Dov Gartenberg will be the first year-around Jewish Rabbi in Juneau.
He says Dov is pronounced like the bird or the past tense of dive – and he goes by either.
“In Hebrew it’s pronounced Dov. If anyone reads the book of Exodus, it’s one of the main characters; but Dov means bear. In moving up here I’m in my natural habitat,” Gartenberg says.
Juneau’s Jewish community did not call Gartenberg to be its rabbi, though he’s been a practicing rabbi for years. Instead, he moved to Juneau because his wife has taken a position at Bartlett Regional Hospital. The congregation, which has only had temporary rabbis for special holidays, convinced Gartenberg to become the year-round spiritual leader of Temple Sukkat Shalom.
“The word ‘rabbi’ means teacher in Hebrew. A rabbi is someone who teaches Torrah. It literally means ‘instruction,’ but is the Jewish scriptural tradition – which is different than the Christian tradition,” Gartenberg explains. “We share with the Christian tradition the Bible, at least the Hebrew Bible, but we also have what we call rabbinical literature. We are interpreters of that tradition to the Jewish community and to the broader world, whether the rabbi is in Juneau or Jerusalem.”
Jewish congregations are autonomous and not part of any hierarchy. Gartenberg says he has no plans to overhaul Juneau’s Jewish community practices. The congregation has had a religious school and year-around programs for many years and acquired its own building in 2005.
“What I will do is strengthen what they already have, and bring some rabbinical leadership that they haven’t had year around,” Gartenberg says.
Temple Sukkat Shalom is located at 211 Cordova Avenue in West Douglas. It is the only synagogue in Southeast Alaska.
- Superior Court Judge Philip Pallenberg heard oral arguments in a lawsuit on the issue. He said he’ll try to reach a decision as quickly as he can.
- Walker said he has spoken several times with U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, whose vote could help determine the bill’s fate.
- State transportation crews are removing political campaign signs along state rights-of-way. Alaska law largely forbids signs anywhere visible from the roadway.
- The University of Alaska is offering up 400 acres of its Haines-area land for timber harvest. The timing of the university’s decision was motivated by a conversation happening at the local level. The Haines Planning Commission is considering whether to restrict resource extraction in the Mud Bay area.