Category Archives: Ram’s Horn
Missoula Mishkan Milestone RESCHEDULED
October 18, 19, and 20
Our wiser angels emerged to recommend that we reschedule our Shabbaton for Fall so that Rabbi Laurie can have the necessary recovery time for her health challenges. We are VERY excited to announce a new set of dates: October 18, 19, and 20, the last three days of Sukkot! So, we hope you will revise your plans and join us then.
We are thrilled to further develop the new research for “Missoula’s Jewish Treasures”, a groundbreaking exhibit of the Jewish history of Missoula, as well as offer inspiring worship, learning, and an elegant Motzi Shabbat evening of Jazz. We look forward to celebrating with you in October!
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the Rabbi who led Dawn Schandelson’s funeral service.
Congregation Beth Shalom of Bozeman, Montana is proud to announce that Rabbi Mark Hayim Kula will join the Beth Shalom community as rabbi beginning July 1. Rabbi Kula comes to Congregation Beth Shalom with a wealth of warmth, enthusiasm, and experience, having served as a rabbi and cantor in Miami, Florida for 30 years.
“I am honored and delighted to join the Congregation Beth Shalom family and Bozeman community,” Rabbi Kula wrote in a letter to the community. “These are exciting and challenging times. Let us take care of ourselves and others, nurture our relationships, and tap into profound Jewish wisdom. We will then surely thrive and be blessed.” Amber Ikeman, Beth Shalom’s Program Director and Cantorial Soloist, will work closely with Rabbi Kula to serve the Jewish community in Bozeman and the surrounding area.
Rabbi Kula was ordained as a rabbi by The Rabbinical Academy of New York in 2012, and as a cantor by the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1986. He has extensive experience as a spiritual leader and Jewish educator, having served at Bet Shira Congregation in Miami, Florida for 30 years, first as cantor and then as rabbi. Most recently, Rabbi Kula has been enjoying a year living in Missoula with his family.
According to Sara Schwerin, president of the board at Congregation Beth Shalom, “We have seen a tremendous amount of enthusiasm and engagement from our community over the past 18 months, as we searched for the right person to lead Beth Shalom. Our entire community is looking forward to the energy, kindness, leadership and spiritual guidance that Rabbi Kula offers. We could not be happier about the leadership team that we have put in place to guide us into the future.”
In June 2018, Beth Shalom Rabbi Ed Stafman retired after ten years of service. Since then, Beth Shalom has enjoyed monthly visits from Rabbi Michael Lotker, who will continue to serve as Beth Shalom’s part-time interim rabbi until Rabbi Kula’s July 1, 2019 start date. Beth Shalom wishes to thank Rabbi Michael Lotker for providing such wonderful leadership over the past year, and for helping to ensure a smooth transition for the community. Beth Shalom also wishes to thank Rabbi Emeritus Ed Stafman for his continued connection to Beth Shalom and his leadership in the greater Bozeman community.
Please join Congregation Beth Shalom two Fridays each month at 6 p.m. for Shabbat services and each Saturday morning for Torah Study at 9:30 a.m. Rabbi Kula, Rabbi Lotker and Rabbi Emeritus Stafman will be joining us for a special celebration of Shavuot on Saturday, June 8; please check our website for details closer to the date.
All are welcome to join Congregation Beth Shalom in worship, learning and social action. Please contact the Temple office at (406) 556-0528, check us out on Facebook “Congregation Beth Shalom – Bozeman, Montana” or visit our website http://www.bethshalombozeman.org to learn more.
Congregation Beth Shalom is a place where members of all ages come together to be a learning and spiritual community joyfully praying together and celebrating Jewish history and tradition. Founded in 1994, and serving the greater Yellowstone community, Congregation Beth Shalom of Bozeman is the largest Jewish congregation in Montana.
Compiled by Aitz Chaim over many years, this list is maintained by the Ram’s Horn. Please send any corrections or additions to email@example.com
May the source of peace send peace to all who mourn, and may we be a comfort to all who are bereaved.
This is a reminder about the lay services led by Devorah Werner ON the first Friday of the month, May 3, at 6:00 P.M. at the Bethel, with a milchig (dairy) potluck to follow.
Hope to see you there.
The address for the Bethel is 1009 18th Avenue Southwest. click here for map and directions.
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
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!
Submitted by Brian Schnitzer, MAJCo
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.
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