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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.

 

 

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:

 

If you ever come to one of my Shabbat Time Machine services, you will see a teaching moment I offer every Sunday. I have this calendar out, the one you see next to me, and I ask the children of our Religious school, what Jewish month is it. I do this for a lot of reasons, I want our Jewish youngsters to understand that us Jews demarcate time differently. That the Jewish schedule is not the same as their daily schedules. That when they come to the synagogue, they are now experiencing Jewish time. I also want them to understand, that the months they experience at home and school are not the only way to experience a calendar year. And that the moon plays a huge role in the Jewish calendar much like the sun plays a huge role in their daily calendar. It’s a big deal to me if our Jewish youngsters understand even a little of our Jewish calendar.

         Anyways, I bring this up because nestled in the epic tale of our exodus story is an unassuming verse that goes like this, “This month is unto you the beginning months; it is to you the first months of the year.” This passage goes on to describe how the Israelites need to prepare for the angel of death on particular days of this first month. This verse is the introduction of what will become the complex Jewish calendar system. But, it’s not complex yet, in fact at this very moment it would seem that these ancient Israelite worshipers know nothing of the Jewish calendar. And to be frank the Torah doesn’t give us that much information.

         Here’s what we do know. This first month, is later referred to as Aviv. But of the 12 to 13 assumed months that existed for the ancient Israelites we only have names for four of them, Aviv for the first month, Zev for the second month, Ethanim for the seventh month, and Bul for the eighth month. If you know the names of the Jewish months and you don’t recognize these names, that’s because we don’t use these names for our Jewish calendar.

         I believe it was Picasso who said, “good artists borrow, and great artists steal.” That’s exactly what happened to our calendar. We stole our calendar from the Babylonians. Though I don’t think it’s so strange that our tradition chose to ignore the incomplete Hebrew calendar in exchange for a complete Babylonian calendar. What blows my mind, is that Babylon is ancient civilization with limited modern influence and yet its calendar is perfectly preserved and used to this day, thanks to Judaism. You’re welcome Babylon! We wish you hadn’t destroyed our Temple.

         Anyways another thing that we know is that the oldest document that mentions the Jewish calendar is called the Passover Papyrus discovered in Elephantine, Egypt. It’s dated to 419 BCE which places it roughly a hundred years after the start of the Second Temple Period. Which of course makes sense because this is after the Babylonian Exile. However, Judaism being the contrarian religion that is, has a big argument over whether Ancient Israelites were using a Solar or Lunar Calendar.

         It turns out our Torah is not terribly specific concerning the type of celestial bodies the calendar was based off. We assume that since the Babylonians used a lunar calendar, so did the Ancient Israelites. But that assumption could be wrong. In the book of Jubilees, which is not canonized, but part of a Jewish work called the pseudepigrapha, it’s an aggressively pro solar calendar book. Even criticizing the lunar calendar for being short by 11 days each year. Another example is the community who authored the Dead Sea Scrolls, often referred to as the community of Qumran, (or the Essenes depending on how much you like to argue) also did not follow a lunar calendar. But they didn’t follow a solar calendar as well. Their holidays fell on a 364 day schematic calendar. That community at Qumran sure did things their own way.

         Anyways long story short, Judaism has a sophisticated and modern calendar. One that works surprisingly well for being based from the moon. It’s able to be lunar while continuing to have holidays in their appropriate season, this was done by adding a leap month seven times over the course of a 19 year cycle, called Adar II. Who knows what Adonai was picturing, when God offered the first semblance of a Calendar to the Ancient Israelites. But developing our own calendar has been a journey all in itself.

 

 

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.

Read More...


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)
  • 6:14pm Candle Lighting
T'tzaveh
  • 10:30am Shabbat Morning Text Study
  • 7:22pm Havdalah
  • 7:30pm Havdalah in Anchorage (Facebook)
Taanit Esther
Erev Purim
    Shushan Purim
    • 8:30am Midweek Morning Minyan (Zoom)
     
    • 6:00pm Friday Evening Shabbat Service (YouTube Live)
    • 6:33pm Candle Lighting
    Ki Tisa
    • 10:30am Shabbat Morning Text Study
    • 7:30pm Havdalah in Anchorage (Facebook)
    • 7:41pm Havdalah
     
    • 8:30am Midweek Morning Minyan (Zoom)
    • 7:00pm CBS Board Meetings (Call to confirm)
     
    • 6:00pm Friday Evening Shabbat Service (YouTube Live)
    • 7:51pm Candle Lighting
    Vayak'heil-P'kudei
    • 9:00am Judaism 101
    • 10:30am Shabbat Morning Text Study
    • 7:30pm Havdalah in Anchorage (Facebook)
    • 8:59pm Havdalah
     
    • 8:30am Midweek Morning Minyan (Zoom)
     
    • 6:00pm Friday Evening Shabbat Service (YouTube Live)
    • 8:09pm Candle Lighting
    Vayikra
    • 10:30am Shabbat Morning Text Study
    • 12:30pm Religious School for adults
    • 7:30pm Havdalah in Anchorage (Facebook)
    • 9:17pm Havdalah
     
    • 5:00pm Northern Lights
     
    • 8:30am Midweek Morning Minyan (Zoom)
     
    • 6:00pm Friday Evening Shabbat Service (YouTube Live)
    • 8:27pm Candle Lighting
    Tzav
    • 10:30am Shabbat Morning Text Study
    • 7:30pm Havdalah in Anchorage (Facebook)
    • 9:35pm Havdalah

     

    Wed, March 29 2023 7 Nisan 5783