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New Year Greeting

New Year Greeting

Attributed to Happy Jack (born Angokwazhuk) (Inupiaq, b. Alaska, c. 1870-1918)
Nome, Alaska, United States, 1910
  • Walrus tusk: engraved; gold inset
  • Height: 10 in. (25.4 cm) Diameter: 1 in. (2.5 cm)
  • The Jewish Museum, New York
  • Gift of the Kanofsky Family in memory of Minnie Kanofsky, 1984-71
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JEWISH IMMIGRANTS IN ALASKA

For 350 years, Jewish immigrants have brought to America their talent and drive to succeed, displaying entrepreneurship, patriotism, and often a great spirit of adventure. New opportunities combined with few restrictions allowed Jews to participate actively in the economic life of the United States. Because of their willingness to settle in less desirable areas, Jews also played an important role in the western migration.

It is believed that some Jews sailed to Alaska with the Russian fishing fleets in the 1830s and 1840s, although it was not until a Jewish-owned firm, the Alaska Commercial Company, secured the seal-fishing rights that known Jewish traders began making regular visits to the territory. In 1885, the first permanent Jewish settlers arrived in Juneau. The Klondike gold rush of 1897, soon followed by another discovery of gold near Nome, brought 30,000 miners, fortune hunters, and businessmen into Cape Nome. A number of Jews were part of this migration.