Since one of the most challenging aspects of being a young Jew in Montana is having an opportunity to get together with a group of Jews, Young Judaea sponsored the first-ever Montana state-wide Shabbaton on Jan. 15-17, 2000.
Thirty youth from grades three to 12 participated in the Billings convention. Many children flew in from Kalispell, Helena and Great Falls and were hosted by families, the synagogue and other Young Judaeans. The weekend was one of prayer, social action, leadership skill development and information on Israel.
Allison Freedman, director of the Desert Mountain Region of Young Judaea, said, “For so many of these young people, Young Judaea is their religion and their identity. It is their friends and their family and their home.”
Last summer, three teenagers from Montana attended Young Judaea’s national senior leadership camp in N.Y., and one attended their leadership program in Israel. More are hoping to get involved this summer.
Local Young Judaea clubs meet regularly in Kalispell and Billings, as the organization continues to work on finding qualified counselors and interested members in order to get new clubs formed in Missoula, Helena and Bozeman.