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Welcome to the largest Jewish Congregation in Alaska

Congregation Beth Sholom welcomes all visitors who wish to worship with us. We are a progressive congregation affiliated with Reform Judaism and are proud to be of service to those from diverse Jewish backgrounds. Please visit our About Us page for a detailed description of our values.

Our facilities are located in a peaceful, natural setting to enhance your spiritual experience. While our in-person services are limited, you can always watch livestream services on our YouTube channel: Alaska Judaism Media.

The 5782/2022 Community Seder Was a Huge Success!

It was wonderful to see so many of you at the Seder this year. For many people, it was their first time back in the synagogue after such a long time. Thank you to all who attended.

This year's game was for each table who participates, to tell the story of the Exodus in 5 sentences or less. The catch? They had to include 3 obscure words given to the table in advance. What fun we all had laughing and enjoying our creativity. The kids loved the afikomen hunt and the Rabbi was able to retrieve the afikomen and complete the Seder. Good job, kids!

Special thanks to our many volunteers without whom this would not have been possible.

Next Year in Jerusalem!

 

 

Friday Night Shabbat Services

Congregation Beth Sholom YouTube Channel: Alaska Judaism Media 

Anchorage Alaska

Join Us Every Friday

6 PM - 7 PM

Join us in person or online for Shabbat Services,
Subscribe to our YouTube Channel

 

 

A message from Rabbi Abram Goodstein

Dear Members of Congregation Beth Sholom

 

           

In the book of Leviticus there are two narratives in the whole book. The first one is famous, it’s about Aaron’s sons offering the alien fire and perishing as a result. The second story is barely known at all. It’s not an easy story, but I will tell it anyways.

 

Starting in Leviticus 24:10 it goes like this, There came out among the Israelites a person whose mother was an Israelite, but whose father was an Egyptian. A fight broke out between this half Israelite and a particular Israelite man. The half Israelite pronounced The Name, aka God in Blasphemy, and he was brought to Moses. Now his mother’s name was Shelomith daughter of Debri of the Tribe of Dan, and this half-Israelite was held in custody until Adonai decided a punishment. And Adonai made a decision, he told Moses to take the blasphemer outside of the camp, let all who heard the blaspheme place their hands upon this man and then the community leadership shall stone him to death. Then speak to the Israelites and say; “Anyone who blasphemes God shall bear guilt; and one who pronounces the name of the Eternal shall be put to death. The community leadership shall stone that person; stranger or citizen- having pronounced the Name- shall be put to death.”

 

Well, there is much to unpack here. In Judaism we have a lot of weird customs that tiptoe around the name of God and you can begin to understand why from these Torah verses. So, I’m going to start there. What’s a bit problematic is uncovering the specific way in which our half-Israelite blasphemes. It’s possible that he cursed God, which is a big no no. But from the latter part of the story, we see a hint for a different kind of blaspheme, where it states, “the one who pronounces the name of the Eternal shall be put to death.” The Hebrew for God here is Elohim, which is sort of a standard biblical name for God. This name seem fine to utter, no one gets in trouble for saying it out loud. Words like Hashem, which means the name, and Adonai, which translates to my lord, also seem fine to say. The question is what the heck did this half- Israelite say that would instantly require a capital punishment?

        

This is where I get to use one of my favorite words. Tetragrammaton. FYI my spell check did like this word. This long term references a specific name for God which in Hebrew is yod hey vav hey. For non-Hebrew speakers it’s like the Equivalent of YHVH. Though you often see it as YHWH, thanks to German Hebrew Grammar scholars. It’s not terribly pronounceable and lacks any discernable vowels. It’s often pronounced Yahweh which seems somewhat acceptable. But apparently you get in whole heaps of trouble if you say it correctly. This is God’s truest name and it has power. Even though over time we have forgotten how to say this word, apparently this half-Israelites had knowledge of it, much to his demise.

        

Now, that could be the end of it, he said the Tetragrammaton and he was summarily executed for it. However, these verses have a number of problems with it. The next one is why is the half-Israelite anonymous and yet his mother is doxxed. This is the only female name we see in all of Leviticus and it’s to call out her son for blasphemy. Ancient scholars predictably blame her for this blaspheme and treat her horribly. I’m not going to defend their commentary.  

 

Another difficult problem is that you would think that a half-Israelite might be offered some leniency because it’s possible he is not fully aware of the rules of God naming. However, those hope are quickly dashed by Adonai’ proclamation, “The community leadership shall stone that person; stranger or citizen- having pronounced the Name- shall be put to death.” Not even a stranger is offered a reprieve for uttering God’s true name.

 

There is nothing I like about this story. I don’t like how it ends, I don’t like how there seems to be tacit blame for the mom, I don’t like the commentary of these verses. So, you may be asking what am I doing even writing about it? The answer is that we can’t ignore problematic verses in our Torah. If our Torah is a living text then the whole text deserves scrutiny. I happen to believe that it takes a kind of bravery to acknowledge difficult texts. Just like it takes a kind of bravery to acknowledge difficult things that occur in our society, community, or personal lives.

 

If these verses can teach us that one can’t ignore problems, but instead attempt to understand them, then these verses are doing their job. They may not be teaching something we particularly appreciate about Israelite society, but they are teaching us how understanding often requires bravery. If these verses can teach us a little bit about bravery then these were verses well read.

 

Rabbi Abram Goodstein


Congregation Beth Sholom


Congregation Beth Sholom is a diverse and inclusive Jewish community, welcoming people of all ages, backgrounds, family structures, and worship styles.

 

   Join Us   

 

Buy a book. Give a gift.

CBS has a goal to receive 25 copies of The Torah: A Women's Commentary. Your generous gift adds modern and unique perspectives to the study of Torah at CBS. As an inclusive-inspired Congregation, CBS strives to provide literary content accessible to all. Won't you participate in this great opportunity?

Books can be purchased through the CCAR Press link below.

Mailing address for the book order:
Congregation Beth Sholom
7525 East Northern Lights Blvd
Anchorage, AK 99504

Click Here To Go To CCAR Press

Click Here to See Other Great Books For Your Home

Volunteer Opportunities

Want to make a difference?
Don't have much time?
Ready to join a committee?

This Community works because it is run by its members. Your participation expands Jewish thought, programming, education, and community throughout Alaska., and beyond?

Take a look at some of our current opportunities and if there is something you see needs doing, feel free to reach out to Rabbi Abram or Stacey Saunders, our Congregation President.

  • Library Committee
  • Food Bank
  • Social Action Committee
  • Website
  • Multimedia Committee (photography, videos, live-streaming, social media, website)
  • Gemilut Chasadim (Loving Kindness outreach committee)
  • many more opportunities; let us know your ideas and skills! There's room for everyone at every age.

Click here for more opportunities

Make a Donation



Congregation Beth Sholom operates on the goodwill of our members and the community. We welcome your generous donations.

Here are a few ways you can help.

  • Support our Shabbat Live-stream in memory or in honor of a special person or occasion, or simply to share the joy of Shabbat with the community.
  • Rabbi's Discretionary Fund
  • Jewish Education Center (JEC)
  • Scholarship Fund
  • Planned Giving

Click Here to make a donation

Services Online

Sun Mon Tues Wed Thu Fri Sat
Yom Y'rushalayim
     
    • 8:00am Midweek Morning Minyan (Zoom)
    • 10:00am Mask Making (Zoom)
     
    • 6:00pm Friday Evening Shabbat Service (YouTube Live)
    • 11:09pm Candle Lighting
    Erev Shavuot
    B'midbar
    • 12:07am Candle Lighting
    • 10:30am Shabbat Morning Text Study
    • 7:30pm Havdalah in Anchorage (Facebook)
    Shavuot
    Yizkor
    • 12:16am Havdalah
     
    • 8:00am Midweek Morning Minyan (Zoom)
    • 10:00am Mask Making (Zoom)
     
    • 6:00pm Friday Evening Shabbat Service (YouTube Live)
    • 11:21pm Candle Lighting
    Naso
    • 12:25am Havdalah
    • 10:30am Shabbat Morning Text Study
    • 7:30pm Havdalah in Anchorage (Facebook)
     
    • 8:00am Midweek Morning Minyan (Zoom)
    • 10:00am Mask Making (Zoom)
    • 7:00pm CBS Board Meetings (Call to confirm)
     
    • 6:00pm Friday Evening Shabbat Service (YouTube Live)
    • 11:27pm Candle Lighting
    B'haalot'cha
    • 12:31am Havdalah
    • 9:00am Judaism 101
    • 10:30am Shabbat Morning Text Study
    • 7:30pm Havdalah in Anchorage (Facebook)
     
    • 8:00am Midweek Morning Minyan (Zoom)
    • 10:00am Mask Making (Zoom)
     
    • 6:00pm Friday Evening Shabbat Service (YouTube Live)
    • 11:29pm Candle Lighting
    Sh'lach L'cha
    • 12:32am Havdalah
    • 10:30am Shabbat Morning Text Study
    • 7:30pm Havdalah in Anchorage (Facebook)
     
    • 6:30pm CBS's 10 Plagues vs. Clearwater Church
     
    • 8:00am Midweek Morning Minyan (Zoom)
    • 10:00am Mask Making (Zoom)
     
    • 6:00pm Friday Evening Shabbat Service (YouTube Live)
    • 11:25pm Candle Lighting
    Korach
    • 12:27am Havdalah
    • 10:30am Shabbat Morning Text Study
    • 7:30pm Havdalah in Anchorage (Facebook)

     

    Sun, June 26 2022 27 Sivan 5782