind was always on the research questions that came from my observations and experiments. In retrospect, perhaps the greatest part of my luck was that the three patrons/mentors in my career¬–Ernst Eichwald in Montana, Henry Kaplan at Stanford, and Jim Gowans at Oxford–never told me what research to do. So I got to follow my own curiosity from high school on, learning more from what these mentors had accomplished than I could by having them manage (or micromanage) my research. Eichwald taught me that genetics can show what can happen, Gowans taught me that physiological experiments in the body can show what does happen, and Henry Kaplan, the great radiologist who founded the radiation treatments of cancers, taught me that basic science can be translated to curative human therapies. From that, I finally came to understand that all humans with diseases were in fact experiments of nature, and that they had in their bodies the hidden life-history of how the diseases developed—in my view often from stem cells—and which, if understood, could lead to therapies.

As I said already, I’ve told the story of my luck and life in science elsewhere many times. But now that I’m stepping down from the directorship of the institute, and from a position of leadership in a field that I was lucky enough to discover and develop, I wonder if, and whether, and how this legacy might continue at Stanford.

What is the field? Officially it’s stem cells, which are the only cells in the born organism that sustains all of the tissues and organs for life, and which can reveal the secrets of almost all–if not all–diseases that occur after we are born, as well as the therapies (including by transferred healthy stem cells) that can continue healthy regeneration. In born organisms, blood stem cells make blood and only blood, brain stem cells make brain and only brain, and so on.

What is the defining characteristic of stem cells? Only stem cells in these tissues and organs make more of themselves when they divide, which is now called self-renewal. Except for renewed stem cells, all of the daughter cells from cell divisions go through decision trees to change states quantally, so that a blood-forming stem cell self-renews blood-forming stem cells. They do this by keeping open for expression the genes that were open in the parent stem cell, and keeping closed those that would take it out of self-renewal. But some of the daughter cells of stem cells open some genes that were closed, and close others that were open, to make a daughter progenitor cell that can make all blood cells (multipotent progenitor or MPP) but cannot self-renew.

Other quantal steps give rise to progenitor cells with more restricted potential, some of which will make red blood cells and platelets, while others make the innate immune system’s macrophages and neutrophiles that scavenge microbes or dying or dead–or as we found–dangerous cells or organisms. Yet other progenitors make the lymphocytes that, at the single cell level, are each precommitted to recognize the foreign shape of microbes or chemicals or cancer cells or tissue transplants from a donor. The rare lymphocyte that encounters those shapes divide like stem cells in self-renewal to make thousands of immune cells with the same or almost the same immune receptors for shapes as the cell they came from. This activity is the basis of vaccinations and our natural immunity that protect us from microbes previously encountered, even in childhood.

I started in the field of lymphocytes, drawn by the amazing properties of immune lymphocytes. I studied only one population of lymphocytes initially—the T cells born in the thymus (I showed that while a medical student in Jim Gowans’ lab in Oxford) that mediate rejection of cells, not microbes, but cells infected by microbes. Other lymphocytes called B cells looked just like T cells, but when their cell surface immune receptors were discovered, they were the precursors of antibodies that permeate all intercellular spaces in the body, and which bring in other proteins or cells to destroy the microbes for which their antibody combining sites were selected. While many, including Gowans, thought that T and B cells were just minor variations from each other, several labs had discovered in birds that T cells came from the thymus, and B cells from an organ called the Bursa. I decided to track the origins of both T cells and B cells, and that led me to blood forming stem cells.

From there came the clinical transplantation of human blood stem cells, and then isolation of human fetal brain stem cells and their translation, then the role of normal stem cells in the stepwise generation of cancer stem cells, with the understanding of blood forming stem cell clones as the requisite cell types that can accumulate a few dangerous mutations and a lot of irrelevant mutations. The understanding that one could use purified normal and leukemia (or other cancer) stem cells to understand which changes occur at each step of the transition from normal stem cells to cancer stem cells has revealed a strange and unexpected fact: a mutation or chromosomal anomaly in a single (blood-forming) stem cell can allow that cell to migrate to compete for other stem cell homes (niches), and eventually most or all blood formation comes from that altered stem cell, creating a widespread group of diseases that previously were not understood. And the leukemia stem cells overexpressed a surface protein that prevented scavenger macrophages from eating them, even though some of the mutations had led the cell to put out an ‘eat me’ danger signal that mediated the macrophages to eat and kill them. We now know that all cancers and at least some pre-cancers, and all atherosclerotic lesions causing heart attacks and strokes, and all tested fibrotic diseases of the lung, liver, kidney, skin, etc follow this model. We also know that therapeutics for blocking “don’t eat me” signals such as CD47 in cancers have high potential to treat these very common, but often incurable, other diseases.

Why have I explained this background in detail? This is a story, not the only story, of how a field can be opened and expanded and exploited for medical translation. It had no relevance to how most people get into their career—straight A’s, elite schools, privileged advancement, etc. It didn’t really fit the model of a boss directing employees daily on what to do and how—essentially treating trainees as imperfect ‘helpers’ whose own judgements needed daily oversight and correction. Giving them the chance to solve problems led many of them to have confidence needed for their own careers when they left the lab. These were hard lessons to learn. I learned those lessons early, and using that as a guide, have been lucky enough to attract extremely talented ‘B’ students, many of whom have developed fields and achieved leadership on their own, now mainly in stem cell fields. I learned to step back and be more ‘Socratic’ in my oversight of trainees rather than being directive. Often, I was surprised at weekly lab meetings with an incipient discovery by a trainee at any level that I realized could open an understanding, or even a field. Discoveries, not slavish adherence to my direction, was the result.

Our institute is mainly, if not exclusively, populated by creative, innovative, original, self-directed, and highly successful biomedical scientists and physician-scientists. The discoveries coming from them should provide the rationale behind stem cell discovery science and stem cell related translations long into the future. You would think, therefore, that the institute is safe. But it isn’t. I’ve seen over and over great immunology groups at other universities or institutes be decimated overnight. Immunology, although a discipline as powerful and important as genetics or biochemistry, has not been either a department or safe organizational unit in universities, while genetics and biochemistry, for example, are departments with over a century lifespan in the US at all universities. That is not true for immunology. New department heads (or deans) in schools with high level immunology groups have ended those programs as they change the departments’ directions. Hopefully, that won’t be true for stem cell biology and regenerative medicine.
We were established by Dean Philip Pizzo, who recognized that the inward focus of departments, with allegiance to their discipline, ran counter to the multidisciplinary nature of the emerging biomedical sciences. To break out of that inward focus, he established several institutes at Stanford. There was no history of stem cell science before the late 20th century. Very few of us were establishing that field. Ours was one of the first institutes at the Stanford School of Medicine. All appointments in institutes were initiated by institutes, and departments were added to search committees to make sure that was happening in institutes could inform and be enriched by departments. Institutes could cross the basic science/clinical medicine barrier, and so it could be natural to make discoveries, and to try to translate them for the benefit of patients. (It is another story how biotech and large pharmaceutical companies were not and are not the best early vehicles to cross the discovery to therapy ‘valley of death.’)

Luckily, at least for the present, the establishment and re-establishment of the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine, CIRM, as an important state agency that supports all aspects of California programs/centers/departments/institutes of stem cell biology and regenerative medicine, funding eager future scientists in high school, college, post-college bridges, graduate and medical students, postdoctoral trainees, and faculties and institutions, as well as providing in academia incubation of translation of discoveries. But that too is impermanent and can change rapidly.

For the backers of the institute and the committee to choose the next director, it is critical that the next director be a stem cell discovery scientist. There are many who claim to be stem cell scientists, but most of the claims are just not true. That is why we have a Scientific Advisory Board made up of eight major stem cell discovery scientists to advise the director, the dean, and hopefully the search committee. The search will hopefully investigate whether potential candidates have trained next generation leaders of the field, or if the candidates have already been a chair or director, if the faculty he/she served had successful stem cell discovery and/or translation careers. Another critical trait will be the ability to explain their science in plain English to non-scientists, which will enable future donors or legislators or students to understand what the institute does, and how it might be able to achieve the translation of stem cell science.

I do want to end by saying that “I ain’t done yet.” There are areas of stem cell science and the evolution of stem cells that wake me up at night, and consume my thoughts even when fly-fishing. I hope to keep on this track until I can’t contribute to the field anymore. It has been an honor to help establish this field here, and for that I am grateful to all of you.
Irv Weissman


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 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 may we be a comfort to all who are bereaved.

Name of Deceased English Date of Passing Hebrew Date of Passing Deceased Relationship to Congregant
Diane Sherick Aug 13, 2021 10 Elul, 5781 Wife of Jack Sherick, Mother of Michael Sherick and Heidi Cech
Arleen Heintzelman Nov 19, 2020 3 Kislev, 5781
Ann Cohn Oct 4, 1987 11 Tishrei, 5748 Mother of Arlyne Reichert
Irving Fineman Oct 12, 1981 14 Tishrei, 5742 Father of Robert Fineman
Vicki Sherick Hawkesworth Oct 12, 2013 9 Cheshvan, 5774 Daughter of Jack and Diane Sherick
Roberto Naduris Oct 14, 1995 20 Tishrei, 5756 Husband of Susan Weissman
Rose Gran Oct 14, 2014 20 Tishrei, 5775
Carl Kotler Oct 15, 1993 30 Tishrei, 5754
Hattye Oppenheimer Meyer Oct 16, 1968 24 Tishrei, 5729 Grandmother of Diane Sherick
Pauline Nagel Oct 16, 2000 17 Tishrei, 5761 Mother of Meriam Nagel
Robert Klotzman Oct 17, 1995 23 Tishrei, 5756
Alex Barrett Oct 18, 1990 29 Tishrei, 5751 Father of Nadyne Weissman
Marvin Langsam Oct 27, 2013 23 Cheshvan, 5774 Brother of Helen Cherry
Celia Ross Oct 30, 1972 22 Cheshvan, 5733 Great-grandmother of Ceecee Drew
Queenie Crombie Oct 30, 1992 3 Cheshvan, 5753 Mother of Arleen Heintzelman


This is a reminder of the Kabbalat Shabbat service led by Devorah Werner on the first Friday of the month, October 1, 2021, 26 Tishrei, 5782, at 6:00 P.M. at the Bethel.

As discussed and approved by the church council on June 8, 2021, all organizations that are using the facilities will be required to follow all the current use guidelines or any new guidelines adopted by the church council or as mandated by any federal, state or local government agency.

Current guidelines include but are not limited to:

  • Masks will be voluntary and are recommended if persons are or have been ill, or if people are more comfortable wearing them.
  • Social Distancing would still be appreciated.
  • Food or beverages will be allowed upon request. Council will review requests.
  • All contact surfaces must be wiped down with a sanitization product before leaving.
  • Any additional expense incurred due to requirements for additional sanitization of the facilities, or part of, shall be paid by the responsible parties involved.

The address for the Bethel is 1009 18th Avenue Southwest. click here for map and directions.

Hope to see as many of you there as possible.


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
May the source of peace send peace to all who mourn, and comfort to all who are bereaved.

Name of Deceased Hebrew Date of Passing Deceased Relationship to Congregant
Gary Ray Holsclaw 11 Iyyar, 5780 Son of Arleen Heintzelman
Charlotte Weiss 30 Kislev, 5780 Mother of Laura Weiss
Queenie Crombie 3 Cheshvan, 5753 Mother of Arleen Heintzelman
Nathan Rapaport 9 Cheshvan, 5686 Grandfather of Nadyne Weissman
Vicki Sherick Hawkesworth 9 Cheshvan, 5774 Daughter of Jack and Diane Sherick
Martin Renne 16 Cheshvan, 5761 Father of Michael Renne
Celia Ross 22 Cheshvan, 5733 Great-grandmother of Ceecee Drew
Norman Handler 22 Cheshvan, 5761 Father of Wendy Weissman
Marvin Langsam 23 Cheshvan, 5774 Brother of Helen Cherry
Leonard Weissman 29 Cheshvan, 5768 Grandfather of David Weissman, father of Jeff Weissman, Patricia Philipps, Ted Weissman, Sally Weissman and Gale Rietmann


Rabbi Laurie Franklin
September 29, 2020 11 Tishrei 5781
Hebrew for Beginners!
And also a refresher for those who have some background
Beginning Hebrew, a 10-week course
Wednesday Oct 21 to Dec 23, 6 to 7 pm, on Zoom
For complete beginners and those who are refreshing their knowledge

This class is an invitation to those who would like to learn to recognize and pronounce Hebrew letters and vowel markings. These skills are the foundation of prayer book and Biblical Hebrew fluency.

We are offering this beginner’s course both as a stand-alone and as preparatory to a Biblical Hebrew class that we will offer in January 2021; it will be useful either way to anyone with a desire to learn.

We will meet on zoom every Wednesday evening, 6 to 7 pm, from mid-October to mid-December, for one hour. Each week will feature several letters and vowel markings. The last two lessons focus on special grammar and considerations. Every lesson contains exercises that we will begin in class and you will complete at home. If you miss a week, you can use the book and accompanying audio recordings to learn the material on your own. Please purchase your own materials, both book and audio download (links below).

Cost: First class free.
If you decide to continue: Har Shalom members $50 for the 10-week series.
Non-members: $150. By check or Paypal,
Please note on check or Paypal entry, “Beginner Hebrew”.
Scholarship available.

Register here

Class dates: Oct 21, 28
Nov 4, 11, 18, 25
Dec 2, 9, 16, 23

Rabbi Laurie is available for additional support during her regular pastoral/office hours.

Textbook: Teach Yourself to Read Hebrew, REVISED EDITION, EKS Publishing 2015,

Audio companion:


The Aitz Chaim community will hold a Sukkot gathering on Saturday, October 10, 2020, at Gibson Park, east of the flower garden at Third Street North, at 1:00 P.M.  Come an hour earlier to help us build a Succah. We will gather observing all of the health and safety guidelines concerning the coronavirus: washing hands, using hand sanitizer, social distancing, wearing masks. Instead of an esrog, we will use a lemon. Instead of a lulav, we will use wheat stalks.

Aaron Weissman will bring a camp stove to heat apple cider. There may be individually wrapped food items there. It has been awhile since we have seen each other in person. We want to have a small celebration to commemorate the ingathering of the Jews under God’s protective shelter, and the ingathering of the fall harvest to sustain us through the winter and whatever other hardships the next year may bring.

Please join us in celebrating our connection to God and His protection and provision for us, our connection to the beauty and the bounty of the Earth which He has created for our sustenance and enjoyment, and the strong and loving connections we have with one another.


Carol Lee Silversmith Obituary


We are thrilled to be a sponsor of MSU’s virtual event “Enemies to Allies: A Rabbi and a Palestinian Activist,” presented virtually on Thursday, October 15th at 11:00am. Brought to us by Shorashim (“Roots”), an organization building a grassroots model for coexistence, we will hear personal, interconnected stories and the groundbreaking and challenging work of their initiative. The conversation will be moderated by MSU Political Science professor and Beth Shalom affiliate, Dr. Franke Wilmer, whose area of research is the Middle East, Political Violence, and Human Rights.

Please register here (at no cost) by October 7th.


Rabbi Chaim’s weekly message for October 2, 2020


Dear All,
Join us for our Annual Meeting, October 23-25, 2020, on ZOOM! Attend any or all of the 7 “a la carte” sessions. It’s FREE except for the comedy show.
Here’s an outline of the 7 sessions:

  • 1. Friday Night October 23, 2020: 6 p.m. – 7:20 p.m. – Zoom Shabbat Service
  • 2. Friday Night October 23, 2020: 7:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. – Zoom Oneg Shabbat
  • 3. Saturday Night October 24, 2020: 6:20 p.m. – 6:50 p.m. – Zoom Havdalah
  • 4. Saturday Night October 24, 2020: 7:00 p.m. – 7:50 p.m. – Zoom Highlights from Hadassah Hospital / Wall of Healing
  • 5. Saturday Night October 24, 2020: 8:00 p.m. – 8:50 p.m. – Zoom Comedy Show featuring Israeli Comedian Benji Lovitt
  • 6. Sunday Morning October 25, 2020: 10:00 a.m. – 10:50 a.m. – Zoom Highlights from Hadassah Interfaith Mission / Advocacy in Action
  • 7. Sunday Morning October 25, 2020: 11:00 – 11:50 a.m. – Zoom Business Meeting
  • As we move through this unprecedented time of social distance restrictions, Hadassah has been hard at work adapting to a new normal. Our Montana Statewide Hadassah Chapter is doing the same.

    Our Annual Montana Statewide Hadassah Retreat is moving forward. However, all of our events will be on Zoom. Please join us as we bring in Shabbat together, get to know each other, welcome the new week, get inspired with information about Hadassah Medical Organization and Hadassah Israel Travel, learn more about our Hadassah Advocacy, have a few laughs together with a comedy show, and conduct the business of our Chapter.

    Information about each session with the links to register are below. All of our sessions, except for the comedy show, are free. Please consider a gift to Hadassah that is meaningful to you. All donations will help to further the healing work of Hadassah.

    Click on each of the links to register. The Zoom links will be sent with your confirmation emails.


    Please do not share your Zoom links with others.

    Friday, October 23 6:00-7:20 PM Shabbat Services
    Led by Rabbi Mark Kula and Cantor Amber Ikeman of Beth Shalom in Bozeman.
    This service is open to Members and friends of Hadassah Montana and congregants of Beth Shalom. Click here to register The Zoom link for this session will be provided closer to the event.

    Friday, October 23 7:30-8:30 PM Oneg Shabbat
    Meet new friends and get to know old friends better as Nancy Oyer, Hadassah Montana President, leads us in a fun ice breaker. Then have fun “kibbitzing” (chatting) as we end the evening and wish each other a sweet, healthy, peaceful Shabbat. Click here to register

    Saturday, October 24 6:20-6:50 PM Havdalah
    Join us as we end Shabbat and welcome the new week.
    Hadassah Montana members Rabbi Laurie Franklin and Holly Kingsford from Missoula will lead us in this uplifting service. Click here to register

    Saturday, October 24 7:00-7:50 PM Highlights from Hadassah Hospital/Wall of Healing
    Hadassah Montana President, Nancy Oyer, will inspire you with highlights from Hadassah Hospital including photos and videos from the Hadassah Interfaith Mission to Israel.

    Kay Gersh from Whitefish and Adela Awner from Billings, our outgoing and incoming Fundraising Vice Presidents, will introduce our exciting Hadassah Montana “Wall of Healing” campaign. The Zoom link for this event will be sent Friday, October 23 Click here to register

    Saturday, October 24 8:00 PM Comedy Show Featuring Israeli Comedian, Benji Lovitt

    Since making Aliyah in 2006, Benji Lovitt’s observations on Israeli society, combined with his lifelong involvement in Jewish education, have created a hilarious narrative bringing smiles to faces all over the world. Join us in laughter as Benji broadcasts directly from the Holy Land, sharing his insights on both the challenges and marvels of life in Israel.

    This exclusive 30-minute show, hosted by the Hadassah Statewide Montana Chapter and the Hadassah Mountain Southwest Geographic Area, will have you in stitches. Benji will answer all of your questions after the show.

    Minimum Registration -$18
    Please consider a larger gift to further the healing work of Hadassah. $8 of your registration is not Tax Deductible. Click here to register

    Sunday, October 25 10:00-10:50 AM Highlights from Hadassah Interfaith Mission/Advocacy in Action
    Hadassah Montana Chapter President, Nancy Oyer, will share her excitement from the Hadassah Interfaith Mission, December 2019.

    Then Adela Awner from Billings and Lee Schrieber, our Region Area Vice President from Las Vegas, will lead us in an Advocacy discussion and activity. Click here to register

    Sunday, October 25 11:00-11:50 PM Hadassah Montana Statewide Chapter
    Annual Business Meeting
    Join us as we celebrate the awards received from Hadassah Desert-Mountain Region for 2019, hold elections for our 2021 Board of Officers, and begin to plan our year for 2021 Statewide event in Helena. Click here to register

    As you register for each of these sessions, remember, you must follow it through to the end. If you are making a payment, you will press Process Payment on the page where you enter your payment information. Then you must press Process again on the following page. If you don’t receive a confirmation email right away for that session, your registration is not complete.

    All sessions are open to members, potential members and friends of Hadassah Montana. Invite your friends and family members to register and join in the fun. And invite your friends and family across the country and around the world to join us for the Comedy Show.

    For more information on any of our sessions, please contact Nancy Oyer 406-490-8989

    If you don’t use a computer and would like to listen in to one or more of our sessions, let Nancy know and she will give you a phone number to call in.

    We are looking forward to being with you for this fabulous weekend!

    #Hadassah saves lives
    Hadassah proud
    Hadassah the Women Who Do