Irish Jew, Synagogue Founder, Gold Seeker, Recalls Pioneer Days

Blum is an Irish Jew who still speaks with a trace of a brogue. Thirty-five years ago he came to Seattle as a young man following the trail of gold in Alaska. Recently Blum, one of Fairbanks’ leading citizens and known to sourdoughs everywhere, was again in Seattle on his first visit “outside” in twenty-two years. He stayed but a short time and left for Alaska shortly.

And during his visit here he recalled how in 1898, when Seattle was a little more than a pioneer trading post, “you almost had to use force to get a minyon, ten men, to say the Sabbath prayers, there were so few Jews here.”

Pioneer in the Northwest country, Mr. Blum took an active part in founding the Bikur Cholum Synagogue, Seattle’s oldest Orthodox congregation. The lure of gold in the Klondike fields soon drew him to Alaska, however, where he settled. He was one of the founders of the town of Fairbanks, where he now lives.

Mr. Blum left Fairbanks November 10 to visit his wife and four daughters in Dublin, Ireland, Mr. Blum’s home. They have been living in Dublin for the past five years, Mr. Blum explained, so that two daughters can attend Wellesley School there. Two other daughters are receiving their education at Trinity College.

Following his visit with his family in the city of his birth, Mr. Blum journeyed to South Africa to visit two brothers and his mother. In Seattle, he was the house guest of the Buttnick family, Seattle Jewish pioneers.

NEXT STORY