Only Good Things...

There is always so much going on in our community that I often try to balance my weekly remarks with my own introspective thoughts and major community happenings. Well, this week, I feel there is a lot of community news to share and wanted to pass it on to all of you.

  • Last Saturday night, over 400 people came together for Federation’s Campaign Kick-Off Event, Jewlandia. It was an evening filled with fun (even my friends from the Rose City Rollers made a visit), laughter (two great comedians), and communal spirit. Our Campaign Chair, Kim Rosenberg, could not have said it better when she talked about the amazing history of our community and its vibrancy today. Mazel tov to Dana Hunt and Josh Frankel, Co-Chairs for the evening, and their committee for putting on a fabulous event. Click here to see highlights of the evening.

    We are also grateful to those who made their commitment to Federation’s 2012 Annual Campaign where we saw an 11% increase in giving over last year. In so many ways the evening highlighted the best that Jewish Portland has to offer and we should all be proud to be part of such a wonderful Jewish community.

  • As part of our Community Impact Grants (CIG) process, we received seven different proposals addressing the needs of the Jewish community on the east side of the river. The CIG committee made the recommendation that instead of funding any of the initial proposals it would be best to do a “market study” (done by DHM Research) of the east side Jewish community to better understand their needs, wants, and interests. Federation brought together agency and synagogue leadership to develop an initial set of questions to ask randomly selected focus groups. The two focus groups met this past Sunday and provided some interesting insights. This information will be used to develop a survey questionnaire to learn as much as possible about the “east side Jewish community.” More details in the near future.

  • On Wednesday, Cedar Sinai Park (CSP) learned it will receive $2,035,800 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to construct and operate accessible housing, provide rental assistance, and facilitate supportive services for very low-income persons with disabilities. Kehillah Housing will be a two-story, 14-bedroom building on Cedar Sinai Park’s Southwest Portland campus, offering adults with developmental disabilities affordable housing and access to an array of social services that support their ability to live independently in the community. CSP is grateful to the National Council of Jewish Women, Jerry and Helen Stern and the Stern Family, the Kuni Foundation, and many others for their support in helping make this a reality. This will be a wonderful addition to our community and mazel tov to the leadership at CSP for their vision.

  • I am pleased to report that the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland is sponsoring a team for the Hood to Coast (HTC) Relay. This will be the 31st year for “the mother of all relays” (largest relay in the world) with 12,600 runners making up teams that will cover the 200 miles from Mt. Hood to Seaside. Federation’s team, “2 Life” (36 legs in the race or 2 x chai), has six open slots and they will be determined based on a lottery. Please click here to register as soon as possible if you are interested in participating. Proceeds benefit the American Cancer Society.

  • Our Jewish Federation has been awarded a grant to participate in a national “Multigenerational Family Philanthropy Training Program” sponsored by the Jewish Federations of North America and the Bronfman Foundation. One of the key goals is to work more closely with families and to understand the generational similarities and differences in philanthropic giving. We recognize the need to create permanent endowments on behalf of the Jewish community, as well as to work with families to meet their own current individual philanthropic hopes and dreams.

  • Please do not forget that Super Sunday (community-wide telethon) is scheduled for December 4. The telethon will take place in Hoffmann Hall on the Portland State University Campus and will run from 9:30am–7:30pm. Please click here to sign up as a volunteer and help connect so many people in our community. In addition, please “answer the call” because every contribution does make an impact! 

  • Mazel tov to Irving Potter, B’nai B’rith Camp Board President, who just received the Outstanding Board Leadership Award at the Grinspoon Institute for Jewish Philanthropy Conference. The Harold Grinspoon Foundation is the founder of the PJ Library and PJ Goes to Camp programs. Anyone who knows Irv knows how deserving he is.

  • As an interesting side note (I am unsure why I am actually sharing this), I learned recently of the passing of Carl H. Lindner Jr., of Cincinnati at the age of 92. Mr. Lindner was the largest non-Jewish donor in the country to a Federation Annual Campaign and began donating to the Federation movement in the late 1960s, with the guidance of his business associate Manuel Mayerson, co-founder of American Financial. Perhaps the reason I am sharing this is because I loved the following quote from Mr. Lindner -- “I don’t share your religion, but I share your faith.”

With all of this incredible news and recognition, I, too, have great faith that we are truly building a brighter Jewish community for us all.

Shabbat shalom.



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