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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.

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 Number it would seem that the Torah narrates a story in which Moses gets married. Now this comes as a bit of a surprise since Moses is already married. If you have ever seen the movie the Prince of Egypt, you would know that his wife Zipporah is a super cool lady. She is a Medianite and she gets things done. Furthermore, her father Jethro is a Medianite Priest who acts as a mentor for Moses. And is a great singer in the Prince of Egypt. I cannot wait for my son to be old enough to watch that movie.

        

Anyways back to the second marriage. So, the text in the book of Numbers seems to indicate that Moses marries a woman from a place called Cush. The narrator does not give her name nor any kind of useful information except that she is a Cushite woman. Now personally I find this alarming for two reasons. The first is that I am a big fan of Zipporah and her father. And I feel Moses’s second marriage really diminishes his first marriage. The second reason is that culturally I find polygamy to be a bit of an antiquated notion. Thinking about it makes me purse my lips.  Anything lip pursing feels inappropriate. So, I don’t like this.

        

But more importantly Aaron and Miriam don’t like it either.  They are both quite alarmed by this development. It would seem this marriage is just as a surprise to them as it is to us readers. Now personally I believe they should be allowed to disapprove, Judaism is often considered a religion of democracy, but more importantly Judaism is famous for all of its arguing. This should be an argument, Miriam and Aaron should feel enabled to voice their opinion as they do, but Moses should be able to receive this feedback and offer some cogent arguments in return. This part does not happen.

        

Instead, the text says this, “Now God’s envoy AKA Moses was so very humble, He was more humble than any other person on earth.” This strikes me as a strange quote. Do humble people go around bragging about how humble they are? It’s a lip pursing quote. It doesn’t feel quite right. As soon as being humble becomes a competition I think the point of being humble is defeated. Anyways this is how the text goes. Moses doesn’t get to say a word. Instead, God comes out of nowhere, by the way God was not part of this conversation, but I guess it’s every Jewish person’s prerogative to butt into a personal conversation, and with God all the more so. So, God goes and tells off Aaron and Miriam. God explains that Adonai has a special relationship with Moses, where Adonai literally has conversations with Moses while with other prophets Adonai comes to them as a dream. Then God asks why Aaron and Miriam isn’t treating Moses with more deference when Moses has such a special relationship with Adonai.

        

Now here is what I do like. It’s always great to support your friends. God saw Moses was in a tight spot and God speaks up for God’s good buddy. What I don’t like is the power differential at this moment. Adonai has cosmic power and has been known to display some pretty intense miracles. There is no argument that one can win against such a force. In fact, Pharoah the ruler of Egypt, famously lost an argument with Adonai.

        

And unfortunately, the moment gets more difficult. Because when Adonai leaves, God quite dramatically punishes Miriam with a scaly white skin disease. While at the same time choosing not to punish Aaron. Moses and Aaron to their benefit are horrified by Miriam’s predicament and, in what is considered the shortest prayer in the Tanakh, Moses asks God to heal her. God refuses at first but says that God will heal Miriam in seven days. And in solidarity the entire Israelite camp decides to wait the seven days before moving on.

        

This story escalates so quickly that pretty soon we all forget that the original problem was that Moses married a Cushite Woman. So, I want to focus a moment on that before I unpack the rest of the story. This would be Moses second non-Israelite wife. Which perhaps is the reason why Miriam and Aaron were so upset. Why isn’t Moses choosing an Israelite woman? Which makes Adonai’s intervention even more confusing. Adonai just put a lot of work into assuring the survival of the Israelite people but supports their leader marrying two women who are not Israelites. So, it must have been doubling surprising to receive such an intense scolding from Adonai with such an unfair punishment.

        

It’s easy to think of God as something with the three omnis. Omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent. In other words, all powerful, all knowing, and all good. Yet we see passages in our text where this doesn’t seem so to be true. What do we do during these moments? This is where our tools compared to ancient Rabbi’s tools differ. Ancient Rabbinic commentators are attempting work within the three omnis. For them God can’t make mistakes because God is absolute in all of God’s intentions. That God understands things us humans can’t even fathom. Thus, us humans can only barely attempt to understand God’s intentions.

        

And throughout the centuries rabbis and scholars have poked holes into this perspective. But nothing poked a hole into the three omnis as much as the Holocaust. After the Holocaust our theologies needed to change.  We needed new tools to understand Adonai. Because no power in the universe that was all powerful, all knowing, and all good would let the Holocaust happen. So, with our new tools, we can look back at Torah passages and make new discoveries. For example, the God that I see in this passage, is a God still trying to understand God’s own emotions.

        

God chose Moses as God’s envoy, and God does not like God’s choice to be criticized. Especially when the criticism seems so valid. It would seem that God interprets Aarons and Miriam’s argument against Moses marrying the Cushite woman as a critique towards God’s choice of Moses. And so instead of letting Moses defend himself, God butts into the conversation. Then God undermines God’s own argument by punishing Miriam unfairly. An act that Moses, Aaron, and the Israelites all disagree with.

        

If I may be so bold, it would seem that God has feelings. That God feelings were hurt and that God acted out due to God’s hurt feelings. I see this all the time. In both children and grown-ups. Our feelings are powerful and can drive us to make unfair choices. It would seem that God struggles with them as much as we do. For me this comes as a relief. For me, this is a lesson that no one is perfect at managing their feelings. We spend much of the Torah watching as God attempts to get better at managing God’s feelings. While I’m disappointed that Adonai’s feelings often drives Adonai to be cruel. I am also inspired that Adonai attempts to get better at managing them. This is my take away of this event. That God tries and fails sometimes. Just as we humans try and fail sometimes at managing our own feelings. And at the end of the day, we still have no idea why Moses marries a Cushite woman. But I’m sure Moses had his reasons, and I wish we could have heard them.

 

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)

     

    Wed, June 29 2022 30 Sivan 5782