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		                                    Our Community in Masks		                                </span>
		                            <span class="slider_description">I keep you safe and you keep me safe. <3 We are looking for pictures from our CBS community wearing masks while lighting Shabbat candles or Havdalah. 

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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Join us LIVE for streaming of Shabbat services. We will be using YouTube LIVE.</span>
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		                                    Learning for all ages and interest levels		                                </span>
		                            <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>
		                            <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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		                            	Podcast		                            </a>

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.



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:


When the Temple was loss for the first time, the Israelites had a choice. They could assimilate and embrace the Babylonian culture and religion. This what is believed happen to the 10 tribes that the Assyrians conquered earlier. These 10 tribes were forced to migrate into new lands and their identity as Israelites and as Adonai worshipers did not survive the migration. Perhaps the prominence of our Exodus narrative is a result of the remaining Israelites witnessing first-hand the loss of identity from wandering.


Anyways the Israelites had a choice, they could give up their identity or transport it. The loss of the Temple was a significant blow to the Israelite religion, but it was also an opportunity. It is believed that the book of Leviticus, is a direct result of priests who were forced to move away from their place work and worship and used their unemployment to write down their standard operating procedures.


In order to retain their identity these priests innovated their religion into the beginning of what one day would become Modern Judaism. I firmly believe that Modern Judaism only exists because priests figured out how to keep Judaism alive while in Babylon. Thus came one innovation after another that established what would one day become the foundation for Religion in the Western Civilization.


One of these innovations is rethinking what can be holy. Up until the moment the Babylonians destroyed the Temple, holiness was a cathedral of space. Yet these priests discovered that holiness can also be a cathedral of time. Ironically while these priests were obsessing over the specific ways they worship and sacrifice at the Temple, their innovation of celebrating Shabbat is their enduring legacy. However, this idea of pinning sacredness with time instead of space has some unique problems.


When Moses discovers the burning bush, a moment popularized by the Motion Picture the Prince of Egypt, but you can also find it in the book of Exodus, God asks Moses to take off his shoes because it is a holy place. So right here we have a simple ritual to acknowledge the difference from the profane to the holy. God is telling Moses, you can where shoes wherever you want in profane spaces, but as soon as you encounter a holy space shoes gotta come off. Maybe the feeling of the cave on Mose’s bare feet helped him feel like the space was sacred. Or the act of taking off his shoes was pivotal for that sacred experience. Either way sacred space is surrounded with ritual. What Israelites in exile needed to figure out was how to surround sacred time with ritual.


And us Modern Jews can attest that we have become fabulously successful at this. I would argue that our entire Friday night service is ritualizing the entrance of the sacred time of Shabbat, but what specifically ritualized it, is the clever use of candle lighting.  We light Shabbat candles to mark the beginning of Shabbat and we light Havdalah candles to mark its end.  Our sacred time is surrounded by lit candles.


And it’s the Havdalah ritual that I find quite fascinating. The word itself Havdalah has transformed over the past few millennia or so. This word makes its entrance into our lexicon almost right away. In Genesis 1 God separates the light from the darkness. The word separates use the same cognate as Havdalah. From this passage we can easily draw a conclusion that Havdalah could be referencing this very moment where God separates the light from dark or with the candle lighting moving time from sacredness to profane. But weirdly this understanding of Havdalah’s meaning “to separate” is a later interpretation of this word. In earlier texts, texts that existed before the Israelites were forced to move to Babylon, the word Havdalah meant to select or appoint. So for example in Deuteronomy 19:2 it states, “You shall select three cities in the land that Adonai your God is giving you to possess.”


It's the same word, Havdalah, but used in its older context. What’s funny is that translators who very much know the Havdalah ritual struggle to translate the word as select. JPS the Reform translation translates it as “set aside three cities,” while the Artscroll which is an orthodox translation, translates it as “Separate three cities for yourselves.” The ritual developed to surround our sacred space has grown so profound that it’s developed its own translational gravity. Modern translator struggle to see this word as anything but separate.


Here we have a word that represents the struggle of innovation. Innovation doesn’t just mean moving on to better things, innovation also means change, and change is always difficult, no matter how positive it is. The legacy of Judaism between the loss of our first temple to celebrating Judaism in Alaska is chock full of innovation and at the same time rife with change. While many of us role our eyes at the mundane descriptions of sacrifice after sacrifice in the book of Leviticus, the act of writing it changed Judaism much like the act of celebrating Havdalah changed the meaning of the word. Judaism is a religion of innovation, and no place is more evident of that than a place like Alaska. Literally every innovation from the Levitical priests to the Moses Mendelsohn, the grandfather to the Reform Movement, all made it possible for Jews to celebrate Judaism in a place like Alaska. So next time you read a boring description of a very antiquated and specific type of sacrifice in Leviticus, I hope you also remember that these priests are the reason we are able to read these descriptions in the first place.



Rabbi Abram Goodstein

New Year Message from the President of the Board, Stacey Saunders

Shana Tova!

I’m Stacey Saunders, President of Congregation Beth Sholom’s Board of Trustees.

I am happy and grateful to see so many of you in person after the past two years. I am also so happy to welcome those of you joining on our Livestream broadcast.

Since the COVID 19 pandemic, we often hear that we are living in the “new normal.” I believe that our sense of “normal” has always been evolving and changing. The pandemic accelerated changes that were already taking place.

We were already relying on technology for communication, work and school. With COVID 19 more of us learned to use videoconferencing and streaming services. For those of us who worked from home offices, what was once considered a luxury or perk became a necessity. Then even with the ability to return to workplaces, we began to reconsider what efficiency and productivity look like.

Does it only happen in an office away from home or can we get more done at our dining tables without a commute and with a refrigerator with lunch a few feet away? And with the required periods of physical separation we found ways to stay in touch in “Bubbles”, with masks, doing the 6-feet apart tango.

It was all painful, strained, but thought-provoking. For many, it caused us to reflect on what is important to us.


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
  • 8:30am Midweek Morning Minyan (Zoom)
  • 6:00pm Friday Evening Shabbat Service (YouTube Live)
  • 11:08pm Candle Lighting
  • 12:13am Havdalah
  • 10:30am Shabbat Morning Text Study
  • 12:30pm Religious School for adults
  • 7:30pm Havdalah in Anchorage (Facebook)
  • 8:30am Midweek Morning Minyan (Zoom)
  • 6:00pm Friday Evening Shabbat Service (YouTube Live)
  • 11:19pm Candle Lighting
  • 12:24am Havdalah
  • 10:30am Shabbat Morning Text Study
  • 7:30pm Havdalah in Anchorage (Facebook)
  • 8:30am Midweek Morning Minyan (Zoom)
  • 6:00pm Friday Evening Shabbat Service (YouTube Live)
  • 11:27pm Candle Lighting
Sh'lach L'cha
  • 12:30am Havdalah
  • 9:00am Judaism 101
  • 10:30am Shabbat Morning Text Study
  • 7:30pm Havdalah in Anchorage (Facebook)
  • 8:30am Midweek Morning Minyan (Zoom)
  • 7:00pm CBS Board Meetings (Call to confirm)
  • 6:00pm Friday Evening Shabbat Service (YouTube Live)
  • 11:29pm Candle Lighting
  • 12:32am Havdalah
  • 10:30am Shabbat Morning Text Study
  • 7:30pm Havdalah in Anchorage (Facebook)
  • 8:30am Midweek Morning Minyan (Zoom)
  • 6:00pm Friday Evening Shabbat Service (YouTube Live)
  • 11:26pm Candle Lighting
  • 12:28am Havdalah
  • 10:30am Shabbat Morning Text Study
  • 7:30pm Havdalah in Anchorage (Facebook)


Fri, June 9 2023 20 Sivan 5783