Category Archives: Tikkun Olam


As we begin to emerge from the devastating effects of the pandemic and plan more face to face gatherings and events, the Great Falls Hebrew Association needs your financial assistance. Money (and love) make the world go round, and we would like you to share a little of yours with us so that we can build and sustain a strong and thriving Jewish community, and perpetuate the legacy left to us by those Jews who came before us and built an oasis of Judaism in a desert land.

Aitz Chaim is the only organized Jewish community in north-Central Montana. We would like to be able to engage a rabbi for services more than once or twice a year, and to organize events which celebrate and share our Jewish culture and heritage with each other and those around us. Without your financial support, none of this is possible. Your financial donation empowers us to continue to bring yiddishkeit to north-central Montana.

We can’t do much without consistent dues paying members, and more of them. The more we do and the more we plan to do, the more Jews will come to celebrate their life cycle events with us, and build and strengthen our community. We ask for annual membership commitments in the amount of $250 per individual and $500 per family. That’s less than $22.00 per month per individual or $42.00 per month per family. If you set up recurring automatic payments with your bank or financial institution, you will have one less thing to worry about, (just set it and forget it), and you probably won’t even miss those monthly withdrawals. Of course, any additional tax-deductible donation is always welcome and appreciated.

You can donate to us by sending your check to the following address:
Great Falls Hebrew Association
525 Central Avenue, Suite L8
Great Falls, MT 59401.

So, as we go forward, keep these things in mind.

  • Due pay your dues.
  • Don’t hesitate.
  • Due get involved.
  • Don’t be shy.
  • Due put on your thinking caps and help us plan events.
  • Don’t bee too tired or too busy.
  • Due put on your kippa and come to services.
  • Don’t let another day go by without celebrating your special heritage and passing it on to your children and grandchildren.
  • Due be constantly looking for ways to practice Tikkun Olam.
  • Don’t forget that one of the ways you can do this is to pay your dues.

It all makes a circle that starts and ends with you. We can’t do this without you. Thank you.




EDITOR’S NOTE: Yes, there are Jews, even in the desert of Montana, and perhaps they are here for just such a time as this.

The following was submitted by Nancy Oyer.

I thought this was great. Nice job, Congregation Beth Aaron (Donna Healy) and Bozeman Chabad (Chavie Bruk)!

Just in case anyone missed it – see below. The story made it to Tablet Magazine and the Times of Israel among many other news outlets. Here are three of the articles out there.

Nancy Oyer

After an Emergency Landing in Montana, El Al Passengers Are Treated to a Kosher Feast
A rag-tag group of caring Jews came to the aid of about 300 stranded passengers on their way from Israel to Los Angeles
By Tess Cutler
November 16, 2015
It could be the premise of a hit sitcom: An El Al flight en route to Los Angeles is forced to make an emergency landing in Billings, Montana, and its passengers are stranded at the airport for 12 hours, waiting for the next aircraft to arrive from New Jersey. But here’s the kicker: There’s no kosher food at the terminal, or enough food to feed nearly 300 hungry passengers, many of whom are presumably Jewish. Well guess what? It happened over the weekend.
At 6 a.m. on Sunday morning, an El Al airplane experienced engine issues and was forced to touch down in Montana, a state which boasts a population of 1,350 Jews as of 2014. “You just don’t often get a planeload of Israelis in Billings,” local resident Donna Healy told The Billings Gazette. Healy, who is Jewish, sprung into action, supplying the stranded passengers with snacks and toiletries, such as diapers. “We thought we should do what we could to make them comfortable,” she said. “Kosher food is a part of that.” (Her congregation, Beth Aaron, paid for the goods.)
Rebbetzin Chavie Bruk of Chabad Montana in Bozeman also got word of the incident. So she packed her three children into her car and drove 150 miles (about a two-hour journey) to deliver a smorgasbord of cold cuts galore, hummus, eggplant, fruit and bagels. “It was a tremendous kiddush Hashem—amazing and inspiring!” gushed Israeli passenger Hillel Fuld about the impromptu kosher food delivery.
Apparently, El Al crew members also went on a Costco run, nabbing lifetime supplies of grapes, Cheerios, milk, and sacs upon sacs of what appears to be onions.
The famished passengers noshed on the delights, kibbitzed, and Facebooked to pass the time. In their 12 hour interim, they had a feast fit for kings and queens due to numerous supermarket sweeps.
The well-nourished, jet-lagged passengers eventually landed in Los Angeles at 4:45 pm.

LA-bound El Al plane makes emergency landing in Montana
Fire breaks out in Boeing 777’s right engine; flight had nearly 300 passengers on board
By JTA November 16, 2015, 12:59 am
An El Al flight with nearly 300 people on board made an emergency landing in Billings, Montana.
Warning lights showed that there was a fire in the right engine, the Billings Gazette reported Sunday. The passengers had to exit using a landing ladder, according to the newspaper, as the Boeing 777 was too large to park at the terminal.
A spare plane was being sent from New Jersey to allow the passengers to finish their journey, which started in Tel Aviv.
With no US Customs agents stationed at the Billings airport, Customs officials were sent from Great Falls to handle the passengers, the Gazette reported.

A Kosher Rescue Mission for El Al Travelers Stuck in Montana

Hillel Fuld from Beit Shemesh, Israel, says that Chabad emissary Chavie Bruk “showed up and instantly put a smile on hundreds of faces.”

They were stuck in a Montana airport with no end in sight to their wait and no kosher food to eat. That’s what happened today to some 300 passengers on an El Al airlines flight Tel Aviv to Los Angeles. The Boeing 777 made an emergency landing in Billings, Mont., when a reported fire in one of the engines made it unsafe to continue.
Passengers disembarked the plane and were bused to a terminal, where they waited for another plane to take them to their final destination—Los Angeles International Airport. There they sat as the hours ticked away and the food supplies—in particular, the kosher food—dwindled.
Hillel Fuld of Beit Shemesh, Israel, says that somehow, Rabbi Chaim and Chavie Bruk—co-directors of Chabad-Lubavitch of Montana in Bozeman—got news of the situation and set about immediately to offer assistance. With her three young children in tow, Chavie Bruk drove a car full of kosher food 150 miles to Billings Logan International Airport, where passengers had been waiting for nearly 10 hours.
“She showed up and instantly put a smile on hundreds of faces. She did it with utter grace and never stopped smiling for a second,” says Fuld, 37, who works in technology. “Based on the constant smile on her face, she is happier to be here than we are to have her here.
“It was a tremendous kiddush Hashem—amazing and inspiring!”
Fuld, who is traveling with his wife and 11-year-old son to Los Angeles, enjoyed kosher bagels, cold cuts, chips and cake. Heaps of hummus, fresh fruit and other goods were also available.
Rabbi Chaim Bruk recounts that the rabbi at El Al in Israel called him this morning and apprised him of the plane trouble. Bruk himself was on a flight to Minneapolis, but his wife snapped into action. She gathered as much ready-to-eat food as she could—they had just received a kosher shipment the night before—piled her children into the car and drove two hours to the airport.
“She was welcomed like a heroine,” says the rabbi.
Meanwhile, the group of tired (but not hungry) passengers remain in the airport two hours later—a half-day now—waiting for the next leg of their journey.

Chavie Bruk, co-director of Chabad-Lubavitch of Montana in Bozeman with her husband, Rabbi Chaim Bruk, drove a car full of kosher food to Billings Logan International Airport for stranded passengers of an El Al flight to Los Angeles that had to make an emergency landing. (Photo: Hillel Fuld)

Hundreds of people enjoyed bagels, cold meats, hummus, fresh fruit, chips and more as they lingered in the terminal. (Photo: Hillel Fuld)

A welcome respite from a long and hungry wait. (Photo: Hillel Fuld)

Fuld, his wife and their 11-year-old son in Tel Aviv at the start of their trip. (Photo: Hillel Fuld)

Also picked up by the Times of Israel


Great Falls CROP Hunger Walk – Great Falls, MT – Sunday, October 4, 2015

CROP Hunger Walks are community-wide events sponsored by Church World Service and organized by religious groups, businesses, schools and others, including the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, to raise funds to end hunger in the U.S. and around the world.


On October 17, 1969, a thousand people in Bismarck, ND, walked in what may have been the start of the hunger walks related to CROP – and raised $25,000 to help stop hunger. As far as we know, York County, Penn., was the first walk officially called the CROP Walk for the Hungry – and that event has been continuous since 1970. Several other CROP Hunger Walks occurred soon thereafter, and before long there were hundreds of Walks each year in communities nationwide.

Currently, well over 2,000 communities across the U.S. join in more than 1,300 CROP Hunger Walks each year. More than five million CROP Hunger Walkers have participated in more than 36,000 CROP Hunger Walks in the last two decades alone.

What does CROP stand for?

When CROP began in 1947 (under the wing of Church World Service, which was founded in 1946), CROP was an acronym for the Christian Rural Overseas Program. Its primary mission was to help Midwest farm families to share their grain with hungry neighbors in post-World War II Europe and Asia.

Today, we’ve outgrown the acronym but we retain it as the historic name of the program. CROP Hunger Walks are interfaith hunger education and fundraising events sponsored by Church World Service and organized by CWS local offices across the U.S.

Where do CROP Hunger Walk funds go?

CROP Hunger Walks help to support the overall ministry of Church World Service, especially grassroots, hunger-fighting development efforts around the world. In addition, each local CROP Hunger Walk can choose to return up to 25 percent of the funds it raises to hunger-fighting programs in its own community. 25% of revenues raised in Great Falls will go to support our local My Neighbor In Need organization.

CROP Hunger Walks help to provide food and water, as well as resources that empower people to meet their own needs. From seeds and tools, to wells and water systems, to technical training and micro-enterprise loans, the key is people working together to identify their own development priorities, their strengths, and their needs, something CWS has learned through some 68 years of working in partnership around the world.

Local Event

The Great Falls CROP Walk will be Sunday, October 4, 2015. Registration begins at 12:30 P.M. Walkers/runners will assemble at the band shell at Gibson Park at 1:00 P.M. . to begin the CROP Walk. The exact route of the CROP Walk is yet to be determined.

How can I participate?

There are two ways you can participate in the Great Falls CROP Walk.
1. Collect sponsors and walk/run in the Great Falls CROP Walk.
2. Sponsor someone else who is participating in the Great Falls CROP Walk.

The list of Aitz Chaim congregants who will be participating in the Great Falls CROP Walk currently includes:

  • Laura LaBelle
  • Laura Weiss
  • Terry Thal
  • Wendy Weissman
  • Julie Nice
  • Meriam Nagel
  • Jack and Diane Sherick
  • Robert Fineman
  • Nadyne Weissman
  • Helen Cherry


Your company may match your donation!

Matching gifts are a great way to make your support go further in the fight against hunger!

When making a donation in support of a CROP Hunger Walk participant or team, you’ll see a section called “Matching Gift Information” on the donation form. Enter your company name in the box to “Find Your Employer”, then click the search button.

If your employer is listed, you’ll see the criteria for the match. Your donation receipt will provide any contact information we have for your company, which you can use to request the match.

For more information, please contact Helen at 727-2572 OR or visit the CROP Walk web site.


Rosh Hashanah 2015/5776

1) What Will You Do Better this Year?

Isaiah 55:6-7 You should seek God while God may be found, call upon God while God is near; Let the wicked forsake his way, and the man of iniquity his thoughts; and let him return unto God, and God will have compassion upon him, and to our God, for God will abundantly pardon.

Do a Heshbon HaNefesh, an accounting of the soul.
(Follow this link for a great step by step, as well as an explanation of where the custom began in the 12th century:

If your friend calls you an ass, put a saddle on your back.
If you have any shortcomings– you be the first to reveal them.
Though the wine belongs to the horse, the butler gets the praise.
A hungry dog will eat even stones.
If you will help lift the load, then I will lift also; if not, then I will not do it alone. (Found in Bava Kamma 92b)

2) What has your Jewish practice looked like in the past year? How do you want it to look in the coming one?

A Blessing
Help us to be modest in our demands of one another, but generous in our giving to each other. May we never measure how much love or encouragement we offer; may we never count the times we forgive. Rather, may we always be grateful that we have one another and that we are able to express our love in acts of kindness.

Keep us gentle in our speech. When we offer words of criticism, may they be chosen with care and spoken softly. May we waste no opportunity to speak words of sympathy, of appreciation, of praise.

Bless our family with health, happiness, and contentment. Above all, grant us the wisdom to build a joyous and peaceful home in which Your spirit will always abide. Amen. (Gates of Shabbat, p. 82)

3) What is one thing you will change in the new year, be it Jewish or otherwise?

R. Isaac…said: Four things cancel the doom of a man, namely, charity, supplication, change of name and change of conduct. (Talmud, Masechet Rosh Hashanah, 16b)

In the hour when an individual is brought before the heavenly court for judgement, the person is asked:
Did you conduct your [business] affairs honestly?
Did you set aside regular time for Torah study (learning)?
Did you work at having children (a legacy)?
Did you look forward to the world’s redemption? (Babylonian Talmud, Shabbat 31a)

4) What Jewish principles do you want to consciously add to your life to enhance it?

When God created Adam, God led him around the Garden of Eden and said to him: “Behold my works! See how beautiful they are, how excellent! All that I have created, for your sake did I create it. See to it that you do not spoil and destroy my world; for if you do, there will be no one to repair it after you.” (Ecclesiastes Rabba 7:13)

Elana Nemitoff
Rabbinical Student – HUC-JIR, 2018
Congregation Beth aaron, Billings

Follow my Journey at:


NJCOS-Logo-CircleRWhy not come to the Eaton Road Cemetery October 10-11 around ten A.M. and help Max Weissman with his Eagle Scout project, graveling about 200 feet of the road to the old cemetery? This will be a monumental project. We want to get this done before the snow flies, or at least before the frost freezes the ground too hard.

We will also need to mow and weed the area so that the road can be properly leveled. Anyone with a mower or a weed whacker or a burning desire to run one would be most welcome to help with this project.

Another way to help is to donate towards the purchase of the gravel, which will be approximately $700.00.

We also have several old Siddurim that we no longer use that we could bury during the project. If you have anything else that you would like to bury properly, bring it with you or let us know. We will aim to do this on Sunday the 11th.

Another option for helping with this project is to provide food or drink for those doing the work.

There are two cemeteries in the Great Falls area where Jews are buried, one older than the other. The staff of Mount Olivet Cemetery has the responsibility of taking perpetual care of the graves of the persons, including the Jews, who are buried there. The Aitz Chaim Community takes responsibility for the perpetual care of the graves of the Jews buried in the Eaton Road Cemetery.

We will let you know more as the plans for this project become finalized. Thank you in advance for your help.


Remembering the humble hero who saved hundreds of Czech children from WWII atrocities

Web site:


A Little known Irony:
From Rabbi Peter Tarlow

Lost in the tragedy of the massacre of the Pakistani school children was an irony relative to the hospital that the survivors of the schoolhouse massacre were taken to; namely Lady Reading Hospital. Do you know who Lady Reading Hospital is named after?

The Marchioness of Reading was born Alice Cohen, the daughter of a Jewish merchant in London. She married a barrister called Rufus Isaacs, who in 1921 as Lord Reading became Viceroy of India – the first Jew to hold the highest office in the Raj. (He was also the first Jew to serve as Britain’s Foreign Secretary and as Lord Chief Justice of England. He’s buried in the Jewish Cemetery at Golders Green.) Alice Reading devoted her time as vicereine to charity and health issues, and was the driving force behind the construction of proper medical facilities in Peshawar.

So here we are nine decades later: Jew-hate is endemic among the hard men of Islam. But, when it comes to treating wounded Muslim schoolchildren, the only game in town is a hospital founded by a Jew.

Submitted by Jerry Weissman


A little warmth as cold weather begins.
(Developed for fund raising purposes by the Museum of the Jewish People in Tel Aviv, but still stirring.)

Submitted by Brian Schnitzer, MAJCO


In the early morning hours of November 9, 2013, Typhoon Haiyan made landfall in the Philippines. Thousands of lives were lost and hundreds of thousands impacted when the storm hit. Authorities and aid groups are struggling to deliver safe drinking water, food, and life-saving supplies to disaster zones.
The URJ General Disaster Relief Fund is collecting donations that will be distributed to aid groups working in affected areas.