Exciting and Important
I cannot believe it! In 2017, we were discussing ideas to celebrate the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland’s 100th anniversary in 2020. One of the “big ideas” was to plan a community-wide Centennial Trip to Israel in March of that year. To do this would take incredible planning and substantial financial resources to reduce the cost to make it affordable for families. We have done just that with the incredible support of dozens of very generous donors.
The formal announcement of the Centennial Trip was made five months ago at our Annual Meeting in June, led by our Co-Chairs Priscilla and Tony Kostiner and Kathy Davis-Weiner and Michael Weiner (four community leaders who have chaired other community trips to Israel). Many, including our tour operator, wondered why we would start recruiting for a trip 21 months away. The key was to give families the time to plan accordingly both financially and to clear their personal schedules.
Community “mega-trips” have been done by other Jewish Federations, including most recently Montreal (900 people), Miami (850 people), and Metrowest New Jersey (500 people) – but never Portland. In addition, each of those communities are 3-4 times larger in population and would be considered major Jewish areas. Although the largest trip ever from Portland to Israel was 85 people, we set an audacious goal of bringing 500 people in 2020.
I am excited to share that as of this morning, at the conclusion of our early-bird special and still 487 days away from the trip, we have 410 people registered, including 95 children. This is unbelievable and well beyond our initial expectations! We are not done yet!
What are you waiting for? Visit www.pdxisrael.org today! Join the hundreds who have already signed up for what will be the Trip of the Century!
On a very important and serious note, I am proud to share that earlier this week the Jewish Federation unanimously approved initial funding to hire a Director of Community Security.
This individual, who will be employed by Secure Community Network (SCN), the official homeland security and safety initiative for the Jewish Federations of North America and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, will be housed at the Jewish Federation, yet will serve as a community resource for all Jewish organizations. Their responsibility will be to design, develop, resource, implement and then manage safety initiatives and security programs.
The decision to onboard a security director is not an inconsequential investment. It is, however, one we believe must be done.
There is a significant need for this role as reflected in the threats and incidents currently seen around the nation. With rising anti-Semitism, we are at a point where we must do even more in regard to security for our community. This new Director of Security will help each of our organizations and our community better prepare and respond to both man-made and natural disasters. This professional will also assist with writing security grant proposals for funding from the Department of Homeland Security.
There are 22 other Jewish communities who currently have someone in this role, including Pittsburgh, which they acknowledge helped to save lives due to trainings and community communications. Each city has expressed the tremendous benefit of such a hire.
This is yet another example of the communal role the Jewish Federation takes very seriously – and your generous contributions make it possible. Feel free to reply to this email with any questions or comments. We will keep you informed of our progress.
This has been a difficult week as the wildfires continue to burn in California. The destruction is unbelievable. The Jewish Federation in Los Angeles continues to take donations to help impacted individuals and organizations. You can read more here about the impact on the Jewish and general communities.
At the same time, earlier this week we watched as rockets from Gaza fell into Israel and Israel responded. Fortunately, a cease-fire has been reached and is currently holding.
Three upcoming community events to be aware of:
· This Sunday, Jewish Family and Child Service will be brightening the season for needy individuals, families, Holocaust survivors, and other seniors by providing 160 households with delicious, nutritious Thanksgiving dinners, complete with turkeys and all the trimmings.
JFCS is looking for volunteers to pack food boxes and deliver them from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon at the Mittleman Jewish Community Center. This event is open to all, whether you help with the Thanksgiving food boxes or not. JFCS will also have games and nosh for both adults and kids alike, so bring your friends and family and cheer on the packers and delivery volunteers.
If you are able to be a volunteer driver to deliver the food boxes, please contact Maria Rehbach, JFCS Emergency Aid Coordinator, at 503.226.7079 ext. 128.
· Doing Tuesday – Come out and volunteer Tuesday, November 27 at either location of the Oregon Food Bank from 6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.. It is always such a meaningful and worthwhile experience. For more information and to register click here.
· Super Sunday – Before Chanukah begins on Sunday evening, December 2, join us at the MJCC from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon for a Beach Party to support our Campaign for Community Needs. We made it even easier this year with just one shift to make phone calls to reach out to our community. Register here.
For some lighter news, watch this video. The Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia held its Annual Gala last night and Einstein, the camel, was to join them. He did everything he could to battle the east coast snow, but sadly his ride got stuck. Fortunately, he is safe and back at home. Look at the lengths some people, and animals, will go to to attend a Federation event.
Shabbat shalom and sign up for the Israel trip.
PS – We recently shared that we have changed our email communication tool. I apologize that since May 2018 many of you were not receiving Marc’s Remarks. We hope this has been corrected.