500 Join Chabad in Auction for Alaska's Jewish Museum

500 Join Chabad in Auction for Alaska's Jewish Museum

Author Michael Chabon speaks to Alaska's Jewish community.

by Staff Writer - Anchorage, AK

November 29, 2007

What's the Alaska-Jewish connection? Author Michael Chabon found one, and Chabad of Alaska found enough to make it worthy of a Jewish museum.

A gala auction last week honored Alaskan mariner Jack Johnson, who served as second mate with the historic ship, Exodus, in 1947. Johnson was among other notables who came to the fundraiser for the State's first Jewish Museum, founded by the state's Chabad representatives.

The Jewish Museum is being developed as part of the new Esformes Campus in Alaska which also includes the Lubavitch Center, Synagogue and Jewish school. This project is generously supported by Chicago Philanthropist Rabbi Morris Esformes who took a special interest in Alaska’s Jewry after his visit to the last frontier this past summer.

Rabbi and Mrs. Greenberg, the Jewish Museum’s founders, say that the Jewish Museum is being well received and has already brought people together from not only the State of Alaska but also from around the world.

Last summer, the museum held a reception for celebrated novelist Michael Chabon in honor of the release of his new book, The Yiddish Policemen's Union, a fictional story of a Chasidic group that immigrated to Alaska along with millions of Jews from Europe after the Holocaust.  The book, which became a best seller, is based on an idea discussed in the U.S. Congress during the Holocaust to try and save European Jews by bringing them to Alaska.

Speaker of the House Representative John Harris who also served as the honorary Chairperson for the auction, was at the auction, as were Mayor Mark Begich, and several other Senators, State Representatives and dignitaries.

A delegation representing Governor Roman Abramowitz of Chokotka, Russia (which is close to Alaska) also attended.  Governor Abramowitz, owner of the Chelsea football team in England, donated VIP tickets to the game which created a bidding frenzy during the live auction. 

Rick Mystrom, Anchorage’s former Mayor and the evening’s auctioneer, along with Liz Ashlock the auction’s Chairperson, and David and Shani Green co-Chairs were instrumental in the auction's success.

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