I am excited to share that our Annual Campaign continues to grow. We are now entering the final 20 days of our 100 Days of Impact and the end of the calendar year. Our campaign currently stands at close to $2.7 million. Thank you to those who have made your commitment! We are working hard to raise an additional $400,000 in the next three weeks. We can only do this with your support – please make your pledge today!
Thank you to those in our community who pay their pledges year after year. Our campaign and allocations process are based on pledges, yet our local and overseas partners rely on actual dollars received. Our community should be very proud that our payment rate is in the top 10 of Jewish Federations across North America. That is a real testament to the strength of our Jewish community. So, do not miss out on year-end tax advantages by paying your pledge online or by calling 503-245-6219.
How about something a bit lighter and more joyous this week (and not just because it is Chanukah)?!
PORTLAND TIMBERS -- Major League Soccer Champions!!!! How does that sound?! How exciting was it last weekend to watch our home town team win it all? The first championship for Portland in almost 40 years.
Having your team win the championship is something very special. I fondly recall my first lunch with Harry Glickman after I came to Portland where he shared his memories of the 1977 Trailblazers championship season. It is such a proud moment for the entire community!
I have been fortunate to have my share of these experiences. I was a college student in Atlanta at the public announcement of that city being awarded the 1996 Olympic Games (everyone expected Athens would be the host of the Centennial Games). I lived in Baltimore when they won two championships – one with the 1995 Baltimore Stallions winning the Grey Cup (Super Bowl of the Canadian Football League -- yes, Baltimore had a CFL team) and the other being the Baltimore Ravens winning their first Super Bowl in 2001. And, I had just moved to Philadelphia when the Phillies won the World Series in 2008.
Fun Philadelphia championship parade story – the Jewish Federation office was one block from the start of the parade route. I remember standing with my son at the very start of the route with great excitement as the team rolled by. All too quickly, in less than a minute, our parade experience was over. I suddenly learned, once you see the team and they go past where you are standing, the parade for you is over. I expected it to be so much more.
My son and I then walked back to the Federation office. When we arrived everyone who decided not to attend the parade was all excited and giddy. As it turned out, our building was on the street the parade used as a staging area. Almost all the players came inside the building to use the bathroom while waiting for the parade to begin. Those who decided not to see the parade got autographs, photos, etc. with the players. Now THAT would have been a much more exciting parade memory!
So, why did I share (bore?) you with these stories…because community pride makes a difference! As a Jewish community we should take great pride in the impact we are having in our metro area, as well as in Jewish communities around the world. We should feel great about the programs, services and infrastructure we have created throughout the generations. We, however, also recognize that we can never rest on our laurels if we are going to be remain a “championship Jewish community.” We must continue to adapt – just like every sports team has to do. Owners, managers and players (lay leadership, professionals, and service recipients) change, new people get involved, alternative ideas get shared, and everyone works to learn the latest and greatest winning strategies.
We may not “win” in our communal efforts every day. But our record is solid! In fact, when a team wins a championship, everyone starts studying and trying to copy what you are doing. The same holds true in Jewish communal life. I am proud to say that Jewish communities around this country are watching and inquiring about what is happening in Jewish Portland and SW Washington. Unlike so many other communities, our campaign continues to increase…we are growing our donor base…we have seen positive organizational mergers…successful capital campaign efforts…new models of staffing structures – people are studying Portland’s blueprint for success. In many ways we are that “team” other communities wish to be!
Let’s bask in our “championships” and communal successes and keep it going for many generations to come. Everyone loves being a part of a winning team!
Shabbat shalom and enjoy the rest of Chanukah (upcoming Chanukah activities).
PS – It is important for me to state that the Jewish Federation unequivocally denounces the inflammatory rhetoric by presidential candidates in recent days. Earlier this week we posted on our Facebook page and website the following statement from the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (national coordinating and advisory body for the 16 national and 125 local agencies comprising the field of Jewish community relations including our JCRC).