This week I thought I would play “catch up” and share several announcements:
The Jewish Federation’s 2015 Annual Campaign is quickly coming to a close on June 30. If you have yet to make your commitment, please join the thousands of others in our community who already have. Together, we are enriching Jewish lives for generations to come.
Earlier this week we watched in horror the flooding in the Houston area (and sadly more rain is on the way). Many parts of the Jewish community have been impacted, as well as several Jewish communal institutions. The Jewish Federation of Greater Houston and their Jewish Family Service have asked for assistance from Jewish communities across the country to help provide for people who have lost their homes, cars, and suffered other damage – please donate now.
This Sunday I will be speaking at Congregation Beth Israel on The Struggle to Maintain Jewish Identity – Tomorrow. I will be speaking at 10:00 a.m. in the Pollin Chapel and the entire community is invited to attend. Please join me as I look forward to hearing your thoughts on our Jewish future.
For the second year, the Jewish Federation is participating in the Foundation for Jewish Camp One Happy Camper program. Any first-year participant at a Jewish overnight camp is eligible for an incentive grant of up to $1,000. Area camps, including B’nai B’rith Camp, Camp Solomon Schechter, and Camp Kalsman, as well as 150+ other Jewish camps across the country are partners with us. Only a few incentive grants remain, so please register as soon as possible and ask your camp for more information.
The entire community is welcome to join us on Tuesday, June 9 at 4:30 p.m. at Zidell Hall for the 95th Annual Meeting of the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland. We are delighted to host one of the Jewish world’s most inspiring speakers, Avraham Infeld, and share the successes made possible through your generosity. Come and learn more – our community should be very proud of its accomplishments and what it is doing to secure our Jewish future.
I want to share the following letter we received from a PJ Library in Portland family recently. We at Federation always appreciate hearing stories from families about programs or services that have made an indelible mark.
We are very thankful for the PJ Library program. We have two kids and both have been receiving books since they were babies. My daughter took a lot of pride in coloring her name sticker even though she is only 2 years 10 months. She will be attending a Jewish Preschool in the fall.
I started attending a monthly women’s group called Soup Salad & Soul put on by Jewish Clark County and one of the segments really hit a cord with me. It was about being proud to have your Tzedakah box out on the counter and having the daily reminder there. That putting a coin a day was better than writing a check once because it offered more opportunities to give. I took that home with me and with the PJ Library tzedakah boxes arriving in the mail it was the perfect way to talk about giving with the kids and showing that our home is a giving place and to always think of others. I wanted to capture the moment to share with them when they get older so they too can carry that all important tradition with them in their lives. I could barely get my 5 year old on the bus he was so excited to start decorating his... But alas he will have to wait until he gets home from school. ;)
This is just one example of how Federation funded initiatives in our community make such an impact.
As we enjoy the sunshine and heat (at least for a few days), please know how grateful the Jewish Federation leadership is for your partnership in making Jewish Portland what it is today. We all recognize that there is more we can do – and with your assistance we can get there. We are always looking at ways to better serve our Jewish community and Jews around the world – this will require adaptive leadership and new thinking. At the same time, we must continue to build on the foundations of our community and our people.
At a staff meeting this week, my team discussed our own vision and values centered on the work we do. During our short exercise, I wrote down four simple words that I believe are a difference maker in strengthening Jewish life – inspiring, inviting, inclusive and interesting. If we can live up to these four values (and I am sure you can think of dozens more), then we will have a brighter Jewish future.