Since March, I seem to end every conversation with "stay healthy and safe." Now it has extra meaning.
It is horrific to watch what is happening in Oregon, California and elsewhere with these devastating fires. Smelling the smoky air and seeing the haze across the sky is distressing. Lives are being impacted, families being evacuated, and nature is being destroyed. We already know of 10 Jewish families, along with many others, who have lost their homes in Phoenix and Talent (near Ashland), not including what else is happening in the region. People need food, clothing, and housing. They need our help!
Please consider a contribution to our emergency fund where 100% of all contributions will go to assist those impacted by the fires.
As Rosh Hashanah approaches on the eve of September 18, most people who ordinarily attend High Holy Day services will be unable to attend synagogue in person this year due to COVID-19. Despite the challenges, there are so many incredible things happening prior to and during the holidays I want to bring to your attention:
A wonderful place to start when looking for High Holy Day activities is to click here for an expansive community resource. There are so many shofar blowing opportunities, Zoom parties, and so much more.
Cedar Sinai Park (CSP) has two opportunities for volunteers to bring smiles to the senior living campus in Southwest Portland – shofar blowing and creating New Year’s cards for the seniors and adults with disabilities who live at Cedar Sinai Park.
CSP invites shofar blowers to come to the campus and walk to 10 different locations, taking turns calling and blowing. Opportunities are later today at 3:30 p.m. and on Sunday, September 20 at 1:30 p.m.
For those wishing to make cards, know that after six months of separation from family and friends, receiving a simple handmade card makes a huge impact – it warms the heart and dispels feelings of loneliness and isolation. Address the card “From our family to you and yours!” Drop off or deliver your card(s). Mailing address is 6125 SW Boundary Street, Portland, OR 97221. If you decide to drop off your cards, take them to the main entrance at Rose Schnitzer Manor (6140 SW Boundary) and call the reception desk (503-535-4000) to ask them to come outside and get the cards.
For questions about participating in either mitzvah, contact Cathy Zheutlin at 503-535-4038.
If you are looking for some new recipes for the holidays, do not miss this cooking demonstration with James Beard award-winning chef Michael Solomonov on Monday at 5:00 p.m. Click here to register for the program.
P’nai Or is offering pre-High Holy Days opportunities for children and their families. On the last Sunday in Elul, September 13, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon, children ages 6 and older can explore themes of fairness and forgiveness through storytelling, music, and conversation. Everyone is welcome and click here for the Zoom link.
The Oregon Board of Rabbis (OBR) will host Shofar Across Oregon and SW Washington on the second day of Rosh Hashanah. The OBR, together with the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland, invites you and your family to blow your shofar outside your home together with Jews across our region. Go outside at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 20 and blow your shofar or simply listen.
Chabad Centers throughout Portland are offering safe, family-friendly, Shofar in the Park ceremonies also on Sunday, September 20. At each location, the 20-minute ceremony will be held multiple times throughout the day, to ensure smaller groups and proper social distancing. For a list of parks where Chabad Centers will host shofar blowing ceremonies, contact Rabbi Chaim Wilhelm at 503-309-4490.
Add meaning to your Yom Kippur by helping the hungry and the houseless. Portland Jewish Academy, Eastside Jewish Commons, and the Jewish Federation are sponsoring a Mitzvah Morning on erev Yom Kippur, Sunday, September 27 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon. Make meal sacks for low-income children and their families or donate unused, travel-sized toiletries and/or new underwear (any gender and size). Learn more and register by clicking here.
As we settle in with Rosh Hashanah just one week away, please make time to watch the various messages from community leaders during the month of Elul. They are inspiring and reflective.
A reminder, we are co-hosting the showing of the film, Shared Legacies: The African American-Jewish Civil Rights Alliance on September 13 and 14 followed by a virtual discussion of the film on September 16. This feature-length documentary focuses on a proud chapter in modern American history when two communities of different backgrounds — African Americans and Jews — collaborated to transform the moral conscience of the nation. For too many people today, this history of coming together has never been shared or heard. The discussion on Wednesday night will include the filmmaker, Dr. Shari Rogers, Rev. E.D. Mondainé, president of the Portland Chapter of the NAACP, and Rabbi Michael Cahana, senior rabbi of Congregation Beth Israel.
You can register for the program here.
This two-part program is sponsored by United in Spirit, a collaboration between the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland, the Portland Chapter of NAACP, the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education, and Dialogues Unlimited.
Finally, we have officially launched our 2021 Campaign for Community Needs. Organizations need greater financial assistance so your donations matter more than ever. Our goal is to 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.
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 – the extra dollars are critically needed. People are out of work. Mental health challenges and financial assistance needs have increased. Jewish organizations and families are struggling. We can only respond to these challenges with your generous support.
Marc N. Blattner
President and CEO