Yesterday we commemorated International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which marks 77 years since the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. We hold the memory of six million Jewish victims and millions of other victims of the Holocaust in our hearts. We honor survivors locally and everywhere. We are grateful that our Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education teaches every day about the consequences of hate, oppression, and discrimination to help prevent future genocides. Zichronam livracha -- may the memory of those murdered in the Holocaust be for a blessing.
One of the keys to any community is the development of future leaders. Five years ago, the Jewish Federation created PDX Pathways, generously funded by the A. Victor & Betty Rosenfeld Leadership Development Endowment Fund of the Oregon Jewish Community Foundation. PDX Pathways is an innovative program that provides Jewish young adults with networking opportunities, exposure to meaningful Jewish experiences, as well as access to and mentoring from prominent community and business leaders.
Please apply if you are:
- A professional who identifies as Jewish in the Greater Portland community ages 21-35;
- Wanting to connect with the Portland Jewish community, ready to participate and hoping to engage further;
- An enthusiastic learner with curiosity to know more about the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland and the Portland Jewish community, as well as your potential role as a leader;
- Open and receptive to new ways of learning and to trying new ideas.
Applications are due by February 20th and can be found here. Interviews will take place the first few weeks of March and learning sessions will begin in April. If you have any questions please contact Sonia Marie Leikam.
Mazel tov to B’nai B’rith Camp for surpassing their $14 million goal for their historic Second Century Capital Campaign! Over the past decade, over 300 donors helped make this a reality. Click here to learn more about the capital investments made at the camp to benefit children for many years to come and photos of what has already been completed. Yasher koach to the volunteer and professional leadership of BB Camp for making this a reality.
The Jewish Federations of North America’s Center on Holocaust Survivor Care and Institute on Aging and Trauma awarded 55 grants totaling $5,325,000 (80% of funding comes from the federal government), with $90,000 over two years coming to our local Jewish Family and Child Service (JFCS). Grantees will deliver social services to Holocaust survivors, diverse older adults with a history of trauma, and their family caregivers. JFCS will be able to grow its outreach capacities to serve even more people through a partnership with the KAVOD Survivors of the Holocaust Emergency Fund.
This grant will continue JFCS’s work in developing person-centered, trauma-informed (PCTI) programs for Holocaust survivors, older adults with a history of trauma, and their family caregivers. PCTI is an innovative approach that promotes trust, dignity, strength, and empowerment of all individuals by incorporating knowledge about trauma into agency programs, policies, and procedures. Some estimates suggest that up to 90% of older adults in the United States have experienced a traumatic event during their lifetimes, which can affect them as they age. The challenges have become even more acute with social distancing and the threats posed by COVID-19.
Last night, the Jewish Federation sponsored a discussion on the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes for Jews in relation to cancer. We appreciate our presenters: Senator Dr. Elizabeth Steiner Hayward, Dr. Brett Sheppard, and Dr. Jonathan Brody, all affiliated with OHSU. A recording of the session can be found here.
Next week begins Jewish Genetic Screening Awareness Week and we are proud to partner with JScreen. Genetic testing is an incredible tool that can help ensure a healthy Jewish community today and for generations to come. Our community is at higher risk for certain genetic diseases and hereditary cancers. Knowing your genetic risk factors allows you to take action and be proactive about your family’s health.
Here are some helpful resources:
February is Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance, and Inclusion Month (JDAIM), a national unified effort among Jewish organizations worldwide to raise awareness and foster acceptance and inclusion of people with disabilities and mental health conditions and those who love them. JDAIM is a call to action to each one of us in accordance with our Jewish values, honoring the gifts and strengths that we each possess.
The Harold Schnitzer Family Program in Judaic Studies at Portland State University will be hosting the 17th annual Gus and Libby Solomon Memorial Lecture on February 10 at 5:30 p.m. via Zoom. Dr. Mijal Bitton, co-founder of the Downtown Minyan in New York City who earned her doctorate from New York University will be speaking. Her topic is "American Jews in 2022: Who Counts? And Why That's Important."
In recent years, American Jews have become much more aware of the diversity of their community. American Jews are not only Ashkenazi Jews whose ancestors immigrated to the United States from Eastern Europe, but also Sephardic Jews, Mizrahi Jews, Jews of color, and Jews of many other backgrounds. In this talk, Dr. Bitton explains why understanding this diversity and its implications is so crucial for the future of American Jewry. Register here for the free program.
Registration is now open for Weekend in Quest 2022, scheduled for March 5-6 and under the auspices of the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education. The program will be presented virtually over the course of two days, honoring the program’s roots as a Shabbaton study weekend. This year’s focus will be “How the Soviet Jew Was Made: Literature, Culture, Humor” with scholar in residence Sasha Senderovich, Assistant Professor in the department of Slavic Languages and Literatures and the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies, and a faculty member at the Strom Center for Jewish Studies, at the University of Washington. Lectures will include: Hammer and Pickle: How Soviet Jews Joked—And Were Joked About; Rooted and Rootless: History, Memory and Cultural Mythology; and Scenes of Encounter: How American Jews Imagined Soviet Jews—and Vice Versa. Registration is only $18 per household.
The Sussman Fund, established in 1981 by Lillian and Gilbert Sussman to provide grants to Jewish students from the Portland Metropolitan area toward their higher education, is currently accepting applications for the 2022-2023 academic year. In keeping with the founders' wishes, students pursuing undergraduate studies towards a degree in an accredited college or university in the United States are encouraged to apply for grants from this fund. Awards will be given to 2-5 recipients in the amount of $1,000-$1,800 and will be notified in April 2022. Please click here to apply.
Shabbat shalom and I hope you participate in these outstanding opportunities.