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Congregation Or Ha Tzafon (Reform), P.O. Box 74863 Fairbanks, Alaska 99707. Located at 1744 Aurora Drive, Fairbanks, Alaska. (907) 479-2165. History. [February 2002]

A small Jewish community formed in Fairbanks in 1904 just two years after significant gold was found there. Pioneering Jewish merchants organized the Congregation Bikkur Cholim in 1908 with intermittent services at members' homes. Lithuanian Jew Robert Bloom, one of the congregation founders, had arrived in the Klondike in 1898 and served as one of the Yukon's first lay rabbis for nearly half a century. Peddling goods on his back and later from a general store until 1941, he became chairman of Alaska's Jewish Welfare Board, instrumental in the establishment of an Air Force base in Alaska, a founder of the University of Alaska (1918) and a charter member of its Board of Regents. His wife, Jessie Spiro Bloom of Dublin, for whom the Fairbanks Girl Scout Training Center is named, established the Fairbanks kindergarten and the first Alaskan Girl Scout chapter (1925). The Blooms co-founded the Fairbanks Airplane Company, were active in Alaskan conservation efforts and the establishment of wilderness preserves in Alaska, and served as unofficial chaplains for Jewish servicemen stationed in Alaska during WWII. Fairbanks' courthouse is named for Jay A. Rabinowitz, Superior Court Judge in 1960, appointed to the state Supreme Court in 1965, serving for 32 years, four terms as Alaska's Chief Justice. The First Jewish Congregation of Fairbanks was established in 1980 to serve some 300 Jews in the city with worship services and a religious school at the Fort Wainwright Army Post Chapel. Renamed Or HaTzafon (Light of the North) in 1992, the congregation acquired property for a first synagogue and affiliated with the Reform movement." Source. [August 2005]

  • Jewish Cemetery: Clay Street & Third Avenue, Fairbanks, founded 1906. information about this cemetery. [October 2000]
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