web analytics
April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



A Kosher Cowboy In Montana

Share Button

         There’s a popular saying that wherever there’s Coca-Cola, there’s Chabad.

 

         That’s true even in Marlboro Country – Bozeman, Montana, where Rabbi Chaim Bruk, 25, and his wife, Chavi, 22, have brought the light of Torah.

 

         THE JEWISH PRESS: How many Jewish families are there in Montana?

 

         Rabbi Bruk: About 500 families – roughly 1,200 Jews. That’s a very small population. We’ll be involved primarily in adult education, with classes in Judaism, its customs and culture. I live in Bozeman, but from time to time I’ll give Torah lessons in neighboring towns like Billings and Helena.

 

         What made you come to Bozeman, of all places?

 

         I was here three times in the past during the summers, when I was part of the Lubavitch corps that visit remote states to bring them Yiddishkeit. I saw a growing Jewish community thirsting for a connection to Judaism.

 

         What do you do about kosher food or a minyan?

 

         Kosher food doesn’t exist in Montana. Meat is shipped in from Rubashkin’s in Iowa, and dairy products I bring back with me whenever I visit New York. The closest mikvah is in Salt Lake City, a 7-hour drive from here.

 

         We have no minyan here either. This Shavuos will be the first time I will have a minyan in my house for the reading of the Torah. We were given a Torah by a couple in Helena, Montana, who had an old one they brought with them from their shul in Chicago after it closed down. They never used it and so they gave it to us.

 

         A couple weeks back, two Chabad emissaries were chosen to join President Bush in Washington for the National Day of Prayer – and you were one of those two. How did that come about?

 

         Well, I received a phone call from Rabbi Levi Shemtov in Washington telling me it would be a good opportunity for a young shaliach like myself to attend this event, where I’d be able to meet my senators and congressmen and other influential people who could help me later on in my mission in Montana.

 

         I’d already promised some people that I’d attend an Israeli fair that day, so I was faced with a hard choice: either take advantage of an opportunity to get to know other Jews in Montana – and, after all, that’s what I’m here for – or go to Washington. In the end I decided I would have an opportunity to meet these local Jews later, while the opportunity in Washington was a once-in-a-lifetime thing.

 

         Did you meet with the president?

 

        Unfortunately no, because he was very busy and left the room before anybody had the chance to speak with him on a personal basis. But I met with my senators and with Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman – who was very surprised that Chabad is in Montana.

 

         I met with Montana’s congressional delegation, talking to each representative about Jewish and Israeli issues. I made some good connections with my senators, Max Baucus and Jon Tester. I already got a call from Baucus’s office informing me that he wants to participate in a Jewish community function here.

 

         It’s important that our elected officials understand that even in Montana, Judaism is alive and well and thriving.

 



Rabbi Bruk (r) visiting with Senator Lieberman in Washington.


 

 

         You were quoted as saying that there are many “closet Jews” in Montana who are ashamed of their Jewishness and that you hope your visibility will bring some of them out into the open. Has that happened yet?

 

         Yes, we always invite people over for Shabbos meals and I hear things like, “You know, rabbi, it’s been 30 years since we experienced a real Shabbos dinner.” An older woman said that when she first saw me, I reminded her of her grandfather. Once, when I stopped at a red light in town, a guy pulled up aside of me and rolled down his window and said “Hey are you the new rabbi in town?” I said I was. He said “Well, I’m Jewish.” So I invited him for Shabbos.

 

         Every Shabbos we have a class of between 7 and 12 people who come to learn the Torah portion of the week. The same people keep coming back, so that’s a good sign.

 

         The word is definitely out. It’s not going to happen overnight. People who moved to Montana were not too connected to Yiddishkeit in the first place, but slowly there will be a change. We’re also working with students on the campus of Montana State University. I’m getting phone calls and e-mails from people who’ve seen our website. It’s been phenomenal in terms of public relations. One of the TV stations recently interviewed me and during the report on the evening news, they mentioned that anyone wanting more information should check out www.Jewishmontana.com. We received a lot of hits as a result.


 

         Why do Jews choose to move to Montana, and where do they usually come from?

         Mostly from the West Coast. I don’t know why they’re moving, but the word is out that Bozeman is a gorgeous place to live, that there’s a lot of recreation here – skiing in the winter, hiking in the summer, a national park, fly fishing.

 

         The more Jews who come, the better. As a shaliach, it’s wonderful to see a Jewish community grow.

Share Button

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

No Responses to “A Kosher Cowboy In Montana”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
FBI Wanted poster for Osama bin Laden
Pakistan Library Renamed to Honor bin Laden
Latest Sections Stories
Schonfeld-logo1

Regardless of age, parents play an important role in their children’s lives.

Marriage-Relationship-logo

We peel away one layer after the next, our eyes tear up and it becomes harder and harder to see as we get closer to our innermost insecurities and fears.

Gorsky-041814-Torah

Some Mountain Jews believe they are descendents of the Ten Lost Tribes and were exiled to Azerbaijan and Dagestan by Sancheriv.

Baim-041814-Piggy

Yom Tov is about spending time with your family. And while for some families the big once-in-a-lifetime experience is great, for others something low key is the way to go.

A fascinating glimpse into the rich complexity of medieval Jewish life and its contemporary relevance had intriguingly emerged.

Dear Dr. Yael:

My heart is breaking; my husband’s friend has gotten divorced. While this type of situation is always sad, here I do believe it could have been avoided.

The plan’s goal is to provide supportive housing to 200 individuals with disabilities by the year 2020.

Despite being one of the fastest-growing Jewish communities in the U.S. – the estimated Jewish population is 70-80,000 – Las Vegas has long been overlooked by much of the Torah world.

She was followed by the shadows of the Six Million, by the ever so subtle awareness of their vanished presence.

Pesach is so liberating (if you excuse the expression). It’s the only time I can eat anywhere in the house, guilt free! Matzah in bed!

Now all the pain, fear and struggle were over and they were home. Yuli was safe and free, a hero returned to his land and people.

While it would seem from his question that he is being chuzpadik and dismissive, I wonder if its possible, if just maybe, he is a struggling, confused neshama who actually wants to come back to the fold.

I agree with the letter writer that a shadchan should respectfully and graciously accept a negative response to a shidduch offer.

Alternative assessments are an extremely important part of understanding what students know beyond the scope of tests and quizzes.

More Articles from Avraham Shmuel Lewin
Lewin-070612

Former Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Shamir passed away last weekend. In the course of my career as a correspondent for The Jewish Press at the UN and in Israel, as well as a parliamentary aide and spokesman for Israel’s first science minister, Professor Yuval Ne’eman, I met with dozens of world leaders, ministers, high-ranking officials and ambassadors. None of them left as indelible a mark on me as did Shamir.

The Jewish Press spoke last week with Rabbi Shlomo Amar, Israel’s Sephardi chief rabbi since 2003, on the contentious issue of conversion to Judaism.

He certainly didn’t waste any time. Cantor Chaim Adler began his chazzanut career at age 10; today, he is known as “the chief cantor of Tel Aviv” and one of the most prominent cantors in the world.

An interview with the man who led Israel’s 1981 attack on Iraq’s nuclear reactor

As the Jews were about to leave the desert to enter the Promised Land, Moses told them (Deut. 29. 1-8), “You have seen everything that God did before your eyes in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and all the slaves and to all his land…. But God did not give you a heart to know, or eyes to see, or ears to hear, until this day. I lead you forty years in the wilderness … and you arrived at this place…”

There’s a popular saying that wherever there’s Coca-Cola, there’s Chabad.

One day in the summer of 1981, when I was still living in Brooklyn, I received a call from Dassie Marcus, a fervent supporter of Israel, the settlement movement, and Gush Emunim.

Ann Coulter is the author of five New York Times bestsellers, including the current Godless: The Church of Liberalism.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/community/a-kosher-cowboy-in-montana/2007/05/22/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: