Most participants of Israeli dance sessions have but one interest while dancing: learning, perfecting and dancing to the musical numbers played during a session period. No doubt individual discussions between dancers are the norm but it's rare that the conversation for all the participants revolves around one subject. However, one class, the Germantown Jewish Centre Sunday morning Israeli dance session defies this propensity. It's the rare person in that session who isn't interested (and hasn't visited) the subject that ties together the parts of this script. So, we have loosed our historical editor with the assignment: Write about Alaska. And so you have this script although it's somewhat longer than we expected. It gave him an opportunity to study a subject in which he already had an interest and gave this web site an opportunity to query some dancers about their experience with the subject

With the advances over the last few decades in the study of DNA analysis, scientists are now able to give a relatively accurate history to the species we all belong to:Homo Sapien. History indicates that there have been other speciers considered human including the best known (besides us): Neanderthal. It is said by some sources that Neanderthal genes still survive within a few of us: those designated as carrot tops - or Red heads - proudly show this when going bare-headed.
Studying the evolution of Mitochondrial DNA - this is a DNA marker passed only by Females - leads those studying the evolution of our species to claim that we are all the offspring of Mitochondrial Eve who lived somewhere betwwen 80000 to 200000 years ago probably in the Eastern region of Africa. Our pictures in this montage include a possible picture of Eve and what may have been a world map some 100000 years ago.
It is possible to map past periods of the Earth based on the science of plate tectonics. Our earth is always moving and made up of many sections. These sections allow the Earth to reformat itself, provide for mountain ranges and create earthquakes where the sections collide and move under one another. Even the plates indicated in this picture (which deals with present day tectonic activity) have their own sub plates and the most famous one in the US is what the city of Los Angeles sits on. Inevitably, thanks to plate tectronics, LA will pull up and move north of San Francisco sometime in the far distant future. Getting back to our map in the prior montage, notice that 100000 years ago the Red Sea was not as prominent and separating as it is today. An additional land bridge existed between Somalia and Arabia in addition to the Suez land bridge that we are presently familiar with. It would be through these two land bridges, scientists who study this subject say, that our species would begin to populate Europe and Asia beginning about 80000 years or so ago.
What we call our land masses rise from the oceans. But the oceans themselves change in terms of heights and depths due to the periodic ice ages that the Earth has seen over the years. The average temperature of the Earth is a great concern today in the topic of global warming. But, it is said that changes in upper wind streams, caused by plate movements, have subjected the Earth to multiple global cooling and heating spells. During ice ages, as the seas freeze up, ocean depths fall opening up additional land bridges - and in some cases frozen ice bridges - and this is another way that the surface of our planet changes.
Generally land bridges, if they are to occur, are at the closest points between continents. The country of Panama sits on such a bridge connecting North and South America. This bridge would expand during another ice age as sea levels would go down. Other bridges might have existed to help the original human settlement of Australia at one time. For this script, the land bridge in question that we are interested in was called Beringia.
Beringia is the term used by Geologists to describe the land bridge that once existed between Asia and North America traversing the northern Pacific. At the time it would have provided a barrier between the Pacific and Arctic oceans. It's importance would have increased somewhere between 20000 and 15000 BC as our species was populating most continents. This land bridge facilitated the movement from Asia to the Americas. Sometime before 10000BC this bridge would be closed sealing off those who had crossed the bridge from Asia. The maps shown here in this montage are estimates by scientists on the Beringia land mass and the migration patterns of the human race at that time
With Beringia under the water, we now can talk about the formation of the Bering Sea, the Alaskan area and Siberia. Similar to any other area where large masses of water begin to flow, great changes to climate were experienced by those alive at the time in the vicinity of the now present Alaska and Siberia. Where the Arctic and its colder waters were bottled up north of this area, now the North Pacific sea temperature underwent a drastic turn downward. Storms now would be much more aggressive and even today the weather in that part of the world is unique: it is the only place on Earth with persistent fog and wind at the same time. This montage shows a modern map of the two sides.
With North America now separated from Asia, Alaska became the northern anchor of the Americas. And, except for the natives, most of whom we call the aleuts and inuets (although there were many more tribes), Alaska was kind of a lost spot over the centuries. However, with the coming of the Europeans, the northern edges of the North American continent became a vibrant area of exploration. You already know one of the famous names by supposition: the Dane Vitus Bering whose name is the basis for Beringia and the Bering Sea.
Bering sailed as an admiral in the Tsarist Russian Navy and he did the first real official Russian exploration of the land east of Siberia although it is said that others had provided much of this information prior to Bering's efforts but were ignored. Commanding a small fleet of two ships, Bering left Kamchatka, the Siberian peninsula that points to China and Japan, in the 1740's with his small fleet. He promptly got separated from the other ship while discovering the westernmost end of the Aleutian Islands. Apparently Bering's ship crashed onto one of the western islands in this range. Bering died on this island which is named for him and the small island group that contains this island and his remains (Note: the Aleutians are made up of groups of islands) was named the Komandorskie Islands (Or Commander Islands) in his honor and these islands remain under Russian administration. The rest of the Aleutians would at first be in a similar situation but administratively would change a century later. The last picture in this montage is Bering's grave on Bering Island.
The islands of Attu and Kiska are a part of the Near Island group of the Aleutians and are a part of present day Alaska. These Near islands are the closest islands in the Aleutian range to the Commander Islands which is presently part of Russia. As opposed to the Near islands group, you can readily vacation and sight-see where Bering crash landed all those years ago. Not surprisingly, given the location of the islands, there are some unique examples of wildlife that call these islands home. The last picture of this montage is from the web site of one of the Russian cruise tours that will take you there. This company can be contacted at
Note: Do not extend this assumption if you are trying to visit Attu and Kiska which will be discussed somewhat below. This web site knows of no way to make it commercially to these islands and we assume, although cannot verify, that these islands are infreguently visited by the US military
As the Russians explore this area from West going East, several other countries are attempting to find a "Northwest Passage" to China and India going westward across the Atlantic. The major competitors as far as this is concerned is the British and French. The British eventually win out thanks to one of the more unlucky explorers in our opinion. We speak of Henry Hudson (pictured here with his ship) who does the first exploration on what is now called the Hudson river on one of his first New World explorations (for a Dutch company giving New York its Dutch origin). His last foray, sailing under a British flag, starts out really wrong as he heads east over Scandinavia to find the mythical Northwest passage and when that is unsuccessful he turns his ship around and heads west eventually discovering what is now called Hudson Bay. Who knows what he would have discovered on his next excursion but that was not to be as his crew mutinees over the extreme duration and extent of this cruise and maroons Hudson and some loyalists on some unidentified location in what would become the Canadian Northwest Territiories. Hudson's end lacks even a grave marker (as with Bering) as he is never heard from again. But his discoveries are key to the British domination of parts of the New World as the New York colony eventually ends up in British control (and is a jewel in the British royalty's crown) and the Hudson Bay and all the waters flowing into it form what is today's Canada and establish the British claim to most of Northeastern North America.
So, by the mid 1700's there are claims to the territory of Northern America by competing European powers. The Spanish have claim to New Spain which includes the areas that are now the states of California, Texas and below towards the country of Panama. There is competing claims to Lower Canada by the British and the French which would be resolved by a British takeover (for the colonial colonies that would become the US, this is the result of the French and Indian war) while allowing the French settlers to govern themselves internally. The East coast of what is now the United States also become British property as the Dutch claim to New Amsterdam is traded for several islands in the Caribbean giving us the present state but then colony of New York that would add to the other 12 colonies situated on the East Coast. Middle North America is claimed by the French and based at New Orleans and the claim pertains to all the waters draining into the Mississippi. Upper Canada is under the provence of the Hudson Bay trading company thanks to the ill fated trip of Henry Hudson. And there is the claim of the Tsarist Russian Empire, through the Russian state sponsered Russian American Trading company, to coastal communities dotting the Western North American sea coast from the present day Nome down through the California coast. For the most part during the duration of the 18th century the boundaries of which colonial power owning which land would be pretty well defined by water rights but for one power, the Russians, the claim is a bit more difficult to resolve as their claim seems to be be based on controlling of the fur trade.
It is interesting to compare the two trading companies, the Hudson Bay company and the Russian American company, in this process. While we are sure that both companies were hardly models of liberal thinking in terms of their dealings with the natives, the British fur traders somewhat followed the French example of dealing with the Indians as the French had. Part of this model was marrying into the native tribes and learning the native folkways. No doubt the prices paid per pelt were more equitable than paid by the Russian traders. With the native influence, the incidents of over hunting were reduced although it would be naive to indicate this never occurred in British controlled lands. The Russian model was imperial with the Russian traders living within restricted, segregated outposts. The native population was bullied and in many cases eradicated. Over hunting was the norm to the point that many species in the Russian area of operation were exterminated. While the Hudson Bay company would flourish, the opposite was true of the Russian American company and in the end became a financial burden on the Russian monarchy. This montage displays the crests of both of these companies.{
We've included a screen shot of the present Hudson Bay Company's web site to prove that the Hudson Bay trading company, from which this present day company derives, would have a rosy future some 350 or so years after its founding. US residents should be able to recognize Saks and Lord and Taylor as present day department stores that are owned by this company.|alaska/hudson3}
As with any competing claims, questions arose as to the administration of lands that abutted each other. With the Russian claims dealing with outposts along the coast and the Hudson claims pertaining to water rights, a large portion of area that now is Alaska and the Yukon remained in question. Eventually a border along the 219 degree longitude (-141 from the prime meridian defining time zones) would separate the two competing claims with the Russian claim encompassing the modern state of Alaska. The abutting Eastern side would eventually become the Canadian territory of the Yukon and south of this the present Canadian province of British Columbia. The Russian claims against Spain (later the US) from the present day border of the state of Washington south were vacated and competing claims centering around Juneau; the coast of the present day British Columbia and the ownership of the Queen Charlotte islands remained in doubt. This map is from a search on the extent of Russian America claims circa 1860. Much of it looks like present day Alaska except for the additional land around Juneau in the Alaskan panhandle bordering what would become British Columbia
Again, in spite of all the resources of the area, what the Russians considered as an addition to Siberia is costly to the Tsarist regime which at that time was led by Tzar Alexander II and his wife Maria Alexandrovna, both pictured in this montage. Russia at that time was fiscally unstable with apparently large outlays for several wars especially in the Crimea. And, one enemy that faced Russia in the Crimea, Great Britain, also put the Russian American enclave at risk as England, through the Hudson Bay company and the Yukon, bordered the Russian presence in North America. It is said that at no time were there more than 400 Russian nationals simultaneously in North America during that period so you can see the risk if Britain decided to extend the fight to the Americas.
Of course, because of the backwardness of the country and especially the government, Russia did not get the benefits, fiscal or political, from the 18th century industrialization that was felt in the rest of the world and the country remained for the most part agrarian. (And even this was rather backward as far as agricultural production). So, In 1859, The Russian empire approached the United States to see if this rising power might be interested in purchasing the Russian American territory.
But, before negotiations could get serious the United States also faced a crises. The Southern states threatened to and then seceded from the union and the first half of the 1860's saw the United States engaged in the Civil War. Any diplomatic manoevers by Washington were directed at repairing the union of the states, not in expansion of territorial claims. And, in this, The US, similar to Russia, was at loggerheads with England who, at first, subtly supported the south both financially and diplomatically until it was clear who would prevail in the long term. This montage shows the Confederate raiders CSS Alabama and CSS Shenandoah whose origins in the Confederate navy go through English ship building facilities.
There were many reasons for the civil war but a major issue was that of slavery. In the north the subject became so disruptive that a new political party was formed around 1856 to combat slavery in North America. By 1860, this Republican party was so strong that it was apparent that any of its nominees for President would have the advantage in the coming national election. The two top candidates for the party nomination were Abraham Lincoln and William Seward. Most of the readers of this script would be familiar with Lincoln so we'll concentrate here on Seward to give you some info on this very influential man.
Seward was born in 1801 in New York where he would be Governor and Senator. His home, which you can visit as it now is a museum, was built originally by his future Father in Law in Auburn, New York. While Seward was Senator he was a leading advocate for the abolition of slavery and this facilitated his transition from Whig to Republican. Lincoln prevailed to become President but as documented by Doris Kearns Goodwin in her book, Team Of Rivals, Lincoln made use of Seward's talent by putting him in as Secretary Of State. Seward also was the victim of an assassination attempt at the same time as Lincoln but he survived and continued to hold the State cabinet position through 1868.
With the civil war's end, attention could again be turned to the possible purchase of Alaska from Russia. The Russian monarchy was ready to cede control of the territory to this up and coming power with the wherewithal to counter the British influence in the area. But what about the American government? Things had somewhat warmed up with the British. Already a partial boundary, one that would eventually be demiltarized and become the longest (both in time and length) permanent unmilitarized such boundary in the world had been established between the British possessions in Northern North America and some of the US states. Even the early British support of the Confederacy was countered by pro union sentiment of the British people. By the onset of the civil war slavery had been abolished throughout the British empire and eventually the British government impounded confederate vessels until the civil war's end. We note this warming by the maps of this montage. Since the border treaties between the British Government (superceded by the Canadian government once established) and the US Government were considered so sacrosanct by each of the parties, obvious anomolies were allowed and continue to this day along the present border between Canada and the US. So we present the Northwest Angle of Minnesota and the Port Roberts enclave of Washington state, two relics left standing by officious compliance with these treaties. {As an added note, few realize that it is the map maker Rand McNally who finally resolves the final bits of the US Canada border. In trying to determine the border among uninhabited islands in the Bay Of Fundy in 1951, they secure the agreement of the Departments of State of both the US and Canada as to the ownership of the islands indicated here to draw their map|alaska/fundy.png}
Nevertheless, in spite of the better relations with the British government, a price of 7.2 million dollars is agreed upon with the Russian monarchy and on October 18, 1867 the transfer to US control is completed. With this, the US had gained a territory perhaps twice as big as Texas but one doubts that other statistics detailing the resources of Alaska were readily available. Given the limited Russian presence, even probably the number of occupants of the territory was not known with any accuracy. And, given that it was a territory and not subject to representation, we assume that it would be a while before the residents were visited by representatives of the US census. Even the boundary of the Alaskan panhandle, that slip of land riding down the coast of British Columbia would not be resolved in full until the 1920's. This montage shows the signing ceremony authorizing the transfer in March, 1867; a copy of the Treasury check cut in 1868 to the Russian government for 7.2 million dollars and the USS Ossipee which was present at the port of Sitka where the transfer took place as this was the capital of Alaska during the Russian rule.
With the transfer of authority, little was to change in Alaska for the next few decades except for the flag. Here we show the Russian American flag flying from Sitka on Oct 17th, 1867 with the 37 star US flag replacing it on Oct 18th, 1867. Remember each star represents a state and this was the number of states of the newly reestablished US union. Little resources were apportioned to the state by the US government and even the capital would remain at Sitka until after the start of the next century. The permanent boundary of the Alaskan panhandle would be decided by a three party commission in the 1920's - the three parties being the US, Canada and Great Britain. Alaska would not have its iconic big dipper blue and gold state flag (pictured at the end of this montage) until the 1920's. And, the military importance of Alaska would not be recognized for another 75 years. But, there was one event that thrust Alaska back into the news before the end of the 19th century
You may remember that we talked a bit about the Yukon, the northern westernmost territory of Canada which lies to the other side of Alaska's eastern border. No doubt the same type of indifference mentioned above was heaped upon the Yukon by Britain and eventually Canada until Gold was discovered in the Yukon territory near the end of the century - 1896. All of a sudden the little towns of Dawson and Whitehorse became the focal point for the many gold diggers of various types and genders. But, the fastest way to the Yukon was by boat into the Alaskan panhandle and this again increased interest in Alaska both as a way station into the interior or a destination by itself. We might add that Whitehorse, today the capital of the Yukon territory, and Dawson are still interesting places today to visit and study. Dawson holds an all day around the clock celebration at the Summer Equinox when the sun never sets for a few days. There are lots of parades and lots of appearances of the RCMP. Whitehorse provided a precarious safe harbor to two Korean Airlines 747s when US air space was closed on 9/11 in 2001 and you can see these planes sitting on a runway not much bigger than the plane itself. Eventually when US airspace was reopened the planes were carted on land by a large commerical moving vehicle back to Alaska. Note: Over the years since 2001 the runways have been expanded at Whitehorse to the point that larger planes can be accommodated at the airport.
With the coming of the new century the US government, not to mention its citizens, started to wake up to the wonder that is Alaska. Teddy Roosevelt signs bills creating the Tongass and the Chugach forest reserves. The former Chugach forest reserve, now known as the Chugach National forest, is situated just below Anchorage and the Tongass reserve is situated south along the Alaska panhandle. This starts a tradition of sorts where Presidents would sign laws creating national forests and parks throughout the state to the point where Alaska is dotted with National parks, indicated in green, in either of these maps.
One famous park even honored Roosevelt's predecessor, the ill fated William McKinley of Ohio, whose Presidency was cut short by an assassin's bullet. In his honor the tallest mountain in North America, whose prior designation was Mt Denali, was renamed for the assassinated president (recently the mountain was renamed back to its original name, Denali). The mountain is within the Denali National park and you can see the approachs to it in this National Geographic shot although the top of the mountain is hazed in. The park is somewhat directly north of Anchorage by way of Alaska state highway 3. On your way you will pass very close to the town of Talkeetna and we will be discussing this town, and specifically one of its residents, later in this script although another of its residents, who acts as the mayor and is shown here, is also pretty famous.
Like any area, Alaska was also found to have its own unique animals. Unfortunately, by the time that the US took control several species had been wiped out by the Russian traders. But, enough survived such that Alaskan Salmon, Kodiac bears and the Arctic fox became well known to researchers. Another animal is somewhat unique to the area and this is the flying squirrel. Those in the know will tell you that these animals evolved given the sparceness of the trees on the arctic tundra allowing them the distance to strut (or perhaps we should say soar) their stuff. The animals webbing connecting their arms and shoulder allow them to soar between the trees. Of course, just like in other parts of the country, animal names can adorn commercial enterprises. In our area, Wawa is an Indian name for a type of Canadian Goose. This was used for the town of WaWa, Pa and appropriated by the dairy that was part of the town with the dairy becoming the famous WaWa convenience stores. In a like manner the Alaskan flying squirrel has become the name and/or mascot of several Alaskan enterprises including the Flying Squirrel Bakery Cafe in the aforementioned Talkeetna. {We would be remiss if we did not mention Rocky, the world's most famous flying squirrel. Rocky emerges from the imagination of William Hanna and Joseph Barbara in 1959 to become an instant hit on afternoon television as he and his friend, the moose Bullwinkle, fight enemy agents at the height of the cold war.|alaska/rocky}
Geologists and volcanologists also began to take an interest in Alaska. Much of the southern portion of the territory (now state) is made up of volcanoes and this is part of the Pacific's ring of fire - a line of active volcanoes stretching from the Mariannas trench to South America. Having volcanoes on your territory is a two edged sword: on one hand these lava spewing monsters are tourist attractions but on the other hand active volcanoes are a sign that major earthquakes can decimate an area. Such was the case on the Good Friday Earthquake that hit Anchorage in 1964{ and you can see the extensive damage by that quake in the picture panning the street|alaska/1964quake}. {The last picture in this montage shows one of the volcanoes of the ring of fire, the majestic Mt Augustine, which dominates Augustine island somewhat to the west of Anchorage. Mt Augustine last erupted in 2006.|alaska/augustine}
In addition the US Military also became interested in the area. Once sleepy Anchorage became the center of the Alaska defence command. Several Naval bases were developed along the shoreline and in the Eastern Aluetians as were several airfields. The Navy even established a meteorological station on Attu. But it was not only the US military that took notice of the Aleutian chain. The Japanese military worried about American fighter and bomber aircraft production in the Seattle area. The Aleutians could be used to threaten this aircraft production in case of war. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941, the Japanese did attack the Aleutian Near islands of Kiska and Attu on June 6th, 1942 as a feint for what would be their defeat at Midway. The end map of this montage shows the extent of Japanese occupation while the other pictures show the memorial placed at Attu in 1983 and the fleet of ships ready for the allied invasion of Kiska in 1943. The occupation of the Aleutians ended mid 1943.
The military activites in the Aleutians have been forgotten to some extent over the last 70 years. But, it was a campaign like no other during WWII and had the nickname, The Thousand mile war. Since it came at the beginning of the war, US forces had to make due with the limited resources that were available. Thanks to Colonel William Olmstead Eareckson (known as Eric) who led the Army air forces in the area, the Army air force created new tactics to deal with the enemy. The distance between the islands made the American bombing runs at the beginning of the campaign longer than bombing runs from England to Berlin and these bombing runs to some extent were done by PBY seaplanes from which bombs were dropped by hand. And all this was done in perhaps the world's worst weather. {You can see one of the many problems of fighting in this Alaskan theater as the crew tries to free a PBY stuck in the snow in one of the pictures dd.|alaska/pby} Eareckson's name lives on at the current Eareckson AFB located at Shemya island in the Aleutians.
After the hot war of WWII, Alaska and the Aleutians continued to have great strategic value during the cold war. Even today there are multiple US military bases around the state including those of the Coast Guard. At one time (and perhaps still) the US Government was the major employer in the state. In addition, several large radar networks were constructed to provide early warning in the case of missile attack and one of these pictures shows elements of this network along the Alaskan northern coast.
Over the years there was an increasing push for Alaska to enter the union as a state. Alaska's attempt at statehood became somewhat convuluted with a similar push by Hawaii. This became a political mess given that some in the US congress were in favor of both being states while there were other groups favoring one and not the other. Eventually by late 1958 concensus had grown to admit both as states and in 1959 both entered the union, Alaska on Jan 3rd and Hawaii on August 21st. In that one year the US flag went from 48 stars to 50. At the time of the 1960 census, done the next year, Alaska had 228,000 residents which was the lowest of any state. The state's area is 663267 sq mi giving Alaska at that time an approximate .33 person per sq mile population density. In the 50 or so years since, as indicated in the 2010 census, the population has grown to about 714,000 and the population density has broken over the 1 person per sq mi barrier.
By the time of Statehood, Alaska had been a part of the United States for some 90 years. Obviously, attention was paid to the territory during Word War II as were many areas only vaguely known to the populace prior to that conflict. But Alaska really was not a part of the American psyche prior to 1960. If you look it up about every 5 years a movie set in Alaska would be released - most were unsuccessful. Probably the biggest media coverage would be the books of Jack London although London was a part of the Yukon gold rush and not really a part of Alaska. But, in 1960, given the publicity of statehood, Hollywood goes all out to produce an Alaskan based blockbuster. This movie, North To Alaska, is of interest to this script and web site in multiple ways as will be indicated below although this montage displays several of the movie's posters.
It is impossible to suumarize what goes on in this movie in the limited resource of this montage. It'll suffice to tell you that it's an attempt at comedy but probably has lost something in the interim since it was produced in 1960. Of more interest is the players. John Wayne, whose real name of Marion Morrison had long ago been discarded, had been a movie star for many years. While his best was probably behind him as far as movies were concerned he still was a big marquee name. Another actor is of interest to the local Philadelphia readers. Ernie Kovacs, was a legend as far as television was concerned. He molded the medium to his sense of humor and he did this in Philadelphia TV studios. While his forte was the small screen, this was one of about 8 to 10 movies he would be in before his untimely death in 1962. Capucine was an assumed name of a fashion model who would be very successful in many movies during the 1960's. You would know her as Inspector Closeau's (Peter Sellers) wife in the original Pink Panther. She would team up with Sellers again playing his love interest in "What's New Pussy Cat". As to the success of North To Alaska, we assume the presence of Wayne made this film somewhat successful but this website has a bigger interest in the soundtrack.
The soundtrack of the movie includes the main title song, North to Alaska. The music was written by Lionel Newman and Johnny Horton with Horton singing the song. You can access this song on Youtube by clicking here. So, what's the big deal! Well, we finally get to something Israeli dancers should recognize (Ed Note: It's about time). The Israeli dance Od Nashuv is a remake of this song. It was reintroduced in 2005 and became popular for a while although it is rarely played at the time that this script is being prepared. The choreographer is Avi Peretz and you can see this dance demonstrated by Nissim Ben Ami by clicking here. Below, at the bottom of this script, we have more links to this music and dance.
Since statehood, it's fair to say that Alaska is no longer is in the wilderness per American entertainment. Currently there are several reality programs set in the state including "The Deadliest Catch" and "Sarah Palin's Alaska" (Palin was Governor of the state from 2006 through 2009.) Through the years from statehood other fictional, documentary and reality based shows have hit the airways but the one that most people remember ran on CBS from 1990 through 1995. This was Northern Exposure starring Rob Morrow and Janine Turner about a New York doctor thrust into a small Alaskan town. While the town name is Cicely on the show, many feel that Talkeetna Alaska, already mentioned several times in this script, was the model.
But there is one program from many years back that would also be of interest to some visitors of this web site. For the 1959-1960 TV season, Warner Brothers produced a one-hour adventure series supposedly based in Alaska called the Alaskans. This was part of the ABC Sunday night broadcasting schedule which included Maverick, then one of the most popular TV shows on the air. Maverick is an iconic TV series to most baby boomers and its plot revolved around the gambling activities of two brothers during the American wild west era. It's humor and satire made its star James Garner a household idol at the time and Garner was the most popular TV celebrity while he starred on this show. The Alaskan had a plot somewhat similar to Maverick except for being situated in Alaska during the Yukon Gold rush. It starred Roger Moore. After a year the Alaskan was cancelled about the same time that Garner left Maverick. Moore was drafted to replace Garner when the Maverick program continued the next season. Moore would go on to star in several movies during the '70s and '80s that have been somewhat documented on this web site.
Since 1959 Alaska has moved forward with the rest of the country through wars, technological changes, societal changes, political eras and the like. To show you how advanced the state has become, we'd like you to be aware that Alaska sports its own Israeli dance class which meets on Wednesday nights, 6 to 8:30 in Anchorage at the library. The instructors are Beth Fleischer (who grew up in the Philadelphia area) and Marilyn Doore. The session supports a youtube page indicating links to videos of dances that are part of the session's repertoire although you may want to look at this website's video and dance list which might be more extensive for some of the selections. Od Nashuv is not listed on the Anchorage dance list at the time that this script is being developed but perhaps in the future. The session combines Israeli dancing, teaching and International dancing in this one evening and the session's web site at has various pictures and videos of the participants in the session. In this montage we've included several of these pictures with Beth leading the group.
To further this script we would like to return to the late 1990's and concentrate on one family as we progress to the present. In the Philadelphia area there is a dancer who attends several dance sessions each week. Yael Golten grew up in Israel, moved to the United States, married, and had several daughters. One daughter, Esther, became both a musician and explorer by pursuing both aims in Alaska. You can see more about Esther, and sample her music, by clicking here to access our anatomy script which attempts to analyze a session of Israeli dance.
Apparently Esther is not the only sister to make Alaska home. Esther's sister Anita (and we have here in this montage first a picture of Anita and then a picture of both the sisters Golton) has also been involved in a creative enterprise: baking. Working her way north Anita settled in the aforementioned Talkeetna. We understand that her husband is from that area, and so besides the support of her own family, Anita has added the support of her husband's family to her ongoing activities and this includes the aforementioned Flying Squirrel Bakery Cafe located in Talkeetna abutting both Alaskan Rt. 3 and the Alaska railroad which runs passenger/tourist trains from Anchorage through Talkeetna to Fairbanks. The last picture in this montage shows the Alaskan Railroads track network.
Anita's husband's family has a large organic farm, Birch Creek Ranch, just outside the city so when her web site indicates that locally organic grown produce is used whenever possible, many of the ingrediants have travelled just a few miles from farm to table. We might add that the ranch, which started in the 80's, has hothouses and greenhouses to augment what is grown outside in the Alaskan native soil. There is a connection with a CSA (Community Supported Agricultural facility) so that not only Anita, but many of her neighbors have access to this locally produced agriculture. It would be interesting to know if Anita and Birch creek are involved in the movement to reclaim the use of locally based wheat. This movement seeks to recapture the use of this grain as it was used a century ago when localities had their own flour mills which created flours that were uniquely of local origin as opposed to the generic flour most of us use today.
{Among the bakery specialties served is Rugallah - you can see a batch in the first picture. You can't be more Eastern European Jewish than this but it seems as if her Alaskan patrons like them.|alaska/anitax} Anita's Flying Squirrel Bakery cafe also serves coffees too. Also, Salads and pizza, if you wish. Look at the picture of the big salad bowls in this montage taken from Anita's website at This is not your old fashioned bakery. It acts more like a social center for meeting up but for whom? We'd assume it was for the neighboring Alaskan towns but looking at maps (and if you click the map in this montage, you will see an enlargement to do your own perusal), there really isn't any other towns. But, we think we can give you a 'for who' in a long distance sense if you continue to read this script!
Let's turn back and consider one of the weekly sessions of Israeli dance in Philadelphia. On Sunday mornings the Germentown Jewish Centre is filled with Israeli dance music. Starting at 10AM, the leader, Grant Shulman, runs a rather lively dance session until 12:30. The session draws dancers from around the Philadelphia area and this web site has on many occasions called this session the friendliest in the area. These shots show dancing one Sunday morning in Feb'15.
But what you are also seeing is part of Anita's Flying Squirrel Bakery Cafe customers. An inordinate number of people in this group have visited Alaska in general, but a significant number have been to Anita's shop starting with Grant, the leader of the session. Here we see him with Anita at the Flying Squirrel bakery cafe while on vacation a few years ago. The other pictures show him doing his usual activity on most Sunday mornings.
Tamar is the administrative head of the Sunday morning dance session and the first pictures of this montage show her dancing in Feb'15. But, during summers Tamar is on the move and that move is generally toward Alaska. She and her family have taken many trips throughout that state - we see her here on a boat near Anchorage - and she has also visited Anita's shop on occasion.
Yona Diamond Dansky is another regular who has made her way up Alaska state highway 3 to Talkeetna. In this montage we see her dancing at the Sunday session and we see her picture of the outside of Anita's bakery.
Others at the session have been to Anita's on vacations also. This montage is from Lee Friedman who visited Alaska during the summer of 2015 and took pictures of her trip from Anchorage (where the cruise left her off) to Denali and then back to Talkeetna where Lee hooked up with Yael and her husband and Anita. Also, apparently, Lee left one of the Sea Lions heartbroken while visiting - and then leaving - a nature reserve.

And, so, we've kind of delved into the odd fascination of and for Alaska by members of the Germantown Sunday session. Besides those dancers highlighted above, many more of the dancers have taken cruises to Sitka and Juneau along the panhandle. Of course it now gives a clue as to where someone might be if absent one or two Sundays: Perhaps they are also going North to Alaska

Steps To Od Nashuv

Part 1 Done twice. Starts with dancers facing ounterclockwise

right forward cha cha

left forward cha cha

right cha cha going forward on your right,hold in place on your left, back on right

left cha cha going backward on your left, hold in place with your right, forward on your left

*Facing circle cross left over right

Do a right yemenite

Walk three steps back while making a 270% turn to get to the position you were at the *

Back left yeminite as we get ready to do chorus


Moving to the inside of the circle while facing counterclockwise: two mayims starting with right crossing left but on the last step of the last mayim swing left foot around and in back of you

reverse moving to your right going outside back to circle line in two mayims steping right then crossing left over right

While facing counterclockwise move right back then left back and do a cha cha shifing weight in 3 steps but not moving out of position

Do the above changing feet so move left back then right back with the in-position cha cha freeing up right foot

Part 2. Dancers are still counterclockwise

Cherkessia starting with right

four skips starting with right still moving counterclockwise

This and the next line will be done twice while in part 2. While facing circle, cha cha to the right, cha cha to the left

Box step starting with right


Our editors have found several videos pertaining to North To Alaska (Od Nashuv) as both a song and then a dance on Youtube. The first is the dance as done by an asian group and the second is North To ALaska sung by Johnny Horton with text: Click either to watch