WARM UP ALASKA… WARM UP THE WORLD!
Did You Know?
If New York City had the same population density as Alaska, only 16 people would be living in Manhattan? Alaska is as big as England, France, Italy and Spain combined and you could fit Texas into Alaska two times. The Jewish population is very spread out with the majority living in Anchorage, Alaska’s largest city.
Why did the Lubavitcher Rebbe send Shluchim (emmisaries) to Alaska, The Last Frontier? He could have sent many more emissaries to teach and inspire the numerous Jews in more densely populated areas, like Manhattan?
During my visit to Anchorage last week, Rabbi Yosef Greenberg explained to me that the Rebbe sent emissaries to small remote communities because he didn’t want any Jew to feel alone. He sent people to search for the lone Jew because just like the body is incomplete without every part, our nation is incomplete without every Jew.
Once a Rabbinical student was sent on a mission to find Jews in remote cities in Alaska. As he was about to give up, he found a lone Jewish girl and her mother in a public school on the Aluetian Islands. The little girl turned to her mother and said, “Mom, I thought we were the only Jews in the world!?!”
The student left her with words that warmed her heart and soul. He told her that she can be the last girl on earth to light shabbos candles and complete the candle lighting circle unifying Jewish girls. She began to light Shabbat candles every friday night and illuminate the long dark winter in Alaska!
Did You Know?
During the freezing cold winter months from November through January, there are cities like Barrow that don’t see any sunshine? Anchorage has a magnificent Chabad House and Museum and gets about five hours of daylight in the winter.
Rabbi Greenberg recalled that when he and his wife Esty prepared to move to Alaska 22 years ago, the Lubavitcher Rebbe told them that they should “Warm up Alaska.”
During my stay, I met Debbie Grashin, the granddaughter of David Green o’bm, a true pioneer, who immigrated alone to Alaska in 1922 and opened a fur business. I visited their historical fur store in downtown Anchorage. Debbie was the first Jewish baby born in the State of Alaska.
At the Bar Mitzvah for Jacob Conrad, David Grashin explained that Noach was compared to someone who puts on a fur coat when it is cold. “It’s not a bad thing”, he joked, “but we can be like Avraham and bring warmth and light to the whole world, not just to ourselves”. “Make it warm for all”, was the Rebbe’s directive.
Did You Know?
Alaska’s diverse Native peoples comprise approximately 16% of the State’s population.
During my trip, Debbie brought me to the Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) Annual Convention. I chatted with many Natives, who were selling their art work and I learned about their mission to preserve their traditional culture, language and food. The elders told me about their effort to pass on their knowledge of Native art forms (such as weaving, carving, kayak building, dancing) and the celebrations of their Native heritage to the younger generation. I thought about this important lesson for all of us.
We are all “Keepers of our Torah – our greatest Treasure”. Let us resolve to embrace G-d’s precious treasure and sustain our rich heritage in a world, so spiritually dark and very cold, just like ALASKA!!
Let Us Ask Ourselves Each Day:
1. What am I doing to warm up my corner of the world with the light of Judaism?
2. Am I too focused on my own achievement? How am I making it warm for others?
3. Do I look around and reach out with love to another Jew who may feel alone?
4. What action am I taking today to pass on our rich Jewish heritage to the next generation?
At Jewish Girls Unite, we are passing on our rich heritage to future generations of Jewish mothers. We are growing a warm community of Jewish girls from all backgrounds who are spreading light across the globe, from Alaska to Australia!
We want every Jewish girl to know: YOU are not alone! YOU are part of the army of light that will warm up and illuminate our spiritually dark and cold world FOREVER!
WOMEN & GIRLS – LET’S TAKE ACTION TODAY:
- Light a candle on Friday night and pray for peace in Israel!
- Girls: Sign Up for a JGU Online Class for Beyond Bat Mitzvah and/or Mirror Reflections for Teens HERE
- Volunteer to share your wisdom with our girls on our Website or in our Live Classroom!
- Register for the JEWISH GIRLS UNITE WINTER RETREAT
Nechama Laber & the JGU TEAM
P.S. THANK YOU to Michelle Conrad, Rabbi Yosef & Esty Greenberg and Debbie & David Grashin for your warm hospitality!
P.P.S. Sign up at www.jewishgirlsunite.com!