/news

Alaska Jewish Campus & Museum Donates COVID Masks to Municipality of Anchorage

 

In response to Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy and Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz’s call to the community, to come forward and help with the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) that Anchorage faces due to the COVID-19 crisis, members of the Alaska Community sponsored a Donate a Mask and Protect a Life Campaign.
  

On Tuesday, May 12th, 2020, the Alaska Jewish Campus and Museum delivered its first shipment of 3-PLY surgical masks to Mayor Ethan Berkowitz. Members of the Jewish community officially presented the donated face masks to the Mayor and the Municipality of Anchorage for distribution to first responders, medical providers and to those in the community at risk of exposure to the coronavirus. 
 

The event coincided with the Jewish unity day of Lag B’omer, when Jews around the world celebrate Jewish unity and brotherhood. It is in the spirit of this day of celebration that the Campus and Museum hope to inspire fellow Alaskans with an Alaskan spirit of unity and the importance of watching out for each other.

 

You can watch Rabbi Greenberg of the Alaska Jewish Campus and Alaska Jewish Museum  and Mayor Berkowitz in the clip below.

"Songs of the Inspired Soul"

February 2019

On February 19, 2020, the Alaska Jewish Museum presented an event called 'Songs of the Inspired Soul', a multimedia concert of traditional Hassidic melodies that features film and a live string quartet of local Anchorage musicians. The music was incredibly stirring and was well-received by the culturally diverse Anchorage public!  

 

 

"Those Who Remained"

December  2019

"Those Who Remained", the Hungarian film sponsored by the Alaska Jewish Museum for entrance into the 2019 Anchorage Internationat Film Festival received the Jury Award for Best Narrative Feature film. It also was 2nd Runner-Up for the Audience Choice Award. A lyrical story of the healing power of love in the midst of conflict, loss and trauma, “Those Who Remained,” reveals the healing process of Holocaust survivors through the eyes of a young girl in post-World War II Hungary.

 

"Those Who Remained" premiered at the Telluride Film Festival and is also Hungary’s official entry in the 2020 Oscars' International Feature Film category.
 

 

 

The Alaska Jewish Museum is proud and excited to announce that the Anchorage Press has selected our museum as one of the top 3 museums in Anchorage, along with the Anchorage Museum and the Alaska Native Heritage Museum!

 

https://www.anchoragepress.com/news/press-picks-winners-announced/article_45352c3e-f77e-11e9-a0cd-732f42877eb0.html

What About Holocaust Analogies?

August 8th, 2019

Recently statements have been made comparing the situation on the US / Mexican border to concentration camps in Europe during the 1930s and 1940s. Some have taken issue with this, viewing these analogies as an exploitation of the six million Jews murdered in a state-sponsored, systematic campaign of genocide. See below for both sides of the issue.

 

https://www.ushmm.org/information/press/press-releases/statement-regarding-the-museums-position-on-holocaust-analogies

 

https://www.ushmm.org/information/press/press-releases/why-holocaust-analogies-are-dangerous

 

https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2019/07/01/an-open-letter-to-the-director-of-the-holocaust-memorial-museum/

 

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/07/holocaust-museum-aoc-detention-centers-immigration.html

 

 

Holocaust Remembrance Day

April 11th, 2018

Leslie Fried, curator of the Alaska Jewish Museum was honored this year to present the Holocaust Remembrance Day Speech at both JBER and Fort Wainwright. Rabbi Levi Glitsenstein also spoke and gave a very moving speech at the JBER event.  The mission of the museum is not only to celebrate the history, art and culture of the Jews of Alaska, but to also tell the story of the Holocaust. Doing this ensures that this tragedy is not forgotten, for by remembering what happened to 6 million people, by telling their story, and by understanding the reasons behind it, human beings will be better equipped to observe warning signs in the future - and hopefully be better able to prevent such occurrences from happening again in our world. In the words of Liz Sevcenko, Founding Director of the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience, “memory is a critical language and terrain of human rights” for to erase the past of a people is to destroy them.

Leslie Fried, Rabbi Levi Glitsenstein, and Military Representatives of Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson

Military attendees of the Holocaust Remembrance Day event at Fort Wainwright

Military attendees view a presentation at the Holocaust Remembrance Day event at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson

Fourteenth Annual Jewish Cultural Gala - 2017

November 11th, 2017

The Jewish Cultural Gala in Anchorage Alaska on November 11, 2017, honored the 150th Anniversary of the Alaska Purchase, and the Alaska Commercial Company (ACC). The history of the ACC is interwoven with the history of Alaska. From the time of the Alaska Purchase in 1867, to the Gold Rush years, and to the present day, the ACC has been the provider of groceries and general merchandise for trappers, explorers, miners, and Alaska citizens in general. The company prides itself on a long history of practicing ethical business standards implemented by its Jewish founders, San Francisco merchants Louis Gerstle and Louis Sloss, who sought to run their operations according to the three principles of Judaism: charity, education, and social justice. An exhibit about the Alaska Commercial Company and the lobby of its founders for Purchase is in development by the Alaska Jewish Museum at the present time.

Leslie Fried, Alaska Jewish Museum Curator, Penelope Goforth ACCHistorian, & Alaskan Governor Bill Walker

The Jewish Cultural Gala Celebrates the Alaska Commerical Company

Rabbi Greenberg Presents Awards To ACC' Leadership Rex Wilhelm, Walter Pickett, & Perry Eaton On Behalf Of EdwardKennedy

Alaska Jewish Museum Curator Leslie Fried Interviews Captain Long at the Museum of Jewish Heritage

Alaska Airlines and Capt Elgen Long honored for their contibutions to Operation Magic Carpet

September 5, 2017

On Sept. 5, 2017, Curator Leslie Fried attended an event in New York at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, honoring Alaska Airlines and Capt. Elgen M. Long for their contributions in “Operation Magic Carpet,” the airlift by Alaska Airlines of more than 50,000 Yemenite Jews to the newly created nation of Israel from December 1948 to Fall of 1950. The event was organized by StandWithUs (an international, non-profit Israel education organization), in partnership with the American Sephardic Federation, together with the Alaska Jewish Museum. Speakers included Shahar Azani, StandWithUs Northeast Executive Director; Ambassador Dani Dayan, Consul General of Israel in New York; Captain (retired) Elgen M. Long; Jason Guberman of the American Sephardic Federation; and Curator Leslie Fried of the Alaska Jewish Museum.

Captain Elgen Long with the original sextant used in the airlift

Shahar Azani, StandWithUs NE Executive Director, &

Tim Thompson of Alaska Airlines

Tim Thompson speaking at the Museum of Jewish Heritiage

Alaska Jewish Museum Opens New Exhibit

August 21, 2017

On August 21, 2017, the Alaska Jewish Museum officially opened its new exhibit, A Refuge in the Last Frontier: Evolution of the Alaska Development Plan, about the failed attempts by the American government during the 1930’s and 40’s to put into place an immigration policy that would have allowed Jews trying to escape Nazi Germany to settle in Alaska.  We were honored to have such distinguished speakers present as Governor Walker, Mayor Berkowitz of Anchorage, Historian Steve Haycox and Senator Lisa Murkowski, as well as our own Rabbi Greenberg and Curator Leslie Fried. Audience response was very emotional as letters from would-be Jewish immigrants requesting haven in the Territory were read aloud. The speeches of Ms. Fried and Mayor Berkowitz can be accessed below. Professor Haycox’s speech can be found on the exhibit page. 

Curator Leslie Fried and AJM receives the 2017 Elva R Scott Local Historical Society Award

September 29, 2017

We are proud to announce that the Alaska Jewish Museum and Curator Leslie Fried were awarded the 2017 Elva R. Scott Local Historical Society Award for curatorial excellence in exhibit development!! In the photo, Ms. Fried is being presented with the award plaque by Treasurer Steve Hawley of the Alaska Historical Society. The ceremony took place at the 2017 Museums Alaska / Alaska Historical Society Conference, held this year at the Anchorage Museum.  

AJM Curator Leslie Fried presented 2017 Elva R. Scott Award by Steve HawleyTreasurer

of Alaska Historical Society

Alaska Historical Society 2017 Plaque

for Leslie Fried, Curator

Anchorage International Film Festival

NANA | Film sponsored by Alaska Jewish Museum

This year the Alaska Jewish Museum sponsored a film at the Anchorage International Film Festival. The film, NANA, was directed by Serena Dykman. The Museum also sponsored Ms. Dykman’s appearance at the Festival where she gave a talk and fielded questions from an enthusiastic audience. NANA tells the story of three women, of three generations, in three different regions: Poland, Belgium, and New York City. Alice and Serena, daughter and granddaughter respectively of Maryla Michalowski-Dyamant, convey the extraordinary story of this Auschwitz survivor, who was a passionate activist for remembrance and tolerance. 

 

A relevant and moving film will be making its world premiere at the St. Louis International Film Festival: NANA – a transgenerational documentary on tolerance. The film, directed by Serena Dykman, tells the story of three women, of three generations, in three different regions: Poland, Belgium, and New York City. Alice and Serena, daughter and granddaughter respectively of Maryla Michalowski-Dyamant, convey the extraordinary story of this Auschwitz survivor, who was a passionate activist for remembrance and tolerance. Maryla had a singular journey; she was forced to work as the translator for the infamous Dr Mengele, “the angel of death” of Auschwitz.

 

Serena decided to make this movie of her grandmother that she barely knew after reading her memoirs right after the January 2015 Paris terrorist attacks. Mother and daughter start a journey through Poland and Belgium, retracing Maryla’s steps. In Brussels (the city where Maryla emigrated after the war), the duo converse with people of different backgrounds, ages, and religions, who all knew Maryla.

 

The film is set in the shadow of the Brussels Jewish Museum terrorist attack and the January 2015 Paris attacks, and asks the necessary questions on fundamentalism and dogmatism. What concrete actions can be taken to create a global community that can coexist in peace? How can people of different cultures and backgrounds understand and respect each other? Within the context of the volatile state of current events, these questions are crucial.

 

When Serena and her team were editing the film, several people and television stations heard about the project, and sent the director around one hundred hours of archival footage of her grandmother. Without having imagined it, Serena found herself with additional material that she couldn’t ignore. The project took a new direction.

 

Even though NANA is a very personal film for Alice and Serena, it also touches on universal themes: a message of open-mindedness and mutual respect that is particularly relevant today.

 

In 1943, Maryla was deported from her native town of Bedzin (Poland) to Auschwitz-Birkenau, and manages to survive thanks to her immense courage, chance, and a lot of luck. After surviving typhus, she is forced to become Dr. Mengele’s translator, thus escaping the gas chambers. After the liberation, she meets her husband, a Catholic Polish resistant, and the two wander through Europe until they settle in Belgium. Maryla’s testimonies reveal her remarkable personality, her phenomenal courage, and her inimitable sense of humor.

 

Now that the majority of Holocaust survivors have disapeared, NANA attempts to find a way to keep the message of Maryla, and so many survivors alive. Through the theme of transmission, the documentary also tackles current social and educational questions, making NANA a unique film of its kind. This documentary is captiving because it is directed by a survivor’s granddaughter, a millenial, which makes audience of all ages able to relate to each one of the three protagonists.

 

Before the film was even finished, NANA received a few awards; the Alan Landsburg Post Production grant, Best Documentary Pitch at the Fusion Film Festival (with judges from HBO, VICE, IFP), as well as Best Teaser at the Take Two Film Festival. The project was also featured in Steven Spielberg's USC Shoah Foundation.

 

Serena Dykman resides in New York, and is a recent graduate of NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. Her work, ranging from comedy to drama, has won numerous awards, including at the Cannes Film Festival's Emerging Filmmaker Showcase, and she has been given the chance to screen her films in countless film festivals worldwide. NANA is the first feature of the young director.

 

NANA is a deeply moving and unsettling film, that makes people think about the concepts of tolerance and acceptance of the other, especially in the current political and social climate. A documentary to watch. Essential.

 

Note: NANA won the Leon Award for Best Documentary at the St. Louis Film Festival during their 25th anniversary season

 

 

A Farewell to Ruth Gruber

November 17, 2016

The Alaska Jewish Museum was fortunate enough to have been able to sponsor an exhibit of the photographs of intrepid reporter/photographer/author and humanitarian Ruth Gruber in 2012-2013. It was the first time that Alaskans had the opportunity to view photos and film footage taken by Ms. Gruber during her time in the Alaska Territory, before Pearl Harbor, as special assistant to Interior Secretary Harold Ickes The show was curated in New York at the International Center of Photography and hosted by the Anchorage Museum. Since that time, Alaska Museum Curator Leslie Fried visited with Ms. Gruber in Manhattan several times over the years, and came to appreciate her kindness, intelligence, sense of humor and sharp wit. Ruth Gruber passed away at the age of 105 on November 17, 2016.

Author Glenn Kurtz discusses acclaimed book ‘Three Minutes in Poland: Discovering a Lost World in a 1938 Family Film

Sunday, May 10 | UAA/APU Consortium Library

Author Glenn Kurtz spoke on his book, “Three Minutes in Poland: Discovering a Lost World in a 1938 Family Film,” which was selected as a Best Book of 2014 by The New Yorker, The Boston Globe and National Public Radio.

 

Kurtz showed the three minutes of footage, talked about his research and what it means to preserve history through film.

Consul shares Lithuanian heritage with fellow Alaskans

Amy Armstrong | Alaska Star

Svaja Vansauskas Worthington was just 18 months old when her family fled Lithuania to escape the devastation caused by World War II. Between the forced evacuation of the Jewish quarter in the Vilnius ghetto, and the change from a pre-war Russian-occupied Lithuania to a wartime German occupation and then a re-occupation by the Russians again, Lithuania’s future looked grim. Her family moved to the displaced persons camp in the American quarter in Berlin, Germany, and her father worked several years to relocate his family to the United States.

Music students receive rare treat from classical pianist

Amy Armstrong | Alaska Star

It was one of those infrequent musical treats that pop in on the local scene when a classical pianist widely regarded as one of Europe’s top emerging young Most of the students had not heard of him, but that didn’t stop their immediate recognition that they were in from a rare listening experience as his fingers employed some chording and scales to check the key action on the piano in the classroom.

Nous Sommes Juifs

JDC | January 14, 2015

JDC stands together with the hundreds of thousands of people, including world leaders, who gathered in Paris to stand up to terror and demonstrate their solidarity with the French people — and mourns the loss of all those who were murdered in cold blood by the terrorists.

Crowd at Paris Unity Rally Sings John Lennon's 'Imagine'

Huffington Post‎ | January 14, 2015

In 1980, John Lennon explained the meaning behind his song “Imagine.” Speaking with reporter David Sheff, the former Beatle said, “‘Imagine’ is saying that [if] you can imagine a world at peace … then it can be true.”

More than three decades later, Lennon’s song unified a crowd at a Paris rally this Sunday, held in the days after extremist attacks claimed the lives of 17 people.

World Jewish leaders condemn Paris Islamist terror attack, stress urgent need of strong and determined response

EAJC | January 9, 2015

World Jewish leaders condemned the massacre of at least 12 people in the Paris offices of the weekly satirical magazine ‘Charlie Hebdo’ on Wednesday, which was reportedly carried out by Islamist terrorists identifying themselves as al-Qaeda members.
World Jewish Congress (WJC) President Ronald S. Lauder reacted with shock at the ‘’heinous act of terror aimed at the free press in France and beyond.”
He urged the West to stand united against this menace and act strongly against all those who spread hatred and intolerance in our societies.

PM visits kosher grocery, urges united stand on terror

Haaretz | January 12, 2015

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited on Monday the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket in Paris, where four hostages were killed in Friday's terror attack. "I visited the Hyper Cacher in Paris this afternoon," Netanyahu said on his Facebook page after the visit. "There I met Celine, who was one of the hostages and who told me what happened during the terror attack."

"A straight line runs between the extreme Islam's attacks around the world and the attack that took place here," Netanyahu said. "I expect all leaders, after we marched together through the streets of Paris, to fight all forms of terror, even when it is directed at Israel and at Jews. 

Please reload

Alaska Jewish Museum Installation Now On Display at AIC Airport
AJM Installation at Anchorage International Airport

July 16, 2014   |  Alaska Jewish Museum board members Bob & Yael Kaufman, recently made a very important contribution to our museum by donating a permanent signage spot in the Anchorage International Airport, highlighting our Jewish Museum and our first permanent exhibit, On the Wings Of Eagles: Alaska's Contribution to Operation Magic Carpet. This generous gift has dramatically changed the scope of our museum’s public reach, as the sign is prominently located at the Alaska Airlines baggage claim, seen by thousands of tourists and locals throughout the year. On your next trip in our out of town make sure to stop and view it!

Image Gallery:
Holocaust Teacher’s Workshop

On August 15, 2015, Leslie Fried, the curator of the Alaska Jewish Museum hosted the Holocaust Teacher’s Workshop, a two-hour event that featured a welcoming speech by Rabbi Yosef Greenberg of the Alaska Jewish Campus; and a PowerPoint presentation that touched
on the history of anti-Semitism, the Holocaust and resistance efforts.

 

In addition, songs of the ghettos and of the camps, arranged for flute and violin, were played by Karen Barnard, violinist and Christine Reichman, flautist.

Image Gallery: JDC Forum 2013

AJM Curator Leslie Fried was invited by Linda Levi, the Director of Global Archives at the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, to participate in a panel on conducting research at the JDC Archives. The event took place on Monday, October 14, 2013 at the Westin Grand Central Hotel in New York City during the JDC Board of Directors annual meeting. The session was entitled "Bringing History to Life - The Treasures of the JDC Archives" and included a brief overview on some of the treasures in the JDC Archives followed by a panel of three cultural figures speaking on their experiences using the JDC Archives. Leslie spoke about her experience in the JDC Archives preparation collecting material for the AJM’s opening exhibit, On the Wings of Eagles: Alaska’s Contribution to Operation Magic Carpet. 

Leslie Fried at JDC Forum 2013