WOW! That is all I can say. This week is the grand opening of the new Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education (OJMCHE) now located at 724 NW Davis and you have to make a special trip. The new space, double the size of their former building, looks fantastic! Just wait until you walk in and see their initial main exhibit created by internationally celebrated Russian Jewish artist Grisha Bruskin.
Alefbet: The Alphabet of Memory are visually stunning and colorful large-scale tapestries alongside the artist’s preparatory drawings and related gouache paintings, all “united by themes that reference Kabbalistic and Talmudic teachings, Hebrew bible narratives, and the folkloric traditions of Russia.” Moreover, there is a fantastic computer set-up that explains each character in the tapestries.
In addition, with the museum’s grand opening, OJMCHE will now have three core permanent exhibitions:
• Discrimination and Resistance, An Oregon Primer
• The Holocaust, an Oregon Perspective
• Oregon Jewish Stories
These well-designed exhibits allow one to move easily from one exhibit to the other. Moreover, they are excellent teaching tools for the thousands of schoolchildren and other visitors to the Museum. And, in today’s current environment, they could not be more timely.
There are several other exhibits on display including a Judaica collection and a current exhibit of drawings by architect Herman Brookman, the designer of Congregation Beth Israel. Plus, there is a wonderful and creative children’s area.
The grand opening, free and open to the public, is this Sunday from 12:00 noon – 4:00 p.m. Don’t miss seeing their new space, the wonderful exhibits, and perhaps have a nosh at Lefty’s Café on the main floor. What a wonderful new addition to our Jewish community and a benefit to Portland as a whole. Go check it out!
I want to express a personal thank you to Mayor Ted Wheeler and the City of Portland. On Monday morning, a large banner stating “Jews did 9-11” was placed on the pedestrian bridge near Exit 19 (Powell Boulevard). Once we were notified, the JCRC immediately contacted the Mayor’s Office and they were very responsive and supportive. The banner was removed. With all the challenges facing our city, fighting hate must always be on our mind.
I had the opportunity this week to learn more about our City’s “houselessness” (I learned “homelessness” is not the appropriate term as many of these people may have a home (their own tent, shelter area, etc.), yet do not have their own house.) issue with Jewish community advocate Andy Olshin. I visited the ReBuilding Center on North Mississippi and went over to the Hazelnut Grove houseless village where 19 people live in tiny houses. I know there are many ideas and perceptions regarding this village and others. I must share that the people I met could not have been more warm, open and engaging in sharing their personal stories. It was truly an eye-opening and inspiring tour. At the end of our visit, Andy and I talked about ways our Jewish community can play a more active role in serving these individuals. More to come in the weeks ahead.
Join the Greater Portland Jewish community as we come together to celebrate a different kind of Jewish pride. We will soon be participating in Pride Weekend here in Portland with a dozen Jewish organizations coming together for a weekend of celebrating. Friday afternoon we will be decorating signs and buttons at Cedar Sinai Park. Friday evening, four organizations will be hosting Pride Shabbat dinners and Sunday we will be marching together in the Pride Parade. For more details about the event and to see all our fabulous partner organizations head to www.jewishportland.org/pride.
Mazel tov to Portland’s own, Tivnu, for being selected one of Slingshot’s 50 most innovative Jewish organizations in America.
Twelve years ago, Slingshot was created by and for next-generation funders in response to a need. A group of young inheritors of wealth emerged from Grand Street, a next-gen network run by 21/64. They had a clear sense of the change they wanted to make in the world but needed a tool to help them navigate the Jewish landscape. They set out to create a resource to find the most cutting-edge, innovative programs. Slingshot was born. At the time, the creation of the guide sought to expand the boundaries of Jewish life to encourage innovation. Today that vision resonates in a whole new way.
Slingshot adopted a new definition of innovation, understanding it is a mode of operating, of finding new ways to create impact. With recognition that the field has expanded beyond a one-size-fits-all approach, Slingshot introduced life-cycle stages into the process, overhauling the application and evaluation methodology, examining what innovation looks like from start-ups to mezzanine and legacy institutions. Click here for the full list of 50 organizations.
Don’t miss the 25th annual Portland Jewish Film Festival opening June 11, produced by the Northwest Film Center and co-presented with the Institute for Judaic Studies. Federation is proud to continue its sponsorship of this annual community cultural gem.
Join us for two sports related Jewish Heritage Nights: Wednesday, June 28 at the Portland Thorns and Tuesday, August 8 with the Hillsboro Hops. These events, co-sponsored by the Jewish Federation and the MJCC, are open to people of all ages. Get your tickets now at the links above.
Finally, please join us next Tuesday, June 13 at 4:30 p.m. at Congregation Neveh Shalom for the Jewish Federation’s 97th Annual Meeting. Rabbi Jay Moses, Vice-President of The Wexner Foundation, will speak about Leadership the World Needs in the 21st Century. It promises to be an informative and fun program.