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We would love to share these pictures on our new website, to show community support.</span>
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		                                    Online Shabbat Services Friday 6 PM		                                </span>
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		                                    Learning for all ages and interest levels		                                </span>
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		                            <span class="slider_description">Religious School will start October 25 - Jewish learning is a lifetime commitment and a journey essential for personal and spiritual development, as well as for enhancing the vibrancy of the Jewish community.</span>
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		                                    What Divines Us		                                </span>
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		                            <span class="slider_description">Pastor Matt Shultz and Rabbi Abram Goodstein discuss their favorite topic: Religion. Each month they share their religious theology and ideology and show that there is more that divines us than divides us.</span>
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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.

High Holy Days are here!

  9/29 (Thursday) @ 6:00 PM: Jewish Liturgical Music Master Class
  9/30 (Friday) @ 7:00 PM: Shabbat Shuvah
  10/1 (Saturday) @ 10:30 AM: Shabbat Morning Services 
     
  10/2 (Sunday) @ 11:00 AM: Keter Avot v'Imahot
  10/2 (Sunday) @ 10 AM-2 PM: Reverse Tashlich is at
    Valley of the Moon Park
     
  10/4 (Tuesday) @ 7:00 PM: Kol Nidre (Erev Yom Kippur)
  10/5 (Wednesday) @ 10:30 AM: Yom Kippur Morning
  10/5 (Wednesday) @ 3:00 PM: Yom Kippur Afternoon
    (followed by Break-the-Fast at around 5:30ish)
     
  10/8 (Saturday) @ 9:30 AM: Sukkot Liturgy Class
  10/9 (Sunday) @ 6:00 PM: Lulav waving in Sukkah
     
  10/17 (Monday) @ 6:00 PM: Simchat Torah

 

We also plan to live stream all services for those of us who are not able to attend.

Attendance: We do not plan on issuing tickets this year.  All members are welcome to attend.  If there are non-members who wish to attend, we ask that they reach out to us first so we can have a better idea of how many people to expect. 
 
Volunteers:  We are looking for people to help usher and Break-the-Fast.  If you are available, please reach out to us.

COVID mitigation: we urge all who are able to get vaccinated and boosted to do so.  We strongly recommend that everyone take a COVID test prior to attending any of these live events; we ask people to stay home if they have tested positive or if they are displaying any COVID-like symptoms.  As always masks are welcome and, depending on the state of the pandemic at the time of the events, they may be required.

More information will be coming over the next few weeks, but until then, please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions or suggestions.

 

 

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 and Friends of Congregation Beth Sholom, this is my Rosh Hashanah Sermon,

 

      

One of the greatest gifts that Judaism has given to the world is the innovation of Monotheism. I have always found it strange that we can innovate theological concepts. Afterall if Adonai is the ineffable creator God as Genesis suggests then it’s impossible to invent something new out of God. But humanity is quite effable and much like scientists are discovering new things in our environment, so are people discovering new things about God.

 

Even as our belief travels along the distance of time itself until it reaches the creation of our universe, it still needed to be discovered by people. And as time famously moves linearly forward there must be theological concepts out there still not discovered. Monotheism didn’t just subvert the industry of ancient theology, it opened up the field for deeper discovery.

 

In our own tradition monotheism becomes consecrated through the sacred words of the Shema. Hear O’ Israel, says Moses to the Israelites, Adonai is our God, Adonai is one.

 

This perfectly simple moment, a declaration of the singular belief of a universal higher power, is completely derailed by a translation problem. This problem occurs with the translation of the last sentence: Adonai is one. At first it seems pretty straight forward, Adonai is one, sounds like a clear-cut translation. And yet the Rabbinic and scholarly comments on this two-word sentence is endless. Aha you may be saying to yourself, after all Adonai is one, is a three-word sentence. I’ll tell you; I wish this was just a problem with my counting. Alas my counting skills, at least up to 3 are pretty good. The problem, is that Hebrew does not need an “is.” Certainly, Hebrew has a “To Be” verb, often referred to as a copula for all you grammar nerds out there, but Hebrew just doesn’t find it all that necessary. Countless Hebrew sentences can be made with nary a copula to be found and the Shema is no exception. 
 

The question that most commentators ancient and modern alike are trying to answer is; what does an “is” do to a declaration of Monotheism? Allow me to offer you an example. In the 1917 official Reform Biblical translation, AKA the Old Jewish Publication Society or the OJPS, the translation of the Shema goes like this: “Hear O Israel: The Lord our God, The Lord is one.” And I apologize for the gendered language. I’m trying to be faithful to original translation.

 

Now let’s compare that to the 1985 version called the New Jewish Publication Society Translation also referred to as the NJPS: “Hear O Israel, The Lord is our God, The Lord alone.”

Hear the difference? I’ll repeat it, Old version: The Lord our God, The Lord is one. New version: The Lord is our God, The Lord Alone.  Fascinating that in 68 years a timeless and enduring declaration changed in the Reform movement’s official translation of the Shema.

 

Now as Jews any minute change in our understanding of theology is worthy of great debate because we love to argue. Let me tell you our commentators are a rowdy bunch when it comes to the Shema. So, allow me to explain why this issue is bigger than an “is”.

 

Whether God is one or God alone it continues to be a statement supportive of Monotheism. But the problem that all the commentators are having is whether this statement acknowledges the existence of other gods. For example, Scholar and commentator of the Jewish Study Bible, Bernard Levinson, writes, “The verse makes not a quantitative argument about the number of deities but a qualitative one, about the nature of the relationship between God and Israel.” Thus Bernard Levinson is a supporter of the New translation that says, Adonai Alone.

 

Exclusive Monotheism, the kind of Monotheism that we celebrate today, is actually one of many different kinds of Monotheism. If you have ever experienced my Judaism 101 class on God, you may remember that I list quite a few different versions of Monotheisms. The Israelites who at the time of their wandering around the Sinai, were relatively new at worshipping one God. So they were not considered to be exclusive monotheists, but in fact were Monolatrists. Monolatrism is the belief of one god with the understanding that there are other gods out there, just not worthy of worship.

 

Thus Professor Bernard Levinson’s quote now might make more sense. What he is suggesting is that the Israelites weren’t declaring that only one God exists when Moses presented them with the Shema, but that there was only one God worthy of worship. Thus, to some the Shema is not that statement that says there are no other gods, but a statement that says Adonai is the God that we choose to worship.

 

Furthermore, Adonai chooses us. This is the point that Rashi brings forth, who is by the way, an Adonai alone man. Rashi, an 11th century Torah scholar, and considered the MVP of ancient commentators, states, “Adonai, who is now our God and not the God of the other nations, Adonai alone will in the future be God.” Rashi than furthers his point by quoting Zechariah 14:9 which states, “In that day there shall be one God with one name.” Rashi here suggests that the Shema is more than just about relationships but is also about exclusive access. We agree to worship just Adonai and Adonai agrees not to be the God of others nations. Which by the way is a thing, for example we know that the Edomites and possibly some Medianites were Adonai worshippers.

 

Nachmanides 13th century Torah scholar and famous critique of Rashi, unsurprisingly takes contrarian route and plants his flag as a Adonai is One man. He writes, “This is a refutation of the heretics who claim there are two divine powers.” Nachmanides sees this as a quantitative statement. The Shema is a rejection of the existence of other gods.

 

Essentially all scholars whether ancient or modern argue on whether it’s Adonai alone or Adonai is one. My point here is even a slam dunk innovation like Monotheism becomes a source of argument in our tradition. The fact that our scholars cannot agree on this means there is so much more to understand. So much more to discover. Judaism didn’t just invent Monotheism out of nowhere, but slowly, methodically, with much arguing came to Monotheism, and did not stop. Going as far as pondering how an “is” can change our understanding of theology.

 

I happen to believe that it’s our responsibility to discover new ways to think about Monotheism as we rush past modernity and enter a post Covid world. It’s our job as Jews to reflect where we find Adonai’s relevance in our lives. So, I would like to present to you my personal translation of the Shema, and it goes like this: Take head Israel that Adonai is Our God, Adonai is lonely. At face value, you may think that I am suggesting that God is lonely because not enough Jews are coming to shul. That’s a fine take away if it guilts people to come to services more often. But, I happen to believe that Covid showed us what true loneliness looks like. Isolation, Quarantining, and masking are all necessary to survive this pandemic, but the cost was great, and we continue to pay. Thus, Adonai is experiencing loneliness because we are experiencing loneliness.

 

Just like Monotheism the Shema has evolved over time. At first it was a declaration that no other gods are worthy of worship, then it became a statement consecrating our relationship with Adonai and now I believe it’s an expression of empathy. It’s ok to admit that we are lonely. Whether it is fear, social anxiety, exhaustion, or a busy schedule driving this loneliness.

 

I may be a bit biased here, but I happen to be believe faith communities, like Judaism, is the salve to sooths loneliness’s wounds.  I believe that relationships are the sacred connections that make up a community. While these connections were damaged during Covid, Judaism offers the fastest and healthiest ways to reconnect. In this, I believe is our next understanding of Monotheism. It started from believing in one God out of many and has culminating into believing in the bonds that connect our community as a community of faith. This is a lesson we learned from Covid.

 

Covid changed us. It changed our relationship with technology. It changed our relationship with information. It changed our relationship with each other. It changed our relationship within ourselves. Many of these changes were not positive. Most changes are mourned. For those of us seeking meaning from these changes, I’m glad that you are here worshipping with our community. Because Monotheism isn’t just an individual’s relationship with Adonai, it’s a community’s relationship with each other. It’s place where we can feel safe to take a chance at mending those lonely feelings. It’s a home to heal from our fears, our insecurities, and our anger. It’s a house of mourning that helps us grieve what we have lost from Covid.

 

The pandemic changed my theology, The pandemic changed the way I experience monotheism. It changed the way I look at the Shema. While that change is hard, it’s not necessarily bad. Especially when I have so many people here to support each other among these changes. So, as we move further into a post covid world. I encourage you to come here, participate in our events, volunteer for this community, and help yourself and support others as we learn together what our world looks like in a post Covid. Thank you.

 

 

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
Erev Rosh HaShanah
  • 7:34pm Candle Lighting
Rosh HaShanah
Tashlich
  • 8:28pm Candle Lighting
Rosh HaShanah
  • 8:33pm Havdalah
Fast of Gedalia
  • 8:30am Midweek Morning Minyan (Zoom)
 
  • 7:00pm Evening Shabbat Shuvah Service (YouTube Live)
  • 7:18pm Candle Lighting
Vayeilech
  • 10:30am Morning Shabbat Shuvah Service (YouTube Live)
  • 7:30pm Havdalah in Anchorage (Facebook)
  • 8:20pm Havdalah
Kol Nidre
  • 7:06pm Candle Lighting
Yom Kippur
Yizkor
  • 8:30am Midweek Morning Minyan (Zoom)
  • 8:08pm Havdalah
 
  • 6:00pm Friday Evening Shabbat Service (YouTube Live)
  • 6:56pm Candle Lighting
Haazinu
  • 10:30am Shabbat Morning Text Study
  • 7:30pm Havdalah in Anchorage (Facebook)
  • 7:59pm Havdalah
Erev Sukkot
  • 6:50pm Candle Lighting
Sukkot
  • 7:52pm Havdalah
Chol HaMo-eid Sukkot
    Chol HaMo-eid Sukkot
    • 8:30am Midweek Morning Minyan (Zoom)
    Chol HaMo-eid Sukkot
      Chol HaMo-eid Sukkot
      • 6:00pm Friday Evening Shabbat Service (YouTube Live)
      • 6:35pm Candle Lighting
      Chol HaMo-eid Sukkot
      • 9:00am Judaism 101
      • 10:30am Shabbat Morning Text Study
      • 7:30pm Havdalah in Anchorage (Facebook)
      • 7:37pm Havdalah
      Hoshana Rabbah
      • 6:29pm Candle Lighting
      Simchat Torah and Sh'mini Atzeret
      Yizkor
      • 7:31pm Havdalah
       
      • 8:30am Midweek Morning Minyan (Zoom)
      • 7:00pm CBS Board Meetings (Call to confirm)
       
      • 6:00pm Friday Evening Shabbat Service (YouTube Live)
      • 6:14pm Candle Lighting
      B'reishit
      • 10:30am Shabbat Morning Text Study
      • 12:00pm Religious School for adults
      • 7:16pm Havdalah
      • 7:30pm Havdalah in Anchorage (Facebook)
       
      • 8:30am Midweek Morning Minyan (Zoom)
       
      • 5:53pm Candle Lighting
      • 6:00pm Friday Evening Shabbat Service (YouTube Live)
      Noach
      • 10:30am Shabbat Morning Text Study
      • 6:56pm Havdalah
      • 7:30pm Havdalah in Anchorage (Facebook)
       
      • 8:30am Midweek Morning Minyan (Zoom)
       
      • 5:34pm Candle Lighting
      • 6:00pm Friday Evening Shabbat Service (YouTube Live)
      Lech L'cha
      • 10:30am Shabbat Morning Text Study
      • 6:36pm Havdalah
      • 7:30pm Havdalah in Anchorage (Facebook)

       

      Fri, October 7 2022 12 Tishrei 5783