It is that time of year when we begin our Community Campaign. Today marks the start of what we call 100 Days of Impact. During this time we hope to complete 95% of our annual campaign through your generosity. As of today, we have raised in excess of $730,000 towards a very ambitious goal of $5 million. We hope you will consider supporting our community campaign to strengthen and enhance Jewish life in Portland, Israel and beyond.
In addition, we invite you to join us for the Jewish Federation Gala on Wednesday, October 26 with noted reporter Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic. It will be a fun and informative evening right before the election.
During this time of reflection prior to Rosh Hashanah, here are some “positive nuggets” to share:
- I received an email from Rabbi Brian in our community which ended with “Make a habit of remembering the wonderful.” We all need to do more of that!
- Several Sundays ago I went on Facebook (something I do rarely) and watched as the Women of the Wall sang a beautifulsong from their siddur (prayer book) together. What made it even more incredible is the music was written by Portland's own Beth Hamon. For those with a guitar or piano, feel free to give it a try, or listen to it here.
- Here is a beautiful note from a family that received a Jewish Right Start incentive grant for their son to attend a Jewish pre-school:
I want to reach out and thank you SO much for contacting me and making it possible for Joshua (not his real name) to attend preschool this fall. My eyes are full of very happy tears thanks to you and Jewish Right Start. (Several of Joshua's friends began preschool this fall and I was super happy for them, yet my heart ached for Joshua and wished the same for him.) Joshua’s ability to attend Jewish pre-school would not have been possible for us without assistance. So much gratitude and many blessings your way! Thank you, thank you! Baruch HaShem!
- As part of our continuing outreach into the community, come visit us this Sunday from 11:00 – 2:00 at New Seasons in Raleigh Hills for a special apple and honey tasting and New Year's greetings from Federation.
- In regard to your own preparations for the High Holidays, take advantage this Sunday of learning with many of our Greater Portland-area Rabbis at Yom Limmud at the MJCC. Registration is still open and walk-ins are welcome.
For those seeking High Holiday services and connections, please click here for a full community listing. In addition, for those ages 22-30, do not miss the opportunity to get your Passport to Jewish Portland. For $360 you can join a synagogue of your choice, the Mittleman Jewish Community Center, Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education, and get a subscription toOregon Jewish Life magazine.
On a more personal note, many people often refer to the rabbi they either grew up with or have known for a very long time as “my rabbi.” I was saddened to learn earlier this week that Rabbi Rudolph Adler (z”l), “my rabbi,” passed away at the age of 96. Rabbi Adler served as the Senior Rabbi at Congregation Ohev Shalom in Orlando, Florida from 1960-1990. He had a long connection with my family going back to my grandparents. In fact, Rabbi Adler married my parents in 1966, officiated at my bar mitzvah in 1982, and came out of retirement to marry Sarah and me in 1994.
Rabbi Adler was deeply involved in the building of the Orlando Jewish community. He was a native of Kassel, Germany, and a Holocaust survivor. His experiences shaped his attitudes about values and improving the lot of the Jewish and general populations. His concern for others pushed him beyond the synagogue serving as a chaplain at the Orlando Naval Training Center and a regular visitor to Jewish inmates offering prayers and counseling.
We often reflect after someone has passed that we wish we had thanked him/her for this or that or shared how they made an impact on our lives. Two personal stories:
- During my bar mitzvah preparation, Rabbi Adler and I had a conversation about the importance of Jewish education. He told me that every Jew should learn Torah and the siddur so they can feel comfortable being Jewish anywhere in the world. Beyond Jewish education, he believed it's our duty to help educate the non-Jewish world, too. In his eyes, more knowledge translated into less anti-Semitism and that prejudice was based on ignorance. Obviously, I never forgot those sentiments.
- Rabbi Adler was close to 75 when he married Sarah and me. I fondly recall our “pre-marital counseling” meeting. He had two questions he asked all couples before marrying them:
- “How many children do you hope to have?” Our responses (they were different) were not his concern. His message to us was clear -- never allow money to be a consideration when having children.
- “One checkbook or two?” He asked it exactly like that. And I am not sure we had ever discussed the question. We said, “One.” His belief was that entering into a marriage with only one checkbook was an important sign of trust.
Rabbi Adler, thank you for your service to the Orlando Jewish community for over 55 years. Even from a young age I was touched by your scholarship, kindness and warmth towards me and my entire family. May Rabbi Adler’s memory be for a blessing.
Finally, be on the lookout next Tuesday for a wonderful video from Ed Tonkin, Federation’s Chairman of the Board. It will be the first of a new video series Federation will be sharing with our community.
PS -- Sadly, someone painted an orange Nazi swastika on former Portland Mayor Vera Katz' statue along the Eastbank Esplanade. The outpouring of solidarity and support is greatly appreciated.