Jews in Alaska: Saving the stories

Letters from the Alaska Jewish Museum
A display of letters from the Alaska Jewish Museum.

Hometown Alaska‘s next program is on the second day of Hannakuh, running from Dec. 2-10. This seemed a great opportunity to invite creators of the Alaska Jewish Museum onto the show to offer the history of the museum and how it began in Anchorage, as well as to share historical and contemporary stories of Jewish life.

The museum evolves with different exhibits. We’ll talk about what the museum has hosted in the past, and the current exhibit, “A Refuge in the Last Frontier: Evolution of the Alaska Development Plan.”

The exhibit offers this context:

On the eve of World War II, Alaska became a beacon of hope for Jews still trapped inside the Third Reich. Attempts were made by the American government during the 1930’s and 40’s to put into place an immigration policy that would have allowed Jews trying to escape Nazi Germany to settle in Alaska. The failure of the Alaska Development Plan was merely a reflection of the climate in the United States at the time; the nation’s response to the refugee crisis was conflicted.

“It is a fantastic commentary on the inhumanity of our times that for thousands and thousands of people a piece of paper with a stamp on it is the difference between life and death.” Dorothy Thompson, American journalist (1938)

Consulting curator Leslie Fried also has a passion for collecting contemporary stories of newly arrived Jews in Alaska. She sees parallels in their drive to come North with those who came before them. We’ll hear more about her ongoing oral history project.

Your questions and comments are always welcome during the show. Join us!

HOSTKathleen McCoy


In the studio:

  • Rabbi Yoseph Greenberg, Lubavitch Jewish Center of Alaska
  • Gordon Glaser, board member Alaska Jewish Museum

On the phone:

  • Leslie Fried, consulting curator Alaska Jewish Museum



  • Call 550-8433 (Anchorage) or 1-888-353-5752 (statewide) during the live broadcast (2:00 – 3:00pm)
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  • LIVE: Monday, December 3, 2018 at 2:00 p.m.
  • REPEAT: Monday, December 3, 2018 at 8:00 p.m.