There’s more than one rabbi who arrived in this western state...and in our documentary. Meet the true stars of our film.
Rabbi Chaim Bruk
A Chabad-Lubavitcher, Chaim Bruk endorses a Torah-prescribed form of missionary Judaism. His Bozeman congregants, educated and often liberal, look past ideological differences with their Hasidic rabbi, who came to Montana from Brooklyn. They embrace his goal to connect all Jews, observant and unaffiliated, to their Judaism, and they are impressed that Chaim and his wife, Chavie, have adopted five children.
Rabbi Francine Roston
In South Orange, New Jersey, Francine Roston broke the “stained glass” ceiling as a Conservative woman rabbi to a huge Jewish congregation. In 2014, she moved West to Montana’s Flathead Valley to start over as rabbi to the small, diverse Jewish community. THE RABBI GOES WEST shows the horrors when Francine becomes a target of a cyber attack by neo-Nazis.
Rabbi Allen Secher
After co-founding Chicago’s first Jewish Renewal congregation, Allen Secher moved to Whitefish, Montana in 2000 in order to retire. But he discovered he was the only rabbi in the state, motivating him to perform Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, weddings, funerals, wherever he was needed. With the arrival of other rabbis in Montana, Allen managed to semi-retire while retaining his status as the state’s senior rabbi.
Rabbi Ed Stafman
Formerly a trial lawyer in Florida, Ed Stafman began a second career when he moved west to Bozeman to become the rabbi at the non-Orthodox temple, Congregation Beth Shalom. Ed is an unabashed liberal activist and, in a debate shown in our film, he articulates his very different religious and political beliefs from the Hasidic tenets of Chaim.