OJMCHE & Yeshiva University document life
Two Jewish organizations want to be sure these extraordinary times are documented for the future.
The Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education is collecting stories of living through a pandemic (distancing photo is from OJMCHE archives). Community members are invited to record observations, experiences and thoughts about this pandemic while it is happening. If we wait until it is all over, we will miss the nuances of our day-to-day experiences.
The museum has set up a recorded line to capture what will be the oral history of our community. Call the Oral History Hotline (Archivist Alisha Babbstein’s voicemail) at 503-505-6281 to leave a short, 2-4 minute, observation of your experience.
Prompts to help you craft your observations can be found at: ojmche.org/app-news/history-is-now.
Yeshiva University has launched an effort to document this period on a broader stage.
“You are probably too busy now to think about how historians will document and interpret the period we are now living through, but at some point if you can take a few moments to forward any relevant material to Yeshiva University Archives, future historians will thank you deeply,” says Natan Meir, academic director of Portland State Uiniversity’s Harold Schnitzer Family Program in Judaic Studies.
Yeshiva University Archives is collecting material relating to the coronavirus pandemic and the Jewish community, focusing on Jewish communities in North America. Examples include community notices, announcements by rabbinic organizations, synagogues, schools and other Jewish organizations and businesses, and rabbinic responsa. Please send material in digital format (or provide links or forward original emails) or any questions to:
Song of Miriam additional nominee
In the article announcing the cancellation of this year’s 28th Annual Song of Miriam Awards Brunch, the name of one honoree, Shari Raider of Havurah Shalom, was omitted. We offer our heartiest thank you and congratulations to Shari.
Jewish Women’s Round Table invites the community to formally recognize this year’s 14 honorees during next year’s brunch.
Three-Clergy Conversation: Congregations in COVID
Join Msgr. Patrick S. Brennan of St. Mary’s Cathedral, Rabbi Michael Z. Cahana of Congregation Beth Israel and Dean Nathan LeRud of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral for a virtual dialogue on what it’s like to be a religious leader in these times, and how the nation’s response to pandemic may continue to influence religious life in the years to come. The virtual conversation will be on Zoom at 7 pm, May 14. bethisrael-pdx.org/events
Study "Girls in Trouble" for Shavuot
Earlier this month, Alicia Jo Rabins’ highly acclaimed, three-album Girls in Trouble song series interpreting the stories of women in Torah has been released as an online educational experience.
The Girls in Trouble curriculum, a series of modular study guides exploring the stories of 24 women in the Torah, has been released just in time for Shavuot, when study sessions celebrate the giving of the Torah.
“We were planning to do an official launch in fall 2020 along with a tour of live concerts by Girls in Trouble,” says Alicia. “However, fall touring seems questionable. Between uncertainty and the need for online materials at the moment, I decided to simply do a virtual official release this spring.”
Alicia received a Covenant Foundation grant for 2014-16 to create the first 13 units. However, there was still demand for study guides on the remaining songs, so a second grant (2018-19) supported creation of the 11 additional units.
In these songs and study guides (geared toward teens and adults), modern feminism melds with ancient wisdom. The curriculum includes visual art, Midrashim and a recording of the original song from the albums. The full curriculum bundle starts at $36 for individuals, with levels up to $360 for institutions.
For details, visit girlsintroublemusic.com/study-guides/.
Milt Carl Way Awards event postponed
Initially scheduled for May 17, the second Milt Carl Way Awards event, presented by B’nai B’rith Camp and Congregation Shaarie Torah, has been postponed.
Milt Carl was an icon in our community, a tremendous soul, a mensch, a dedicated father and grandfather, and a leader who changed the landscape of the Portland Jewish community. The Milt Carl Way Awards honor individuals who “do it Milt’s way” – those who care deeply about the Jewish community, those who do profound work for many organizations, those who feel most themselves when they are giving their time and personal resources. Most importantly, the award honors those who encourage and inspire others to give.
Both organizations look forward to rescheduling when the community can come together and celebrate the incredible work of honorees Priscilla Kostiner, Irving Potter, and Diane and Jay Zidell.
Rabbi and Cantor find national audience
Rabbi Michael and Cantor Ida Rae Cahana are a rare example of a congregation able to broadcast Shabbat services with the rabbi and cantor side by side. In today’s pandemic where people are searching for spirituality and warm Shabbat services, the married couple has been attracting a wide audience. While Congregation Beth Israel has been streaming Friday evening services for years, the audience has swollen to more people than normally come to services in the sanctuary.
The couple has set up a production studio with a high-quality sound system to broadcast during the pandemic.
“People are hungry for spirituality right now, and it’s wonderful to see people finding us,” says Rabbi Cahana.
You can stream the kabbalat Shabbat service at 6 pm each Friday at: bethisrael-pdx.org/worship/watch-services-live/.
Monthly Mitzvah: Ahavat Yisrael
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 May the focus is Ahavat Yisrael: Love your fellow Jew. “Love your fellow as yourself,” is a basic principle in the Torah. Reaching out to your fellow Jew with patience, love, concern and unity is among the greatest mitzvot a Jew can do.
“We’ll be glad to help,” says Rabbi Moshe Wilhelm. “For assistance or more information, call me at 503-957-7842.”