Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Jewish philanthropy group finances full-time rabbi for Bozeman

By the Associated Press - 03/14/07

BOZEMAN (AP) — A Jewish rabbi is moving here to serve Orthodox Jewish families in Montana.

Chaim Bruk, 25, and his wife, Chavie, 22, are members of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, a branch of Hasidism founded in Russia in the 1700s. Its followers are Orthodox Jews.

The Bruks, with seed money from Jewish philanthropy group the Rohr Family Foundation in Florida, intend to set up a base in Bozeman.

‘‘We’re really a statewide organization based out of Bozeman,’’ Bruk said Monday in a phone interview from his native Brooklyn, N.Y. ‘‘Our primary focus will be adult education.’’

Classes will cover the religion, its customs and culture, along with the modern Jewish perspective on science, world events to the Torah, Bruk said.

He will concentrate first on Bozeman, Billings and Helena and said he plans to use hotel conference rooms, libraries or other gathering places rather than establishing a permanent Chabad center.

Bruk said he won’t offer Orthodox worship services until there is a demand.

The Chabad-Lubavitch effort is not connected with Bozeman’s Congregation Beth Shalom, which is headed by Rabbi Allen Secher, who lives in Whitefish and comes to Bozeman for 10 days each month.

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