Young rabbinical students travel around Montana visiting and encouraging Jews
Published one year ago by The Billings Gazette

Rabbinical students JJ Polter, left, and Leibel Kaplan are spending a few weeks this summer encouraging other Jews in their faith. They stopped in Billings on Friday.

Daniel Spangler of Pray, center, wearing tefillin, poses for a photo with rabbinical students Leibel Kaplan, left, and JJ Polter. 

Irwin Kirby, center, of Dillon, wears tefillin as he poses for a photo with rabbinical students Leibel Kaplan, left, and JJ Polter.

Daniel Lord, center, of Billings, wears tefillin while holding his son Abe. Rabbinical student Leibel Kaplan looks on.

Who knows when someone might need a spiritual lift?

Rabbinical students Leibel Kaplan, 19, and JJ Polter, 20, found themselves in a check-out line at the Great Falls Walmart the other day when a man in line with them spoke up.

“He said ‘shalom, how are you? You’re Jewish!’ ” Kaplan said in an interview on Friday. “And he’s like, ‘I’ve been dying to see a rabbi for the past seven years.’”

That the two, garbed in dress shirts and suit coats, with yarmulkes (or skull caps) on their heads, were easy to spot in the central Montana town. The pair spent time with the man, helping him connect with God.

Kaplan called that meeting and the others like it since the two arrived in Montana on June 29 “divine providence.” It’s made their first visit to Montana memorable.

“There’s no words to describe it, to bring light to these Jews and to inspire and help them out,” he said.

Kaplan, wh ...

Added: one year ago