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Shalom from Rabbi Kula

February 10, 2020 - 15 Shevat, 5780
Happy Tu Bishevat-New Year of the Trees!
Shalom Beth Shalom and Friends!
I am learning one page of Talmud everyday as part of program called Daf Yomi. European Jewish communities initiated daily Talmud study in 1923 and this year we mark the start of the fourteenth cycle. With over 27 volumes and almost three thousand pages, it is a commitment indeed as it takes seven and a half years to complete. After 38 pages, I am truly enriched by the wisdom of the Talmud and am hoping that we can find a time for adult learning to share Talmudic insights.
Today is a Jewish holiday called Tu Bishevat, the fifteenth day of the Hebrew month of Shevat. Tu Bishevat is the New Year of Trees, or more generally described as Jewish Earth Day, and has been on the Jewish calendar for two thousand years. Caring for our planet and the grandeur of nature is a deeply rooted Jewish value. Tu Bishevat observance includes planting trees in Israel where the earliest signs of spring are beginning as well as planting locally. The Jewish mystical tradition calls for a Seder, similar to the Passover Seder, when people gather for songs, poetry, partaking in a variety of fruits as well as drinking four cups of wine from light and dark. The tree has a prominent place in Judaism as the basis of the Menorah and its branches and as the description of Torah being a Tree of Life. Judaism likens a human being to a tree with roots in history, a foundation in the present with branches and leaves extending into the future.
Celebrate Tu Bishevat! Plant a tree or donate funds for a tree locally and/or in Israel. Eat a fresh fruit and rejoice in the blessing of our trees. Or, be creative and mark Tu Bishevat in your own way. Please let me know what you do for Tu Bishevat.
In light of my Daf Yomi learning on this Tu Bishevat I share the following story found in the Ta’anit section of the Talmud.
"Once while Hone HaMa’agal (the circle-maker) was walking down the
road, he saw a man planting a carob tree. Honi asked, “How many years
will it take for this tree to bear fruit?” The man answered that it would take
70 years. Honi said, “Are you so healthy that you expect to live that long to
enjoy its fruit?” The man answered, “I found a fruitful world, because my
forebears planted for me. Thus I shall do for my children.” (Ta’anit 23a)

Amber's Voice

We're looking forward to seeing you for Shabbat! If you'd like to host our oneg in honor of a birthday, special occasion, milestone, or just for fun, please let me know.

Do you like planning parties and events? Enjoy putting smiles on people's faces and being part of the reason they're having a good time? Want a say about our gefilte fish and wine selection? We're looking for an additional creative mastermind to be part of the planning committee for our Community Passover Seder on April 9th. The time commitment is two meetings and some exchanging of emails in the months before the seder, and a few hours setting up before the event (if possible, but not a dealbreaker if you can't).

Thank you for contributing to our community to make it stronger, more vibrant, and ALWAYS well-fed!

Kol tuv - all the best,


Amber Ikeman
Cantorial Soloist/Program Director


► We are excited to institute the new URJ High Holiday prayer book called Mishkan HaNefesh - Sanctuary of the Soul. Congregations around the country are embracing this new edition of our ancient prayers blended with contemporary insights. You are invited to be part of this project as we are offering the opportunity for you to dedicate a prayer book in honor of a milestone, birthday, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, or wedding, or in memory of a loved one. Your prayer book dedication will offset the cost of providing these books for Beth Shalom. A bookplate with your name will be placed inside the two-volume set for a tax-deductible contribution of $50. You can download the order form here.

► Here's an easy way to support Beth Shalom: shop on Amazon! When you want to order something, first visit smile.amazon.com, then select "Congregation Beth Shalom, Bozeman" as the organization you want to support. Amazon will donate a percentage of your purchase to us. Thanks!

RSVP to Amber for Rabbi Kula's Installation Dinner on March 6th by February 28. 

Join us to officially install Mark Kula as Beth Shalom’s new Rabbi with a weekend of special events:

Thursday, March 5th at 7:00pm at Montana State University, Strand Union Building Ballroom D: "Yearnings: Embracing the Sacred Messiness of Life" presented by Rabbi Irwin Kula. Rabbi Irwin is a disruptive spiritual innovator and rogue thinker. A 7th generation rabbi, he is Co-President of CLAL, The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, a do-tank committed to making Jewish a Public Good. Named one of the leaders shaping the American spiritual landscape, he received the 2008 Walter Cronkite Faith and Freedom Award for his work “toward equality, liberty and a truly inter–religious community” and has been listed in Newsweek for many years as one of America’s “most influential rabbis.” Learn more about Rabbi Irwin here.

Friday, March 6th at 6pm at Beth Shalom: Installation, Shabbat Service, and Purim Celebration officiated by Rabbi Irwin Kula, followed by a catered dinner hosted by Beth Shalom. "The Sanctuary” open bar with live music and Purim festivities kicks off at 8pm. Give a “l’chaim” toast to our Rabbi with a “Kula-tini”! RSVP to Amber by February 28. 

Saturday, March 7th at 9:30am at Beth Shalom: Torah Study led by Rabbis Mark and Irwin Kula

Congregation Beth Shalom Welcomes New Rabbi, Mark Kula

Letter from Rabbi Kula

Shalom Friends!

Mazel Tov on uniting as Rabbi and community.

I am honored and delighted to join the Congregation Beth Shalom family and Bozeman community. These are exciting and challenging times. Let us take care of ourselves and others, nurture our relationships, and tap into profound Jewish wisdom. We will then surely thrive and be blessed.

L’heetraot- I look forward to seeing you soon!

Rabbi Mark H. Kula

Learn more about Rabbi Kula here.

Upcoming Events

Please see calendar for full list.


February 26, 2020
February 27, 2020
  • Fork & Spoon Mitzvah Crew

    February 27, 2020  4:30 pm - 7:30 pm
    Fork & Spoon Homestyle Kitchen, 3308, 302 N 7th Ave, Bozeman, MT 59715, USA
    See more details

February 28, 2020
  • Beth Shalom Book Club

    February 28, 2020  6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
    Home of Ellen Ornitz & Hans Haumberger
    See more details

February 29, 2020
  • Torah Study

    February 29, 2020  9:30 am - 11:00 am
    2010 W Koch St, Bozeman, MT 59718, USA
    See more details

March 4, 2020
  • Interfaith Forum

    March 4, 2020  12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
    Resurrection Parish, 1725 S 11th Ave, Bozeman, MT 59715, USA
    See more details

  • Shalom Kids

    March 4, 2020  4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

    See more details

March 5, 2020
  • "Yearnings: Embracing the Sacred Messiness of Life"

    March 5, 2020  7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
    MSU Strand Union Building, Ballroom D
    See more details


Our Mission

Congregation Beth Shalom is a place where affiliates of all ages come together to be a learning and spiritual community who joyfully pray together and celebrate Jewish history and tradition. We cultivate in our affiliates a lifelong connection to Judaism through the lens of the Reform and Renewal movements.

Sukkot 2018

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