RELIGION

'Roving rabbis' take kosher mission across Montana's Big Sky Country

  • In this July 27, 2015 photo, orthodox Jewish rabbis Dovid Lepkivker, right, and Eli Chaikin, center, inspect packages of bagels with Mary Semple, left, and her grandson Levi Weitner in a grocery store in Helena, Mont. Lepkivker and Chaikin are on a mission to reach as many Montana Jews as they can in a month to teach them how to keep kosher. (AP Photo/Matt Volz)

    In this July 27, 2015 photo, orthodox Jewish rabbis Dovid Lepkivker, right, and Eli Chaikin, center, inspect packages of bagels with Mary Semple, left, and her grandson Levi Weitner in a grocery store in Helena, Mont. Lepkivker and Chaikin are on a mission to reach as many Montana Jews as they can in a month to teach them how to keep kosher. (AP Photo/Matt Volz)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this July 27, 2015 photo, Orthodox Jewish rabbi Dovid Lepkivker points to a kosher certification label - the 'U' within a circle - on an energy drink in a grocery store in Helena, Mont. Lepkivker and fellow rabbi Eli Chaikin, not shown, are on a mission to reach as many Montana Jews as they can in a month to teach them how to keep kosher. (AP Photo/Matt Volz)

    In this July 27, 2015 photo, Orthodox Jewish rabbi Dovid Lepkivker points to a kosher certification label - the 'U' within a circle - on an energy drink in a grocery store in Helena, Mont. Lepkivker and fellow rabbi Eli Chaikin, not shown, are on a mission to reach as many Montana Jews as they can in a month to teach them how to keep kosher. (AP Photo/Matt Volz)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this July 27, 2015 photo, orthodox Jewish rabbi Dovid Lepkivker, center, examines a container of Breyer's ice cream, which happens to be kosher, as fellow rabbi Eli Chaikin, left, and Mary Semple look on in Helena, Mont. Lepkivker and Chaikin are on a mission to reach as many Montana Jews as they can in a month to teach them how to keep kosher. (AP Photo/Matt Volz)

    In this July 27, 2015 photo, orthodox Jewish rabbi Dovid Lepkivker, center, examines a container of Breyer's ice cream, which happens to be kosher, as fellow rabbi Eli Chaikin, left, and Mary Semple look on in Helena, Mont. Lepkivker and Chaikin are on a mission to reach as many Montana Jews as they can in a month to teach them how to keep kosher. (AP Photo/Matt Volz)  (The Associated Press)

Two young Orthodox rabbis have traded their studies in Brooklyn for the back roads of Montana, where they are teaching the far-flung faithful how to keep kosher.

Eli Chaikin, 23, and Dovid Lepkivker, 25, call themselves the roving rabbis. Their mission is to reach as many of the state's approximately 3,000 Jews as they can in a month. They have visited more than 60 homes since July 7.

Their message is a gentle one in what are at best loosely organized Jewish communities where relatively few people strictly follow the dietary laws.

Chaikin says any step a person makes is positive.

Chaikin and Lepkivker are affiliated with Chabad-Lubavich movement. Chabad's Bozeman-based rabbi, Chaim Bruk, said he invited them to help him honor the 40th anniversary of a campaign to promote observance of the kosher laws.