Join me on Thursday, June 19 from 4:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. at Zidell Hall at the Rose Schnitzer Manor (6140 SW Boundary Street – please use SW 62nd Avenue to arrive/depart the Cedar Sinai Park campus) for the 94th Annual Meeting of the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland. It will be a special night as we share our gratitude to Michael Weiner, who has served as President of Federation for the past three years. We will also welcome David Copley Forman as our next President and Lauren Shleifer Goldstein as our community’s Campaign Chair. In addition, we will formally announce our funding allocations and several new initiatives for our community made possible by your generous contributions to our Annual Campaign. Finally, Michael Novick of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) will discuss the incredible work we are doing to impact global Jewry. Please share this special evening with us and learn more about our communal successes and opportunities.
My son’s 5th grade teacher at Portland Jewish Academy is wonderful. And every few weeks she sends home a folder of past work and assignments and asks each student to select a “proud piece.” She asks them not only to select one, but to also write why that assignment made them so proud.
I am proud to share that the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland has a new, redesigned website. Please check it out at www.JewishPortland.org. I hope you will find the resources useful, as well as easier to navigate. I want to say a special “thank you” to members of my team, in particular -- Nicole Walters, Lauren Burnett, and Rachel Halupowski -- who have spent the past few months working on this project.
Speaking of being proud, this weekend marks the 20th anniversary of the Portland Pride celebration. I know many Jewish organizations will be participating in the parade. Although there are people within our Jewish community who may disagree, a major step forward was last month’s striking down of the ban on same-sex marriage in Oregon, following suit on a trend sweeping our nation. But additional issues continue to persist for the LGBTQ community. I am proud that our Jewish communal organizations continue to welcome and support LGBTQ individuals and their families. If there are ways we can do more, please let me know.
This past week our Greater Portland community witnessed a tragedy as 14-year old Emilio Hoffman was shot and killed at Reynolds High School by another student. Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone impacted and traumatized by this horrific event. At last night’s graduation, 467 graduating seniors and their families came together for their special ceremony. I cannot imagine the emotional “roller coaster” they must have been on. Principal Wade Bakley said it best, “Tonight is your night. Please celebrate loud, celebrate proud so all can hear, including Emilio.”
A hearty mazel tov to all our community’s graduating seniors and their proud families. I hope these students enjoy their college experiences and find their way to involve themselves in Hillel and other Jewish student campus groups, enroll in Judaic Studies and Hebrew classes, take a trip to Israel with Birthright Israel and, of course, we hope you will return home to Portland.
Last week I shared the executive summary of the Jewish Portland Tomorrow report. If you wish to learn more, join us for a webinar with our consultant, Lou Feldstein, on either June 17 or June 18. We are proud to make this available to everyone in our community -- please click here to register. (Town Hall forum dates will soon be announced.)
Finally, next week I will share far more in regard to our allocations and new community initiatives. I am very proud of the work of the Federation’s Allocations Committee and the Jewish Federation Board of Directors for their thoughtful approach, creativity and foresight into how to utilize these precious financial resources to enhance Jewish life here and abroad.
Shabbat shalom and Happy Father’s Day.