}

Kelev Tov B’ Shamayim Gadol

Frederic Brenner's Montana Menorah pic

Frederic Brenner's Montana Menorah pic

The last time there was big Jewish news out of the Big Sky country, aka The Great State of Montana, it was December 2, 1993, when someone in Billings threw a brick through the window of a Jewish family’s home. A week later, the editors of the Billings Gazette published a picture of a menorah in its paper, and residents of all religions or lack of religions placed paper menorahs in their windows to fight hate and intolerance. In 1994, Frédéric Brenner photographed some Billings residents with their menorah replicas. (see above)

Oh wait,… and then there was the time that the only pulpit rabbi left in Montana, Rabbi Allen Secher, decided to retire. That was in 2008.

Officers Miky and John on patrol

Officers Miky and John on patrol

Now comes word via The New York Times, that there is a Hebrew speaking dog protecting the state Capitol. For the past three days this story has been among the top five most e-mailed NYT items. It seems as if Helena, Montana’s capitol police force was in need of another K-9 bomb-sniffing dog, and found one for the price of a jet ticket from Israel. Miky, a German Shepherd, was born in the Benelux region of Europe, but was trained in Israel. And that is how the Hebrew hearing dog ended up in Montana. The problem is that no one in the Montana police force could speak Ivrit, or knew how to pronounce the Chanukkah sounding “CH” sound for some of the commands given to this kelev-tov. But as Latke Luck would have it, Officer John Fosket, Miky’s patrol partner, happened upon one of Montana’s few new rabbis and Hebrew speakers at the Capitol, namely Chabad Rabbi Chaim Bruk of Bozeman.
Rabbi Bruk with a car menorah

Rabbi Bruk with a car menorah

Rabbi Bruk worked with the officer on his Hebrew pronunciations, and Montana is now a safer place. Miky even got to help to protect President Obama during a recent presidential visit to Montana. As for Rabbi Bruk… he is seeking out more dogs and people interested in conversing in or learning Hebrew (Note: For more Hebrew speakers in Montana, check out the students and teachers in the Hebrew classes at the University of Montana or at Montana State University, or at the local Jewish synagogue in town. Or google the Montana Association of Jewish Communities.)

Hat tip and kugel nod to the the photo department at Helena’s Independent Record newspaper and to the story’s author: Teaneck, NJ native, Eric A. Stern, a senior counselor to Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer, who also served as the governor’s campaign manager and as a political aide to former U.S. VP Al Gore. And to Howard Greenberg galleries, which reps Mr. Brenner.

2 Comments

  1. SarKE

    12/8/2009 at 12:47 pm

  2. Poogy

    12/8/2009 at 1:06 pm

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