It is amazing to me that we are nearing the end of the summer (let’s hope the weather does not change any time soon). For many, school begins next week. I remember what it was like being a child and anxious about the new school year. Who would be my teachers? How much homework would I have? Would school be fun? Now, as a parent, I work hard to convince my children of how great the year will be and how much they will enjoy their new classes and teachers to reduce their levels of anxiety. Not sure if it's easier to be the student or the parent?
I am pleased to share that the Jewish Federation’s 2016 Annual Report is now available online (copies will also be mailed to donors of $100 or more). The report includes a retrospective of the past year, new community initiatives going forward, our full list of allocations from the Annual Campaign, and our donor Honor Roll. We are grateful to the thousands of donors in our community who generously contributed to our Annual Campaign. Together, with your support, our community once again raised in excess of $4 million to provide needed services locally, in Israel, and overseas, as well as to create new initiatives to strengthen our Jewish community for the future. None of this is possible without your philanthropic support!
I do my best to get out and about in our Jewish community to see what is happening and to learn about all the things being offered. This week I visited the Chabad Jewish Center of Hillsboro. Rabbi Menachem Rivkin and his wife, Chaya, have lived in Hillsboro for the past ten years and have built something very special. They have a magnificent and welcoming space and another one currently being completed. They run a Hebrew School, have weekly Shabbat services, adult education classes, and regular learning groups at Intel. It is inspiring to see what they have developed. And, with the new South Hillsboro development in the next few years, we believe the Jewish community will continue to grow in that area.
What makes Hillsboro so interesting is that there is no Jewish infrastructure or institution situated west of Congregation Neveh Shalom and the offices of B'nai B'rith Camp on Beaverton Hillsdale Highway outside of the Chabad Center in Hillsboro. We often talk about the important Jewish needs of those on Portland’s east side, but let’s also remember the ever growing number of Jews who live in the Beaverton, Bethany, and Hillsboro areas who may also feel underserved. And Southwest Washington also requires greater attention. I recognize there is much we still need to do to fulfill our mission of serving the “Greater Portland” area.
As you know, I love summer camp! I had the chance to visit two more Jewish summer day camps in the last 10 days. I had a wonderful experience and was so warmly welcomed at theGan Israel Day Camp during their closing carnival. It was so much fun to see the 80+ children (ages 1 ½ to 11) all having a joyous time. I also visited Congregation Beth Israel’s Camp Sababa, which has doubled in size since last summer. They have an interesting program where they train post-b'nai mitzvah teens to serve as the counselors and planners for the camp. These young people come in for leadership training the week before and then plan the next two weeks of activities and serve as counselors for the younger children. At both camps, all I saw were big broad smiles.
A few quick updates:
- We are still collecting donations for Louisiana Flood Relief (please note in the comment line). Our community should feel proud of its support and every contribution makes a difference.
- Thank you to those who made such generous contributions to our new community mikvah project. We are closer to our $75,000 goal,but your support is still needed. Join the dozens of others who have made a contribution towards the new mikveh, which will be open and accessible to everyone in our Jewish community. The permits have all been approved and construction should begin next month. We estimate it will be open in February/March 2017.
- Last week we announced the new community-wide Passport to Jewish Portland program for young adults ages 22-30. We have already received multiple inquiries from young adults. Please help spread the word.
- For PJ Library families, the Jewish Federation and all its PJ Library community partners are working with the Oregon Zoo for Back to School at the Zoo on September 11. The Oregon Zoo has graciously provided 170 tickets, which are now sold out. But we invite others in the community to join us by calling Laura at 503-245-6219 or click here.
- Good luck to the Jewish Federation sponsored Hood to Coast team. I hope you all have a wonderful experience and do well.
Shabbat shalom. And please note there will be no Marc’s Remarks next week. Enjoy the Labor Day weekend.