Brooklyn rabbinical college students go to Jewish households within the Montana space on native information



Tzemach Shemtov (right) holds up a mezuzah during an interview Monday as he and Mendel Weiss (left) discuss their visit to Montana as members of Chabad-Lubavitch, a branch of Orthodox Judaism based in New York.


CASEY PAGE, Billings Gazette

MATT HUDSON

A few days after their visit to Montana, Mendel Weiss and Tzemach Shemtov said they met with 15 families in Bozeman and Billings.

Over the next few weeks, the rabbinical students hope to check off names from a list of hundreds as they cross the state and share Jewish tradition with others.

It is an annual summer venture for students at Chabad-Lubavitch in Brooklyn, New York. At the invitation of Rabbi Chaim Bruk in Bozeman, the students came east to Eastern Montana for years.

Weiss and Shemtov, both 23, arrived in the state on Friday. They reached Billings on Monday and planned to venture into distant places like Glendive and Sidney before circling back.

Weiss said their job is to meet as many Montana Jews as possible to keep the light of faith going. He likened it to a lamp spot doing its trade.

“Somebody has to go around with some kind of fire lamp and light these lamps,” he said.

It was Bruk who started the contact list for Jewish families in the region, Weiss said. Since then, students have added something every summer whenever possible.

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