Jews visit Glendive looking to encourage others

By Eric Killelea

Glendive Ranger-Review Staff Writer

This summer two young men embraced the ambitious mission of traveling Montana in search of Jews.

Ruvi Siberstein and Shimon Shur drove into Glendive last week having    already spent three weeks on the road. They wanted to encourage the    faith of other Jews in the area.

The first cousins drive their Subaru wearing yarmulkes on their    heads. They knocked on the doors of local Jews using addresses given    to them by their rabbi, Chaim Bruk, who lives in Bozeman.

Siberstein, 21, of Montreal and Shur, 22, of New York City, are members of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, one sect of Orthodox Judaism, which has its headquarters in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.

The Chabad-Lubavitch movement seeks to reach out to Jews all over the world who find themselves without a Jewish community or Chabad    houses, Siberstein said.

This is the cousins’ first visit to Montana. This is Shur’s second time embarking on such a mission. He had previously searched for Jews in California.

“Those unaffiliated in California are as unaffiliated in Montana. But those in California always have a Jewish culture surrounding    them,” Shur said. “Here in Montana, unless one lives in Billings or    Great Falls, there is zero access to Judaism.”

In Glendive, the two men phoned and knocked on the doors of those their rabbi thought would be interested in Chabad-Lubavitch. They held books for worship and left behind kind messages for those who    did not answer their doors.

 The two men have driven throughout the state, from Missoula to Bozeman, Billings, Livingston, Sidney and places in between. They    said Terry and Wibaux were their next stops.

Shur said every time he meets a Jew in Montana it’s like “meeting a distant relative – there is a special bond, a connection.”

Siberstein said Rabbi Bruk is devoted to serving the entire state and holds Chabad services once a week in Bozeman.

“The beauty of Judaism has nothing to do whether you practice or not,” Siberstein said. “It’s not based whether you believe or not. If your mother is Jewish, you’re Jewish.”

“Sometimes people feel forgotten,” Shur said. “We are here to remind people that they are not forgotten, that their Yiddish-Kait    [Jewishness] is not forgotten.”

For more information contact Chaim Bruk and the Chabad Lubavitch of Montana at (406) 585-8770, or visit www.jewishmontana.com

Reach Eric Killelea at [email protected]