Montana Rabbi to Neo-Nazis: Torah Topples Hate


By Mordechai Lightstone,

As plans move forward for a neo-Nazi march in Whitefish, Mont., Chabad-Lubavitch of Montana plans on “fighting darkness with light.”

Neo-Nazis have scheduled an armed march against the small Jewish community in Whitefish for Monday, Jan. 16—corresponding on the secular calendar to Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The march culminates weeks of targeted harassment against members of the town’s 200 or so Jewish families.

“This is a chilling time for members of our community,” says Rabbi Chaim Bruk, co-director of the Chabad House based in Bozeman, which serves the entire state (another Chabad center in Missoula, three hours northwest of Bozeman, serves the community there and students at the University of Montana). “Agents of hate are trying to bully Jews to leave Whitefish. They are wrong; the good souls of Whitefish are not going anywhere.”

Bruk praised the proactive responses from local law-enforcement agencies, as well as elected officials, including Gov. Steve Bullock, in supporting the Jewish community.

In response to the march, Bruk has launched the Montana Chumash Project, an effort to give every Jewish family in Montana—some 1,500 households in all—a copy of the Kehot Chumash. Bruk sees the gift, funded by Jews and non-Jews around the country, as the ultimate act of defiance against darkness.

“We do not consider it our job to protest the haters,” says Bruk. “Rather, we wanted to respond with something they could never compete with. Darkness is allergic to light, and this gift is the ultimate act of light.”

This is not the first time the rabbi has launched a widespread Jewish campaign. In the summer of 2013, he traveled around the state putting up mezuzahs on Jewish homes; he regularly tours the state promoting the observance of kashruth and other mitzvahs.

Stephen Schnall, a retired physician and resident of Flathead County who lives about 40 miles outside of Whitefish, sees the project as a positive expression of the greater Montana community’s backing of the Jewish population in state that’s known as “The Last Best Place.”

Since first visiting Montana 20 years ago, Schnall stresses the “overwhelming support” for his Jewishness that he has experienced from Jews and non-Jews alike.

“Chabad is known for taking one light and using it to create many more,” says Schnall. “Something like this will really inspire others.”



  1. This is such a bad time in U.S. history for the rights of anyone in a community to find human value noting that this new political climate run by deplorable hate has found an American vote for a terrible Neo-nazi fame driven world.

    Can we just say thank you to the FBI for trying to keep track of some of these groups? The Southern Poverty Law center does well. A good charity if you have any concern for your community.

    Strong days we can hope. If Trump is our president, we can hope he will act against these Neo-nazi groups. We can not live in a Breitbart world of hate and small humor.

    Trust in Hashem. Our world is hopefully a place to preserve in human value, liberty and safety for all law abiding American citizens.

    There is no reason any jewish community should feel at odds with this USA of the future in its safe concerns for a human feeling today and with jewish rights.

    The war against Israel is very wide spread and we can only fight with our human rights and humane judgment. There is a terrible leprosy of hate against liberalism today and we can not live in a hate world that even remotely lets the groups of hate feel that they have privilege and honor to harm and scare any other community or values in the USA.

    This leprosy of hate must be eliminated. The world is not a terror event just another day to hope we can come to Hashem on our knees and cry for the safe sake that careful hope is anything of a good day.

    We must improve medical care and access to care, we must have rights and we must have concerns that the public can discuss. The world can not stand for a human event of more hate and more terror.

    I am hoping that our health will prevail and our G-d will keep all of Israel in good courage. The world will not remit for hate and the lazy terror of this perceived presidency must be kept in the good check of all liberal values.

    Terror can not continue. If Trump is not already a lame duck, I would wonder if he is ready for a good day. I can only think that the wall is a useless concern.

    Please forgive me for my long post but I am careful to hope my own health is o.k. Had a scary concern and it is perhaps not over.

    Still, B’H, we are concerned that this world will not get better with the concerning hate. I am ready for more hope. Lets hope that Montana has a good fate.

    Shalom. Liberalism is a faith that works for America. G-d bless America.

  2. Despicable individuals are despicable, whether nazi, muslim, xian, leftists, or whatever else. They should all crawl back to the sewers where they belong. Wishing much success to the brave Chabad Rabbi who has the strength to deal with such filth.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here