I recently watched the movie Grease (again) and cannot get the song, Summer Nights out of my head. The song starts, “Summer loving, had me a blast…” So my initial thought for this week’s email was to change it around to be “Loving Summer, had me a blast” and write about my children’s experiences at Jewish sleepaway summer camp. The hard part is that after spending three weeks at camp all I can get out of them is, “Awesome…so much fun…I loved it…I can’t wait to go back next year…” Only a few deeper details have been expressed, including breakfast and Shabbat being the best meals. (I suppose times do not change, since I said the same things about my camp experiences.)
All I know is that over 75,000 children in America are having the experience of a lifetime at Jewish sleepaway camp. Camp participation is truly a “game changer” in Jewish identity building, as well as an incredible maturation experience with being away from home, developing life skills, and, of course, making deep and lasting friendships. I do encourage all of you (understanding that cost can be an issue – yet there are scholarships and incentive grants available) to think about Jewish sleepaway camp (or Jewish day camp) for your children and grandchildren – they will have (Jewish) memories and experiences that last a lifetime.
So, since I can share little about my children’s experiences at camp, let me provide a summer round-up for you:
Last week I wrote about the start of the Olympic Games and commented about the IOC’s decision not to honor the Israeli athletes killed 40 years ago in Munich. For those of you who watched the ceremonies on TV, you heard Bob Costas make a statement, as well as allow for a short moment of silence.
What you may not know is that during the Opening Ceremonies there was, in fact, a moment of silence for the people of London tragically killed in a terror attack. On the morning of Thursday, July 7, 2005 (24 hours after the city was selected to host the 2012 Summer Olympics), terrorists detonated bombs, three in quick succession aboard the London Underground trains and, later, a fourth on a double-decker bus in Tavistock Square. Fifty-two civilians and the four bombers were killed in the attacks, and over 700 more were injured. This did not air on American television, and instead during that time, NBC showed an interview with swimmer, Michael Phelps.
On Sunday, approximately 30 members of the Italian Olympic team held their own moment of silence to remember the slain athletes outside the Israeli team’s quarters.
And then there is Fabien Gilot, a member of France’s 4x100-meter freestyle swimming team that won the gold medal, raised his arm in celebration after the win, revealing a tattoo on his inner left bicep in Hebrew that read, “I am nothing without them.”
The tattoo is a tribute to his grandmother’s Jewish husband, Max Goldschmidt, a Holocaust survivor who greatly influenced his life (yet, unfortunately, passed away earlier this year). Gilot himself is not Jewish.
Based on the success of the three Community Impact Grant funded “Shabbat in the Park” programs last summer (and noting that several synagogues in town have already held some this summer), the Jewish Federation is pleased to sponsor a community-wide Shabbat program on Friday, August 17 at Laurelhurst Park. This Shabbat program is a follow-up to Federation’s eastside study. The program with musical entertainment begins at 6:00 p.m. and is open to everyone! Bring a picnic dinner.
I am pleased to share that the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland has just been named one of the 100 Best Non-Profits to work for in the State of Oregon.
You may have read that Hands On Greater Portland, the region’s volunteer hub, is merging with United Way of the Columbia-Willamette. Our metro region is number two in the nation for volunteerism. This merger will provide the resources to increase the total number of volunteer connections and help match volunteers with community needs. Federation had previously been in discussions with Hands on Greater Portland about collaborating.
After a several month committee process led by Jon Caplan, which included involvement and participation from the vast majority of Jewish organizations, Federation will be moving forward with a central volunteer gateway/clearinghouse/matching effort that will utilize the Hands on Greater Portland database and platform. Launching in January 2013, Jewish community members will be able to find volunteer opportunities from both the Jewish and general communities through one website portal. We are excited about a new way to engage our Jewish community.
Several months ago I shared that the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland is sponsoring a team for the Hood to Coast Relay race on August 24-25 (start time of 1:30 p.m. on the 24th). Several community members signed up to join the team. Unfortunately, someone recently had to drop out and a spot is now open. Due to race requirements, we are looking for someone who can run 10k in under 50 minutes. If you are interested, please reply to this email.
Mark your calendar for Sunday, October 28 for the Campaign Kick-Off Event. Jerry Greenfield of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream will join us for an outstanding evening of fun and inspiration. Plus, all the ice cream you can eat!
In addition, Sunday, November 18 will be SUPER! Federation’s Super Sunday is moving back to the Mittleman Jewish Community Center where we will make it a true community day. Beyond our annual campaign telethon, we will also have community mitzvah projects, and the afternoon will include a concert for all ages with noted Jewish performer, Rick Recht.
We are finalizing Federation’s Annual Report and Donor Honor Roll to the community. We will also include a “final” report on this past year’s Community Impact Grants. We are very pleased with the results. These will be released prior to the end of August.
Shabbat shalom and continue to enjoy your summer.