Services and Observances
At Congregation Beth Shalom, we observe all of the major Jewish holidays, as well as Shabbat. On average, we hold Friday night Shabbat services twice a month, followed by either an oneg or potluck dinner. Our worship is joyful and meaningful, seeking to create connections with one another and with divinity. We welcome Jews from all backgrounds. For services, we draw primarily from the Reform tradition as well as elements from the Conservative movement, with music ranging from traditional nusach to contemporary melodies. The prayers in our services are a mixture of Hebrew and English and transliteration is always provided for Hebrew prayers. We are blessed to have several talented musicians in our community whose presence and participation enhances our worship experience.
High Holiday services typically begin with a s’lichot service the Saturday night before Rosh Hashanah. We then typically celebrate two days of Rosh Hashanah services, Tashlich at a local lake, Shabbat Shuva service, a pre-Yom Kippur mikvah, Kol Nidre, and Yom Kippur services, including Yizkor and Neilah.
Other observances include Sukkot (when we erect a sukkah and celebrate within it), Simchat Torah, Chanukah, Tu B’Shvat, Purim (when we typically hold a party with costumes), Passover (when we typically hold a second night community seder), Holocaust Memorial Day, Israeli Independence Day, and Shavuot (when we typically hold a dairy dinner and evening of congregant-led learning).
Monthly Visits from Rabbi Lotker
Rabbi Michael Lotker will typically conduct the following services and classes once per month in Bozeman at Congregation Beth Shalom:
- Friday Night Shabbat Service (7pm from June-September, 6pm from October-May)
- Saturday Morning Torah Study (9:30-11am)
- Saturday Evening Social Event/Havdalah Service (~6pm, but time could vary depending on the event)
- Sunday Morning B’Nei Mitzvah Class (9-10:30am)
- Sunday Morning Adult Education Seminar on Various Topics (10:30-11:30am)
The dates for Rabbi Lotker’s regular monthly visits for the 2018-2019 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 can be found on the temple calendar and on our Facebook page.
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.
Rabbi Allen Secher returned in September 2018 to conduct our High Holiday services, along with Cantorial Soloist Amber Ikeman. As always, all are welcome to attend high holiday services - no tickets are required. The September 2018 schedule was as follows:
Selichot - Saturday, September 1st at 7pm
Erev Rosh Hashanah - Sunday, September 9th at 6pm
Rosh Hashanah Morning- Monday, September 10th at 10am
Tashlich - Monday, September 10th at 3pm (at Bozeman Pond)
Kol Nidre - Tuesday, September 18th at 7pm
Yom Kippur Morning - Wednesday, September 19th at 10am
(Yizkor service to follow)
Family Service - Wednesday, September 19th at 4:30pm
Yom Kippur Concluding Service - Wednesday, September 19th at 5pm
(Potluck to follow - no meat, no shellfish)
Rabbi Allen Secher served as Beth Shalom's part-time rabbi from 2003-2008. From 2008-2013 he was rabbi of Congregation Bet Hariim of the Flathead Valley. Ordained by Hebrew Union College in 1961, he subsequently earned his Doctor of Divinity degree. Rabbi Secher also served pulpits in Chicago, Los Angeles, Mexico City, and New York. He was one of the pioneers in the use of multi-media techniques in sermonic expression. In Chicago, he and his wife, Ina, founded Makom Shalom, a Jewish Renewal congregation that explores both traditional and holistic paths toward building spiritual intimacy. Rabbi Secher’s activism in social justice began with the Civil Rights Movement; in the 1960s he was one of the early Freedom Riders. In response to activities of a Montana neo-Nazi group, Rabbi Allen Secher and his wife, Ina Albert, were instrumental in the founding of a Human Rights organization, “Love Lives Here” in 2008.
We offer pastoral care and a full range of life cycle observances. The latter include brit milah (bris) (with member physicians serving as mohel) and baby namings, consecration (marking the beginning of Jewish education) for children beginning kindergarten, bar/bat mitzvah, weddings, special commemorations such as special anniversaries or birthdays, adult bar/bat mitzvah, and end of life rituals, including vidui, tahara, funerals, and memorial services. We historically have offered those wishing to convert to Judaism opportunities to study towards becoming Jewish, and to those wishing to take on the status of ger toshav (non-Jews who are fully part of the community) a ceremony to acknowledge this status.
During the 2018-2019 year, 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.