Skip To Content

8 Facts About Jewish Alaska

1. As of 2012, Alaska is home to just over 6,000 Jews.

2. Four mountain peaks in Alaska are named after Jews, including Mount Ripinsky for Solomon Ripinsky, a former mayor of Haines, Alaska, and Mount Neuberger for former Oregon Senator Richard Neuberger, who supported Alaskan statehood.

3. The largest Jewish congregation in Alaska, Congregation Beth Sholom in Anchorage, calls Alaskan Jews the “frozen chosen.” (Its website is )

4. Western lawman and sheriff Wyatt Earp and his Jewish wife Josie ran a saloon in Nome.

5. Russian-born Jew Abe Spring was the first mayor of Fairbanks. In 1906, during a period of Russian pogroms, he proposed housing persecuted Russian Jews in Alaska. The plan was rejected by congress.

6. In 2011, Sarah Palin called former Alaskan member of the House of Representatives Jay Ramras “Jay Bird-Nose Ramras” in an email.

7. Marty Beckerman, who has written popular comedic books such as “Dumbocracy” and published his first book at 16, grew up in Anchorage.

8. Ernest Gruening, who served as governor of the Alaskan territory from 1939 to 1953, became one of Alaska’s first official senators when the territory was turned into a state in 1959.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.