IMPORTANT – The Women’s Philanthropy IMPACT event withNew York Times columnist, Bari Weiss, has been rescheduled for May 6 . Ms. Weiss will be on special assignment during the original date in March.
For the past several weeks, our Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) has been working with the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education on state legislation to require the teaching of the Holocaust and other genocides in Oregon's public high schools. Disturbing national trends have made this legislation (Senate Bill 664 ) a high priority for the JCRC. A survey conducted last year by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany indicated that 22% of millennials haven't heard of the Holocaust or aren't sure whether they've heard of it; 31% of American adults (41% of millennials) don't know how many Jews were killed in the Holocaust; 41% of Americans (two-thirds of millennials) can't identify what the death camp Auschwitz was.
The bill requires curriculum that “prepares students to confront the immorality of the Holocaust, genocide and similar acts of mass violence and to reflect on the causes of related historical events,” and to “develop students’ respect for cultural diversity and help students gain insight into the importance of the protection of international human rights for all people.” The bill, which is still in draft form, also directs the state department of education to give technical assistance to school districts to help them teach the new curriculum. Governor Brown has submitted the following amendment, “The State Board of Education shall include Holocaust and genocide studies in the next social science standards adoption cycle established by the State Board.”
On Wednesday, Bob Horenstein, our JCRC director, and Judy Margles, the executive director of OJMCHE, testified in support of the bill before the Senate Education Committee. They were joined by several others, including Holocaust survivors, representative of the governor's office, teachers, students, and 8th graders from the Portland Jewish Academy, each presenting a compelling case. Clickhere to watch the testimony (start at the 5 minute mark) and here is a news report from KGW .
We will keep you posted as the bill moves through the state senate.
In addition to SB 664, the committee is also considering a resolution to honor Alter Wiener (z"l ), a Holocaust survivor who shared his life story with thousands of Oregon middle and high school students and died a short time ago.
Yesterday, a small leadership group of the JCRC had the opportunity to meet with Portland Police Chief Danielle Outlaw. Although I cannot share much of what we discussed, I want you to know she was forthright, open, and thoughtful.
She did discuss her recent trip to Israel under the auspices of the Anti-Defamation League and we talked about the recent vote of the Portland City Council to withdraw from the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF).
Did you miss Purim this week? It is typically celebrated on the 14 th of Adar, which was this past Tuesday. This year, however, we celebrated Purim katan, a minor holiday during those years when there is a leap month – a second month of Adar. In a leap year that has two Adars, Purim falls in Adar II so that the redemption of Purim will fall close to the redemption from Egypt. An extra month of Adar is added in seven out of every nineteen years and will not happen again until February 2022.
This question of when to celebrate Purim (Adar I or Adar II) is actually the last law discussed in theShulchan Arukh, the Code of Jewish Law , written by Joseph Caro in the 16 th century.
Unsure if you watched last night at 5:45 p.m. the launch of a rocket carrying a communications satellite for Asia, an Air Force research payload, and, most importantly, the Israeli Beresheet lunar lander. If successful, Israel will become only the fourth country to land an aircraft on the moon. While the Apollo missions reached the moon in three days, this mission will take about 40 days. You can learn more here . Let’s hope for a success.
Finally, I would be remiss if I did not extend a well-deserved mazel tov to Harry Glickman, founder of the Portland Trail Blazers. Harry will receive the John W. Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award from the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award is considered the most prestigious award presented by the Hall of Fame outside of enshrinement.
“I believe one of the most important reasons I was selected by the Hall of Fame is because Portland has proven it can support a small market franchise,” said Glickman, now President Emeritus of the organization. “For this, I thank the fans of Portland and everyone else responsible for what I consider to be the greatest honor I have ever received.”
Let me add a short personal story that emphasizes Harry’s comments, but also shows what he has meant to this city. I have had the pleasure of having lunch with Harry on several occasions, and nothing is more fun than hearing his stories, especially when with his friend Ray Packouz.
One time, following lunch, I was walking with Harry to his car. As we walked, a man in his 30s approached us. He looked at Harry and asked, “Are you Harry Glickman of the Trail Blazers?” Harry replied “yes” in his distinctive booming voice. The young man then asked, “Can I give you a hug? I just want to thank you for all the incredible memories you have given to me.” They hugged. It was a very special moment.
Harry, congratulations and thank you for all you have done for this city, the game of basketball, and all its fans.