Blog Archives

New poll about the identity of U.S. JEWS

The subject of our adult discussion this coming week will be the new survey of American Jews, and the major identity shifts in opinions noted.  Read a story about this poll here.

ROSH HASHANAH WISHES

I got this from the Hadassah web site. Hope you enjoy the recipe and have a wonderful year to come.

Love
Jerry & Nadyne

Rosh Hashanah: More Than Just a Happy New Year
As we wish everyone a “sweet New Year” and snack on delicious apples dipped in honey, we might be tempted to believe that Rosh Hashanah is strictly a holiday of happiness and celebration. But in truth, the Jewish New Year, observed on the first and second days of Tishrei, is actually a dual-natured holiday – at once joyous and solemn, celebratory and introspective. Indeed, while the community certainly rejoices at the beginning of a new calendar, the holiday is rife with customs encouraging more serious introspection and personal change. Rosh Hashanah ushers in the Ten Days of Repentance, culminating in Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. According to tradition, it is during these days that God considers our actions and judges us. Throughout this period, we are encouraged to conduct a heshbon hanefesh, or to take personal stock, by honestly evaluating the choices we have made over the past year and making resolutions for improvement. Rosh Hashanah is about giving ourselves the time and opportunity to think about our actions and improve ourselves through acts of repentance, prayer, and good deeds. Ultimately, we can strive to renew ourselves along with the renewal of the yearly cycle.
Taiglach – for a Sweet New Year!!
Ingredients:
4 eggs
2 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
½ cup sugar
4 ½ lbs. honey
Dash of ginger
Marachino cherries cut up
Ground walnuts
Mix eggs, flour, baking powder.
Roll out on floured board – like small tubes
Cut into small pieces
Boil all honey, all sugar, and ginger in a large pot on low heat. Be careful it does not boil over the top.
Bring to a brisk boil, throw in cut pieces – judge the right amount at one time, don’t throw all in at once.
Take out pieces with a slotted spoon (drain off honey) once they are like small balls and a medium tan color.
Put balls onto an aluminum foil pie plate, making a mound of the balls, sprinkling nuts and cherries in between each level.

FROM THE BILLINGS GAZETTE: BOZEMAN RABBI ON A MEZUZAH MISSION

http://billingsgazette.com/news/local/bozeman-rabbi-on-a-mezuzah-mission/article_b4e2ac3c-b3ba-5aee-9c57-cf2dfaecec40.html

A TASTE OF YESHIVA — YOM LIMMUD — A DAY OF JEWISH LEARNING

A Taste of Yeshiva
Yom Limmud
Day of Jewish Learning

Chabad Lubavitch of Montana cordially invites you to attend the second “ A Taste of Yeshiva – Yom Limmud” a day of Jewish learning @ The Shul of Bozeman.

Ever dreamed of spending a day studying Talmud? Maimonides? Ever yearned to spend a day in Yeshiva immersed in Torah study? Your dream has come true; spend a day at our learning seminar with enlightening lectures and stimulating discussions. It’s a unique opportunity to find the answers to some of the questions bothering you since Hebrew School.

Guest Speakers:
Mrs. Rivkie Block of San Antonio, Texas
Rabbi Menachem Feldman of Greenwich, Connecticut
Rabbi Amram Phelps of Bozeman

Lecture Topics:
Technology Vs. Shabbat – the use of electricity on the day of rest
Talmudic Trends – Explore the life & philosophy of some of the greatest Talmudic Sages and how it shaped their consistent worldview.
Torah and the Castle Doctrine: Montana law allows the use of deadly force to “prevent or terminate the other person’s unlawful entry” to a home. Does the Torah agree?
What’s for dinner Mr. Mashiach? An overview of the menu at Mashiach’s feast

Woman of Valor – An in depth look at the beautiful Aishet Chayil song

Sunday, June 9, 2013. 10:30 AM – 4:00 PM @ The Shul.
Kosher Lunch Included.
Suggested donation – $18
Sponsor – $180

Yeshiva (n) (yeh-shee-vah) is the name given to the great academies of study where the Talmud and Jewish law were formulated. The Yeshiva as an institution has succeeded in creating an atmosphere of serious analytical study that endures to this day. In the long course of Jewish history it has been the Yeshiva more than anything else that has served as both the repository and birthplace of profound Jewish learning.
A Taste of Yeshiva
June 9, 2013 • 10:30 AM – 4:00 PM
Chabad-Lubavitch of Montana
8755 Huffman Lane, Bozeman, MT 59715-9211

RSVP at the link below.
http://www.jewishmontana.com/tools/events/register_cdo/eventid/2229/new/true
It’s worth the drive.

BUILDING COVENANTAL COMMUNITY: THE COHANIM, THE KOHATITES, AND US — BY STUDENT RABBI MIRIAM FARBER

EDITOR’S NOTE: Student Rabbi Miriam Farber’s sermon last Friday evening was very moving, and several of us asked if it could be reprinted in the Ram’s Horn. Also, Mazal tov to Miriam on her upcoming marriage to a fellow student rabbi from Brazil on June ninth. We wish her farewell as she embarks on her journey toward a bright and promising future.

Building Covenantal Community: The Cohanim, the Kohatites, and Us

Earlier in our service, we sang the words Mi Chamocha ba’eilim Adonai? Who is like You, Adonai? With this prayer, we acknowledge God as the Redeemer, and we sing our joyful praises, like the Israelites, for freedom. Yet this prayer doesn’t tell the whole story. We know that Moses plays a key role in bringing the Israelites to this moment, even though his name is not found in the traditional haggadah. There are two midrashim that offer different understandings of exactly what happened to make the sea part.

In the first, as the tribes of Israel are standing on the shores, watching the Egyptians draw nearer and arguing amongst themselves over who will be the first into the sea, Nachshon ben Amminadav, a single person from the tribe of Judah, goes into the Sea. The sea does not part immediately, so Nachshon keeps walking, as the sea comes up to his knees, his shoulders, and finally his chin. As the water reaches his nose, and Nachshon prepares to take his final breath, the sea parts. The Yiddish saying, “To be a Nachshon,” means to be an initiator, in honor of the man who was brave enough to walk into the Sea of Reeds. In this version of that tense moment on the shores of the sea, the power for redemption rests with one man, with Nachshon ben Amminadav.

In the second midrash, God says to Moses, “All that Israel has to do is go forward. Therefore, “Let them go forward! Let their feet step forward from the dry land into the sea, and you will see the miracles I will perform for them.” The midrash quotes a verse from Exodus, which says, “And the Israelites went into the midst of the sea upon the DRY ground.” The midrash asks, if they went into the sea, then why does the Torah say, “upon the dry ground”? This is to teach that the sea did not split for them until they stepped into it and the water had reached their noses, only then did it become dry land.

In this version of the story, not God alone, and not even an individual person – a Nachshon, a Moses, or a Miriam – had the power to part the sea. The power for redemption rested with the entire people of Israel, acting together, in partnership with God.

By our Torah portion this week, B’midbar, the very first parasha in the book of Numbers, Egypt and the crossing of the sea are long behind us. The Israelites have already been wandering in the desert, in the midbar, for two years. The end of the portion describes, in painstaking detail, the process for dismantling the Tent of Meeting when the time comes to break camp. This responsibility falls upon Aaron and his sons, the cohanim. Another group, the Kohatite family within the tribe of Levi, has the responsibility of carrying each element of the Tent of Meeting as the Israelites wander through the desert. Each person, each family, each tribe, has its role in the upkeep of the Tent of Meeting.

In some ways, this biblical division of labor is not so different from the division of labor here, or in any other modern Jewish community around the world. One person or one family cannot do all the work of building and supporting a community; each person has to find the right role for themselves.

“At the breaking of camp, Aaron and his sons shall go in and take down the screening curtain…”
At the end of services, someone has to take down the tapestry hanging behind the ark.

“Over the table of display they shall spread a blue cloth; they shall place upon it the bowls, the ladles, the jars, and the libation jugs; and the regular bread shall rest upon it.”
Someone has to clean up from oneg, and put all of the reusable supplies back in the closet for tomorrow.

“Then they shall take a blue cloth and cover the lampstand for lighting, with its lamps, its tongs, and its fire pans, as well all the oil vessels that are used in its service.”
Someone takes responsibility for returning the candlesticks to their proper place, ensuring that they will be ready for the next Shabbat service here.

“When Aaron and his sons have finished covering the sacred objects and all the furnishings of the sacred objects at the breaking of the camp, only then shall the Kohatites come and lift them…These things in the Tent of Meeting shall be the porterage of the Kohatites.”
And someone carries the ark off of the bima and places it in the closet for safekeeping.

Just as each of our ritual objects and other supplies have their own place in the closet, each person in this community has a role to play.

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks teaches that society is bound together not by contract, but by covenant. While an individual can leave a contract when it is no longer in their interest to pursue the contractual relationship, a covenant binds people together even in difficult times. Covenants are not rooted in self-interest, but in loyalty and love. Contracts lead to the growth of political and economic institutions – governments, political parties, businesses. Covenants, on the other hand, create very different institutions – families, communities, and traditions.

Jewish communities all over the country are struggling with how to remain covenantal communities. Families treat religious school as another extracurricular to be scheduled and paid for, no different than ballet classes or learning a musical instrument. Some synagogues have become fee-for-service institutions, rather than places of true, deep community. Members, and even lay leaders, expect the paid professional staff to do the real, hard work of ensuring the survival of the institution.

But here, in Great Falls, there is no paid staff. And while this community may not have a jam-packed program calendar like a large synagogue in another city, it certainly is a covenantal community, one in which each person does his or her part – not only taking on the responsibilities of setting up the Bethel for services or for potluck, but also the responsibility of ensuring that this community survives, taking the very real challenge of the future to heart. This community has a great deal of Torah to teach the large synagogues of Los Angeles and New York.

Tonight, our voices have risen together in song, led by our very talented musicians, Steve, Sarah, and Hillary. Each of our voices, each of our unique instruments, is needed to help our songs and our prayers ascend to heaven. No voice is too young or too old, too out of tune, to be excluded.
In next week’s Torah portion, we find the familiar words of the Priestly Blessing. God, partner with this holy community and its members in bringing redemption.

Y’varech’cha Adonai v’yishm’recha.
May God bless and keep this community for generations to come.

Ya’er Adonai panav eilecha v’yichuneka.
May God’s light shine out from this community, teaching Torah and bringing Judaism to this corner of the world.

Yisa Adonai panav eilecha v’yasem l’cha shalom.
May God give this community a sense of shleimut, wholeness, recognizing all the gifts it holds within it.

RJ’S INSIDER’S GUIDE TO COLLEGE LIFE NOW AVAILABLE

 

For Aitz Chaim’s high school students, choosing a college is a big decision, from finding the right school, to getting into their dream school, to financial aid.

Let the RJ help!

Reform Judaism, the world’s largest circulated Jewish magazine (and a URJ publication free to members of affiliated congregations), has partnered with Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life, in creating The RJ Insider’s Guide to College Life. This guide (you can also click on the cover to start reading) is a great place to begin or further your students’ search for the right college and help answer some of those big questions. Help your students learn about schools with the 60 largest Jewish communities, top 20 by percentage of Jews, active local Reform/Egalitarian services, Jewish studies majors and so much more, including:

  • Getting In: What the Experts Say
  • How to Grow as a Jew, Your Way
  • Financial Aid: Secrets of Success

The Guide is available both digitally, at reformjudaismmag.org/fall_2012 and in print, in the center section of Reform Judaism magazine’s Fall 2012 edition, reaching homes now.

With our warmest wishes for a new year filled with sweetness,

Joy Weinberg, Managing Editor

Reform Judaism magazine

 

Reminder: Scout Shabbat commemorated at Aitz Chaim Services this Friday!

Question: What is the only Jewish celebration that involves lighting campfires (bonfires) and shooting bows and arrows?  Answer: Lag B’Omer!  The holiday, a “break” in the solemnity involved in the counting of the Omer, is celebrated with bonfires, torches, song, shooting bows and arrows and feasting.

Fires may commemorate the revelation of the Zohar and bows and arrows may signify the rainbow (the sign given by Hashem to signify G-d’s promise to never again destroy the Earth with flood).

On a holiday marked by campfires and shooting arrows, we thought that it would be appropriate to also associate a more recent occassion with our Lag B’Omer celebration weekend.  At services this coming Friday night (7:30 p.m. at the Bethel, 1009 18th Ave SW), we will mark the occasion of Scout Shabbat.  Any Scout or Scouter attending in uniform will be able to wear the Scout Shabbat patch on their uniform.  Patches will be available at services.

The 12th point of the Scout Law confirms that a Scout is Reverent.  Part of the way that Scouts show their Reverence is to annually attend a Scout Sunday or Scout Shabbat observance.

The Scout Shabbat program is organized by the National Jewish Committee on Scouting.  Aitz Chaim congregant Diane Sherick is our local Montana chapter chair of the National Jewish Committee on Scouting.  More information can be found at jewishscouting.org.

Who Knows 10? An in depth look at the 10 Commandments with Rabbi Chaim Bruk

With the beginning of Spring, Aitz Chaim is beginning to sponsor many activities and classes!

In addition to the performance by Ofer Goren on Thursday, May 3 and the full schedule of services on the weekend of May 4-6, Chabad Lubavitch Rabbi Chaim Bruk will come to Great Falls on Thursday, April 26 at 7 p.m. to teach a class on the 10 Commandments!

What:  Who Knows 10, an in depth look at the 10 Commandments with Rabbi Bruk

When: 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 26

Where:  Conference Room on the first floor of 1015 1st Ave N in Great Falls

Beth Shalom Summer Camp for Older Youth

Shalom!

It’s that time of year again – planning summer for your kids. This year, we are pleased to announce that Congregation Beth Shalom will again be hosting a summer  camp for youth 11-18. Please forward this email on to other parents I might have missed.

August 13-17 is for young people 11-18 and is open to youths all over Montana. Jenny Rassaby is coordinating this camp, which is designed for an older group of Jewish kids, providing them with an enriching opportunity to meet with peers, learn more about their Jewish culture, heritage and traditions and have fun! Participants from outside Bozeman will stay with their Beth Shalom peers and their families. For more information, and to register, contact Jenny Rassaby at rassabies@gmail.com, or phone 406 579 3846.

The  camp is $175 for the week, including food and other costs.

Registration forms are attached. Forms are due to Beth Shalom by July 1.

Camp Signup form:    BSyouthcamp_signup_form_2012

Mark Your Calendar for Beth Shalom Summer Camp in Bozeman!

For the second year, Congregation Beth Shalom in Bozeman will be hosting a Montana Youth Summer Camp for Jewish youth, 12 years old and up.  This year, the camp will be during the week of August 13 -17, with arrivals on Sunday afternoon at the Rassaby home.  Camp counselors will be provided by the Israeli outreach group Soultrain.

For more information, contact Camp Director Jenny Rassaby Ryan at rassabies@gmail.com.