December 7, 2009

Oy! A rabbi in Montana!


The article, Yes, Miky, There Are Rabbis in Montana by Eric A. Stern, was on the New York Times most-emailed list.

I think the real lead is somewhat buried, so don't stop reading until you get to the end. Montana now has three rabbis -- two in Bozeman and one (LOL) in Whitefish:
They were all at the Capitol on the first night of last year to light a menorah in the ornate Capitol rotunda

The menorah was lighted and Hebrew prayers chanted, while the officer watched from a distance with his dog. He figured he would let it all go down and then move in when the ceremony was done. The dog sat at attention, watching the ceremony with a peculiar expression on its face, a look of intense interest. When the ceremony was over, the officer approached the Hasidic rabbi.

“I’m Officer John Fosket of the Helena Police,” he said. “This is Miky, our security dog. Do you mind if I ask you a few questions?”

Miky, pronounced Mikey, is in a Diaspora of his own. He was born in an animal shelter in Holland and shipped as a puppy to Israel, where he was trained by the Israeli Defense Forces to sniff out explosives. Then one day, Miky got a plane ticket to America. Rather than spend the standard $20,000 on a bomb dog, the Helena Police Department had shopped around and discovered that it could import a surplus bomb dog from the Israeli forces for the price of the flight. So Miky came to his new home in Helena, to join the police force.

The problem, the officer explained, was that Miky had been trained entirely in Hebrew.

The upshot was the Hasidic rabbi wound up "helping the Montana cop speak Hebrew to his dog. It is good news all around. The officer keeps the Capitol safe, and the Hebrew pooch is feeling more at home hearing his native tongue."

It's a good read. A real feel-good story. I heartily recommend it.

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