News in Brief Sept. 16, 2020

MJCC to reopen pools, courts, sportsplex

Over Labor Day weekend, Governor Brown amended the guidelines for Phase 1 of the Reopening Oregon plan to allow for the reopening of licensed swimming pools and sport courts.
Mittleman Jewish Community Center pools and racquetball courts will be available for members by reservation. Soccer leagues in the sportsplex are open to all.
The MJCC will reopen its swimming pools over the next couple of weeks. The facility is ready to go with new showers on the pool deck and the annual maintenance already completed. However, the guidelines that have been in place since mid-March have not permitted the mandatory, ongoing training of aquatics staff. The pools will reopen when the center has ensured staff members are in compliance with both general and COVID-19-specific training requirements. 
Pools will be open for members only by reservation – the same reservation system used for the Fitness Center. Members will be permitted to sign up to use a lane in the main pool, or a section of the warm pool, for a specific time and duration. There will be a maximum of six swimmers in the main pool and three in the warm pool. Aquatic exercise classes will not be available, but private swim lessons may be available. Locker rooms will remain closed, and no towel service is available. Showers will be available on the main pool deck, and the changing stalls in the warm pool area will be available.
The revised guidance allows for the resumption of recreational sports programs (other than full-contact sports such as basketball). Members may sign up to play racquetball in groups of two. Call the Welcome Desk at 503-244-0111 during the hours of 7-11 am and 3-7 pm to reserve the court.
Soccer leagues are open to all. If you are interested in information about soccer, contact Ashley Scacco, the MJCC’s Sports and Recreation Manager at

MJCC Enrichment Camps begin
This week, the MJCC began to offer afternoon enrichment camps for children in kindergarten through fifth grade. Camps run 4-6 pm, Monday-Thursday. 
Four camps are slated for next week, Sept. 21-24:
Crafts and Creation: Draw, paint, invent and create arts and crafts. Possibilities are endless when you use your imagination!
Jr. Journalists and Storytelling: Let your imagination run wild as you build your own collection of short stories through creative writing and also learn journalism basics. 
Sports and Games Jumble: Calling all sports enthusiasts! Improve kicking, running, jumping and throwing skills while focusing on teamwork. Sports include soccer, relay races, fun field games and more.
Lights, Camera, Action: Write, direct and create short skits and commercials in this fun-filled week of drama and singing. 
More camps are planned through fall. Registration is required by noon on the Friday before the camp week. Cost is $72/week for members and $82 for nonmembers. Register at:
For more information, email Afternoon Camp Supervisor Josh Harrington at

Chabad House welcomes Reed freshmen
Chabad House at Reed College welcomed new freshmen during orientation week Aug. 24-28. Reed classes began Aug. 31 with a mix of in-person and online education. Above, Rivkah Bialo, left, and Sara and  Fraidel Bialo, right, welcome two Reed College freshmen who stopped by Reed Chabad House. Due to COVID Protocol, instead of its usual Orientation Shabbat, Chabad House had tabling hours each day to welcome students in small groups. All programs – except the social-distanced, mask-wearing Shabbat Dinner Under the Stars with individually packaged meals – also have a Zoom option.  For more information, email Rabbi Dov and Chani Bialo at


PSU classes begin on Yom Kippur

This year, the first day of classes at Portland State University falls on Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement (Sept. 28). The university administration has planned to ensure that no students, faculty or staff members are penalized for observing the holiday or feel any pressure to attend class or work if doing so would contravene their observance. 
“Through our Jewish Student Union and Cultural and Historical Association for Israel social media channels and email lists, we are sharing the religious accommodation policy and encouraging students to be fully aware of the options available to them,” says PDX Hillel Executive Director Hannah Sherman. “Additionally, we are working with our student groups to prepare virtual programming related to the High Holidays in addition to sharing links to Portland-area services as well as Hillel International’s High Holiday offerings. We are updating our website this week with our holiday programming, and we are looking forward to connecting with our PSU students virtually in the coming weeks.” 
The Harold Schnitzer Family Program in Judaic Studies at PSU “is working with our students to ensure that they successfully navigate the first day of classes,” says the department’s academic director Natan M. Meir.
Judaic Studies and Hebrew courses will begin on Wednesday, Sept. 30, except for a weekly public history seminar, which begins the following Monday, Oct. 5.
Students can contact Judaic Studies at or Global Diversity and Inclusion at

New Wise Aging session offered
A new series of Wise Aging facilitated by Dinah Gilburd and Barb Schwartz will meet on Zoom 4:30-6 pm Tuesdays, Oct. 13, 20, 27 and Nov. 3.
Based on the national program developed by the Institute of Jewish Spirituality, Wise Aging offers a guided path designed to help those 50 and older who want to discover new resources to enhance their later years with learning, growth, spirit, resilience and wisdom. The program has been brought to Portland by Jewish Family & Child Service and the Holzman Foundation.
The Wise Aging group will have a maximum of eight participants. In this time of COVID-19 when interactions with those we are close to are limited, Wise Aging offers a chance to meet new people in a meaningful setting. The curriculum includes text study, contemplative and active listening, self-reflection and meditation. Journaling is encouraged. Past participants have called the experience transformative as the fear of aging turns into an embrace of possibilities for the years ahead. 
Students are asked to purchase a copy of Wise Aging by Rabbi Rachel Cowan and Dr. Linda Thal. Suggested donation for the series is $75-100. Limited scholarships are available.
For information and registration details, contact Dinah Gilburd at or Barb Schwartz at Please use “Wise Aging Inquiry” for the subject line.

JFCS hires Lori Martin as finance manager
Lori Martin, CPA, MBA, became the finance manager for Jewish Family & Child Service in late August. 
Lori has spent the last 17 years working for not-for-profit organizations in the Portland Metro area. The work allows her to use her finance and accounting expertise to help others. In addition to serving as finance manager for JFCS, she is an accounting instructor for Portland Community College. She is a Certified Public Accountant and received her master’s degree from Marylhurst University.   
“We are thrilled have Lori Martin join our team as the finance manager,” says JFCS Executive Director Ruth Scott. “She comes with years of expertise and will be responsible for the financial wellbeing of the organization. Along with her keen eye for details, Lori will enhance JFCS by overseeing financial transactions, budget development and analysis and supervise our payroll process. In her short time on board she has proven herself an expert in her field and to always have a song or joke on hand.”
Lori has been a resident of Oregon since moving here from Colorado in 1994.  She is very active with bicycling, walking, quilting, preserving memories through scrapbooking, and her newest sport, Enduro motorcycling, which she does with her husband, Michael. She is very excited to join the team at JFCS to continue her passion for helping others. 

Monthly Mitzvah: Mezuzah

To celebrate 36 (double chai) years in Oregon, Chabad of Oregon is promoting a different mitzvah for each month of this year. The celebration is based on the Mitzvah Campaign created by Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, z”l, in 1967. 
In September the focus is on the mezuzah, a message on a doorpost. Every Jewish home should have a mezuzah on its doorposts. The mezuzah contains the Shema and is a sign that the home is sanctified for G-d and enjoys His protection.
“We’ll be glad to help,” says Rabbi Moshe Wilhelm. “For assistance or more information, call me at 503-957-7842.”

Families parade through Big Truck Day 
This year families enjoyed the annual Labor Day Big Truck Day  from their cars as they drove past the assortment of vehicles in the Mittleman Jewish Community Center parking lot.


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