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Open-minded anchoring!

Friday, 12 November, 2021 - 8:19 am

On Monday, about thirty women, members of one of Bozeman’s PEO chapters who raise funds to help young women afford a college education, joined together at our Synagogue for their monthly meeting. Holly, an active member in our Jewish community and a member of PEO, served as the hostess. As I sat in my office, I could hear Holly welcoming her non-Jewish friends and explaining to them how the purchase of our Jewish Center came about, as she explains the setup of the sanctuary and how we worship. It was refreshing to see a Jewish woman who is confident, comfortable in her Jewish skin, stand with Shtultz, teaching, even inspiring, fellow Montanans about Am Yisroel.

In this week’s Torah portion, Vayeitzei, we read about Jacob’s life in the home and neighborhood of Laban. Jacob didn’t survey the town and assess whether being Jewish, a son of Isaac and Rebecca, grandson of Abraham and Sarah, should be public knowledge or not. He didn’t change his lifestyle, alter his values, to please his new friends. He understood that to survive in our chaotic, sometimes cruel, world, one needs to have an anchor, something to keep us grounded and for him that was the lifestyle he internalized from his Abrahamic family. We can, and should, be open-minded to hear from, and live with, those who aren't on the same page with us, but we mustn't be wishy washy to change our principles to impress them. 

Later in the week I traveled to Whitehall, where a group of teenagers banded together to create a holocaust project and worked with the town librarian Jeannie to bring awareness about the Shoah to this community of one thousand. I shared with them the story of my Zayde Reb Shimon Goldman and what it taught me about respect for all human beings, no matter our differences. I was asked many questions about Judaism, and, like Holly, was able to share its beauty with wonderful Montanans eager to hear all about it.

Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken!

May G-d guard our brethren in Israel and the world over from harm and send us Mashiach speedily. May G-d protect the armed forces of Israel and the United States wherever they may be. Shabbat Shalom! Chazak!!! L'Chaim!!!

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