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Alaska Jewish museum to be built

A museum dedicated to the history of the Jews of Alaska will be built. The announcement was made this month at a reception in Anchorage.Chicago philanthropist Rabbi Morris Esformes will fund the bulk of the project, which will include the Alaska Jewish Historical Museum and Community Center, and a separate facility to house the Lubavitch Center of Alaska as well as its synagogue, preschool and a future day school.The museum will chronicle the story of Jews in Alaska from the Gold Rush days of the mid-19th century, to their role in the purchase of Alaska from Russia, to the little-known story of Alaskan Jewry’s connection to Operation “Magic Carpet,” which airlifted 40,000 Yemenite Jews to the new state of Israel in 1948.Plans for the museum began in 2004. In addition to local fund raising, which has raised $250,000 a year for the past three years, the state of Alaska has approved a grant of $850,000. No completion date has yet been announced.