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Congregation Beth Shalom

Jewish Community in Bozeman, Montana

This coming year at Congregation Beth Shalom will be a year of transitions. As the search committee continues its work finding a permanent resident rabbi, we all continue our work of building a Jewish community based in Bozeman. As we look towards our future, we will also be welcoming back some leaders from our past to help guide us during our transitions. The board has engaged past Beth Shalom Rabbi Allen Secher to lead our High Holiday services, and we will be having monthly visits from former Beth Shalom student Rabbi Michael Lotker, serving as our part-time interim rabbi. These monthly visits will include Shabbat services, adult education, Torah study, social events, and helping to prepare six of our young students for their bar and bat mitzvot. We are also hiring Amber Ikeman back for the year as our full-time Director of Music and Community Engagement, and she will join Rabbi Lotker on the bimah each month and she will also lead an additional monthly service.  We are also pleased to announce that Rabbi Ed Stafman, upon his retirement, is being honored with the title of Rabbi Emeritus of Congregation Beth Shalom and will continue some of his work in the Bozeman community.

Congregation Beth Shalom
2018-2019 Transition Period
Key Temple Functions & Roles


  1. Services & Classes

Monthly Visits from Rabbi Lotker:  Rabbi Michael Lotker ( will serve as our interim (but non-resident) rabbi for the 2018-2019 fiscal year. He will typically conduct the following services and classes once per month in Bozeman at Congregation Beth Shalom:

The dates for Rabbi Lotker’s regular monthly visits for this fiscal year are: July 20-22, Aug 10-12, Oct 12-14, Nov 9-11, Dec 7-9, Jan 11-13, Feb 8-10, Mar 8-10, Apr 19-21, May 10-12, June 7-9. The details for each weekend will be posted on the temple calendar.

The schedule for the first visit – July 20-22 – will be slightly more involved so that we have ample opportunity to welcome Rabbi Lotker back to Bozeman. The full schedule of events for that weekend are:

Rabbi Lotker will also be available by appointment at any time during his monthly visits to meet with individual affiliates. If you are interested in meeting with him one-on-one, please contact him directly. (Contact info at end).

Other Services / Study:  We have hired Amber Ikeman full-time, to be our Director of Music and Community Engagement. Amber will lead a second Friday night service each month. The schedule for the next few months is: Aug 24, Sept 1 (Selichot), Oct 26 and Nov 16; the full schedule will be posted on the temple calendar. Additionally, we are planning to have lay-led Torah study on the Saturday mornings that Rabbi Lotker will not be present; contact Richard Wolff ( or Janel Carino ( for details.

High Holidays: Rabbi Secher will be returning to conduct our High Holiday services, along with Amber Ikeman. Exact schedule to be posted to the website soon.

Religious School:  The religious school will be run by Amber Ikeman and Ashley Mansfield (who is also joining the board). They are working on the curriculum and program for the coming year, and more details will be forthcoming.

B’Nei Mitzvah Class:  We have 6 b’nei mitzvah students for the 2019 calendar year. They will meet with Rabbi Lotker in person once per month as indicated above for study, and they will also have a weekly study session with Rabbi Lotker via Skype from 4:30-5:30pm each Wednesday during the Jewish Studies period of Shalom Kids. Sara Schwerin will attend each Skype session with the students, so that there is in-person adult interaction to help guide the discussions. Other parents of the b’nei mitzvah students are also welcome to attend. In addition, Amber Ikeman will spend up to 5 hours per week tutoring b’nei mitzvah students on prayers. This tutoring will commence with a weekly group tutoring session, and shift to individual tutoring sessions (first come, first serve) as the year progresses depending on student need. If the need for tutoring exceeds 5 hours per week, families may request additional sessions from Amber or another tutor depending on availability; compensation for additional sessions would be paid by the family making the request.

  1. Pastoral Care and Life Cycle Events

Rabbi Lotker is available for pastoral work and life cycle events when he is present in Bozeman and by Skype as needed. Affiliates of the congregation are encouraged to schedule life cycle events on weekends when Rabbi Lotker will be present in Bozeman. However, we recognize that is not always possible. If an affiliate of the congregation wishes to have Rabbi Lotker perform a life cycle event on a date he isn’t planning to be in Bozeman, please contact Rabbi Lotker and/or Sara Schwerin to discuss. In general, the Temple will try to accommodate and will arrange for additional compensation for Rabbi Lotker to perform such service, but travel costs will need to be borne by the affiliate.

If there are affiliates of our congregation who would prefer to receive such services from Ed Stafman, Rabbi Emeritus, due to their historical relationship with him, they may request such of Rabbi Lotker or Sara Schwerin (Board President) with appropriate compensation payable to Rabbi Stafman to be determined based on the situation. 

  1. Temple Administration & Communications

Amber Ikeman will be taking over temple communications including the email of weekly events, the website / calendar, and social media as appropriate. She will also handle any communications / outreach with potential new members and community inquiries.

Lisa Roots will be spending some additional time working at the Temple, and will handle all primary administrative functions.

  1. Volunteers

During this transition year more than ever, we could really use some help! If you have any interest in helping with building improvements, membership, social action / Tikun Olam, or interfaith work (we are looking for two people to serve as our representatives on the Gallatin Valley Interfaith Alliance), please contact any one of the below. Thanks!

  1. Key Contacts for Questions

If you have any questions about how the temple will function during the 2018-2019 fiscal year, please do not hesitate to contact any one of the following:

Rabbi Michael Lotker –; 805-558-0578

Amber Ikeman, Director of Music & Community Engagement –

Lisa Roots, Temple Administrator –; 406-548-2061

Sara Schwerin, Board President –; 646-247-8834

Richard Wolff, Past President, Board Member & Transition Coordinator –; 406-579-1112

Ed Lewis, Board Member & Transition Coordinator –

Seth Cooper, Treasurer, Board Member & Chair of the Rabbi Search Committee –; 202-344-6842