This week’s Marc’s Remarks is filled with many major announcements as the Jewish Federation begins its 100th year:
I am pleased to share that after an 8 year hiatus, the Jewish Review will return to our community -- in a new online format. It will be an ad-free, bi-weekly (every other Wednesday) email newsletter (think JTA.org or Forward.com) focused on local news, something our community has been requesting. To say the least, we are very excited by this new venture and see this as a positive way to share news in a timely way to our Jewish community. The first issue will be on Wednesday, March 4, 2020.
Deborah Moon, who worked for the Jewish Review and Oregon Jewish Life for 27 years, will serve as the editor. There is no one who knows more about our Jewish community than Deborah.
Our community also benefits from Oregon Jewish Life magazine. It is a wonderful monthly lifestyle publication that offers feature stories and columns about interesting people, community happenings, and so much more. Plus, they create the invaluable Jewish Community Resource Guide each year.
Lucky for us, our community will now have the Jewish Review and Oregon Jewish Life magazine, two excellent and complementary resources.
Another exciting announcement - after 18 years in our current location, the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland will be moving its offices in May 2020. This new space is well suited to our needs going forward as we begin our second century of serving the Greater Portland Jewish community. It is a smaller space, creates an optimal work environment, and has more available parking.
We recognize that many will wonder why are we moving away from the "Jewish Hub” (across the street from the MJCC, close to other Jewish institutions). This decision was not taken lightly. Our involvement in the community stretches from Hillsboro to Vancouver, Wilsonville to the east side, Beaverton to Gresham – the entire Portland metropolitan area. The Jewish Federation office has never been a “destination” – our team engages throughout the community in partnership with many fantastic Jewish organizations.
The new office is near the Washington Square Mall (we will share specific details in the near future). The new space will not inhibit our ability to be available and accessible. We look forward to meeting you where you are, and, at the same time, we invite you to visit our new office at any time.
I do not think I ever imagined writing this. The Jewish Federation has just purchased “stop the bleed” kits for every local Jewish organization and synagogue. In our ongoing effort to have a safe and secure Jewish community, the Jewish Federation felt it was important to make these kits available. The kits will be distributed and training provided by our Director of Community Security, Gene Moss.
A mazel tov to Chabad of Oregon on their special anniversary. Thirty-six years ago Rabbi Moshe Wilhelm and family arrived in Portland in January 1984 on Rosh Chodesh Shevat (according to tradition the day Moses translated the Torah into 70 languages) and Chabad of Oregon was founded. Thank you to all the Chabad centers around the state and SW Washington for all you do and continue to do for our Jewish community.
Yom Limmud, our community’s 4th annual day of learning, brought together 91 Jewish educators from across our community to learn from 15 peer presenters on a variety of topics. This program is sponsored by the Portland Area Jewish Educators (PAJE) and participants can receive hours towards Oregon State licensure.
This past Monday we remembered civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It is hard to believe he was just 39 years old when he was assassinated on April 4, 1968. The values he stood for - acceptance, equality, non-violent protest - have echoed throughout the five decades since. His speeches were bold and triumphant -- millions listened.
Dr. King said, "Life's most persistent and urgent question, 'What are you doing for others?'" Some examples of helping others:
On Monday, 150 people came out to do good at the MLK Day of Service for preschoolers and their families. This year, activities were centered around the theme, Love Your Neighbor As Yourself. This Federation-sponsored PJ Library event partners with synagogues, schools, and other Jewish community organizations to bring service-learning opportunities to preschoolers. Together they made fleece hats for homeless youth, created blankets for children in hospitals, painted kindness rocks, built helping communities out of Legos, and decorated placemats for Meals on Wheels recipients. You are never too young to start helping others.
Both Maimonides Jewish Day School and Maayan Torah Day School were recipients of a grant from the Legacy Heritage Foundation for their Better Together program. This program enables middle school students and seniors to have intergenerational programs. One school is even making challah and soup with the seniors to be available to the public when one is in need or under the weather.
Portland Jewish Academy and Congregation Neveh Shalom received similar grants in the past and continue to run these types of programs with their students.
While on the subject of Dr. King, here is one additional quote for us all to think about, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
Speak up and let’s celebrate all this excitement!