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  • Leslie Fried, Curator

Spring 2020 Newsletter

Thank you so much for your interest in the Alaska Jewish Museum!

2019 was a challenging year for the staff of the Museum as we found ourselves dividing our time between business-as-usual and earthquake repair. The November 2018 quake caused quite a bit of chaos from structural damage to walls and malfunctioning computer technology to broken artifacts. Thanks to a grant from the Alaska Community Foundation, we have not only been able to do the required repairs but have also strengthened our building structures and artifact mounts.



Currently, Curator Leslie Fried is continuing her travels around Alaska to interview Jewish Alaskans. She has been to Sitka and Homer and will be going in a week to Juneau. Jews have played an important role in the development of Alaska from Territorial times (and even before) to the present. One little known fact is that the first mayor of Anchorage in 1915, Leopold David, was Jewish (See Below Photo). One hundred and five years later, we have another Jewish mayor, Ethan Berkowitz.



It has been a fascinating experience to meet Alaskan Jews who come from all walks of life: fisherman, congressman, public radio host, book shop owner, artist, tribal judge, etc. Their stories cover ancestors as well, the “old country,” favorite foods, and their experiences as Jews in Alaska. The goal is an oral history kiosk in the Alaska Jewish Museum that allows visitors access to these stories and their accompanying photos. Our ideal install date is Spring 2021.


The Alaska Jewish Museum continues to play a role in the Art Scene in Anchorage. Our 2019 sponsored film for the Anchorage International Film Festival won the Jury Award for Best Narrative Feature, as well as the Audience Award for 2nd Runner Up Best Narrative Feature.


In the realm of music, the Museum also sponsored “Songs of the Inspired Soul,” a multimedia concert, featuring a string quartet, that celebrated the roots of traditional Hassidic melodies. After the amazing feedback we received, it is our wish to explore other musical possibilities.

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