Living and working in a state with one of the smallest Jewish populations in the nation (46th of 50) brings unique challenges for engagement with this small but strong community. It has also had amazing opportunities to be an ambassador and teacher of Jews and Judaism to the broader community in Billings and all of Montana. Erik's Rabbinic Capstone Project is the first ever survey of Jewish life conducted in the state.
Living in a state with:
Student Rabbi Erik was invited to speak at the community memorial of the Christchurch, NZ mosque shooting
I enlisted into the Marine Corps in 1998, as an Intelligence Analyst. Little did I know that the next 4 years would shape my whole Jewish life. Serving on both coasts of the United States, as well as Okinawa, Japan gave me the opportunity to see the diversity of Judaism like nothing else in my life has. When I enlisted, I had a very bare Jewish identity. By the time I was honorably discharged in 2002, I had the goal of becoming a Rabbi. Please see my personal statement for how this time shaped me into who I am today, in more ways than I ever expected.
Our God, and God of our Ancestors, Ish Milchamah, God of Deborah and Barak,
We remember those who took the oath of uniformed service
of the United States of America,
who served at home and away -
in an office or in an aircraft,
on a ship or on the battlefield -
and who then returned to civilian life.
We pray that You grant honorable recognition of their service,
healing of their bodies and minds,
and wisdom to our civilian leadership to help facilitate it.
May those veterans that are still with us,
and those from battles and times long past,
find peace and acceptance among their fellow Americans,
whether they were born in this land or in others.
We thank them by promising that -
though war and conflict may sometimes be regrettably inevitable in pursuit of justice and protection of the weak -
we will work every day for Tikun Olam, the repairing of the world,
in the hopes that we may achieve Your intent of all humanity, as delivered by Your prophet:
Lo Yisa Goy el Goy Cherev, v'lo Yilmedu od Milchama.
"Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, they shall never again know war." (Isaiah 2:4)
And together we say: Amen