I am excited to share with you the online version of our 2019-2020 Annual Report. Please read about our community’s incredible achievements during these trying times. None of this would be possible without the generosity of donors, like YOU.
We have now officially launched our 2021 Campaign for Community Needs. Our approach to this year’s campaign will be different. We cannot gather in-person. Programs will be done virtually for the foreseeable future. Organizations need greater financial assistance and the flexibility to use those funds as circumstances dictate. That is why we are starting now and want to make this campaign “as fast as possible.” There are communities who raise $30 million+ in only six weeks. There is no reason we cannot close our campaign by the end of the calendar year (with pledge payments not due until December 2021). This will reduce costs, provide additional time for communal planning, and allow us to make any necessary changes.
I ask you now – when called upon or when you receive a letter in the mail, please give generously. We have a donor who will once again match ALL increases of 10% or more and new gifts dollar for dollar.
We raised a total $4.6 million this past year, which included our COVID-19 Crisis Campaign. We can raise more than that – and those extra dollars are critically needed. People are out of work. Mental health challenges and financial assistance needs have increased. Jewish organizations are struggling. We can only respond to these challenges with your generous support.
In this week’s Jewish Review, editor Deborah Moon wrote a wonderful piece titled, “Why I Give to Federation.” Please read about her introduction to the Jewish community, sending her children to Portland Jewish Academy, participation in activities at the Mittleman Jewish Community Center, and all she has experienced in Jewish life. What makes her story even more compelling is that Deb is not Jewish. But her love for and commitment to this Jewish community is boundless.
I know that there are those who will say, “There goes Federation again. All you want is money.” No! It is not about the money. It is about what the money does. The Jewish Federation is here to strengthen and enrich our entire Jewish community. This can only be made possible by everyone’s generosity, especially during these uncertain times.
Please give generously!
As the High Holy Days approach, we take this time to reflect during the Hebrew month of Elul. The Jewish Federation has created a video series, Renew Through Elul, with uplifting and inspiring one-minute videos from a variety of Jewish community leaders. We continue to share one video a day (except on Shabbat) on social media, or you can watch them here.
As we do every year, the Jewish Federation has compiled (and this will continue to be updated) a website listing High Holy Day services, activities, and programs in our community. I encourage you to visit this site, especially with almost all services being virtual this year.
The Oregon Board of Rabbis will be hosting a special Selichot program on Saturday evening, September 12. It will be an evening of learning, reflection and prayer as we all prepare to welcome 5781. Register here.
For those of you looking for additional ways to make the holidays feel holy and special, check out Here for Powered by OneTable, a new community-wide, collaborative platform supporting home-hosted ritual and virtual gatherings from Rosh Hashanah through Simchat Torah. Resources are provided by partners, and events can be posted by anyone interested in hosting such programs. Here for was created to help people of all ages design, organize, and engage their own networks and beyond, on their own terms.
Find more High Holy Day opportunities here.
A few important community opportunities to be aware of:
The Jewish Federation is seeking candidates (ages 21-35) to participate in the 5th cohort of PDX Pathways, which will be held virtually. PDX Pathways is a mentoring and leadership development program for young professionals in the Greater Portland area with generous funding from the A. Victor & Betty Rosenfeld Leadership Development Endowment Fund of the Oregon Jewish Community Foundation. Pathways fellows spend five months in a robust cohort environment learning about the Portland Jewish community, meeting in a small mentoring group, and making connections with other young adults. The program will run January through May, 2021.
The program has had enormous success with 70% of participants currently serving on a Jewish agency board or committee. Please find more information and the application here (applications are due by October 16).
The Oregon Jewish Community Youth Foundation, (OJCYF) now in its 18th year, is accepting applications from teens in grades 9-12 interested in deepening their connection to tzedakah and tikkun olam. With a new online program this year, Jewish teens from all over Oregon and SW Washington are able to participate.
OJCYF provides teens with a Jewish framework to explore their interest in social justice and gives them tools to build a better world. OJCYF is a program designed to encourage a lifelong passion for Jewish philanthropy and create deeper connections to the Jewish community. Please send any teen in grades 9-12 to www.ojcf.org for more details or families can reach out directly to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education (OJMCHE) wants to interview you about your experiences living during these uncertain times (COVID-19, racial justice, civil unrest, etc.). The Council for American Jewish Museums (CAJM) provided a grant to create a robust repository of our community’s experience. They hope to capture 150 stories from people of all ages (interviews last approximately 30-40 minutes). If interested in participating, please email Alisha Babbstein at OJMCHE to sign up or to ask for more information.
Shabbat shalom, please do review our Annual Report, and have a safe and healthy Labor Day weekend.