Tomorrow we celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. I hope you enjoy time with family and friends. The holiday is a brief but needed break from the busyness of our daily lives. Plus, with Chanukah beginning Sunday night (not quite "Thanksgivukkah" from several years ago, but close enough), I thought I would "steal" an idea from my colleague in Atlanta and write about eight things I am thankful for:
- The incredible Jewish professionals in this community who work day in and day out on your behalf. I am deeply thankful for their hard work and dedication during a year filled with tremendous adversity. I am in awe of what they continue to accomplish in bringing key programs and services to Jews throughout the Greater Portland area and beyond.
- None of our work happens without the volunteer leaders who give so much of their time, interest, care, brain power, and efforts to enrich Jewish life. I am amazed by the commitment and devotion from these individuals.
- Together, they have created and nurtured an array of Jewish experiences for people of all ages. Synagogues, social service agencies, summer camps, day schools, pre-schools, Shabbat dinners, young adult activities, cultural institutions, "do-it-yourself" Judaism, and the list goes on and on with options accessible to anyone. We should be so proud of the breadth and depth of Jewish life in our great community.
- The success of our annual Campaign for Community Needs continues to exceed expectations. We are grateful to everyone who has already made their generous pledge to Campaign 2022. To make your donation, please click here.
- We continue to lead change in the community at-large. The Jewish Federation is a co-founder of United in Spirit, a broad-based nonpartisan coalition of faith-based organizations. We mobilize around a variety of issues to make our community stronger, including addressing houselessness in Portland. Please read this important Op-Ed that appeared in The Oregonian in our push to address this challenge.
- We have been fortunate to live in a Jewish community that has not experienced anti-Semitism like many other places. We continue to focus on security for our Jewish institutions, and we share concerns about rising anti-Semitism with the community at-large.
- COVID vaccine. It is here and available. Let's also not forget health care workers, teachers, food service employees, and so many more on the front lines who have helped us navigate through the pandemic.
- Most importantly, my family! I could not do what I do without their incredible love and support.
If the above eight thoughts were candles on a menorah, then, of course, the shamash (helper candle) is YOU! None of this is possible without your interest, involvement, and generosity. You make the difference in our Jewish community.
Please do not forget to register for a presentation about the Jewish Federation – the past, present, and future. Sign up by clicking on one of the dates below and it will take you to a registration page and provide you with the Zoom link.
The live presentation will last approximately 25-30 minutes and then I will be happy to answer any questions you may have. Everyone is welcome to participate.
To close, let me add one more thing. Henry David Thoreau once wrote: “I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual.” That’s how I feel about the Greater Portland Jewish community. I appreciate the opportunity I have, every single day, to serve you.
From my family to yours – have a wonderful Thanksgiving, a Shabbat shalom, and a very happy Chanukah. Please click here for a listing of various Chanukah happenings around town.