I admit I am not a native Oregonian nor an expert on Portland history. Dare I say outside of Francis Pettygrove and Asa Lovejoy, no one put Portland on the map more than the original “trail blazer,” Harry Glickman (z”l).
So much has been written and said about Harry since his passing on Wednesday. I am sure you have your own memories of this special man. I know I shared this story once before. I had just finished lunch with Harry at a downtown restaurant. After our meal we walked outside and a young African-American man in his 30s walked up to Harry and asked, “Are you Harry Glickman?” Harry responded affirmatively in his deep voice. The young man then asked if he could give Harry a hug. Harry accepted the hug and the young man said, “Thank you for what you did for our city and for me. The Trailblazers made such a difference in my life and so many others.” It was beautiful.
As Harry would say, “You win with good people.” Our city was the ultimate winner because of Harry!
May Harry’s wife, Joanne, his children, and grandchildren all be comforted along with all other mourners in Zion, and may his memory be a blessing.
Thank you for the emails I received last week sharing many ways our Jewish community can more closely work with the black community and other communities of color. In addition, I am uplifted by the response to the racial tensions in our community and the willingness of so many to speak out on injustice and the commitment to change.
There are still some underlying challenges we must recognize. The Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA), our JCRC’s national umbrella body, held a webinar this week with Eric Ward, Executive Director of the Western States Center. He spoke about the white nationalist movement today.
Here are some notable comments from the call:
At the same time, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement is exploiting this moment to get their anti-Israel message out.
Here is an article that provides additional context.
We should not allow these efforts to stop our commitment to working with local black communities, amplifying the voices of black and brown people, including Jews of color, and advocating for policies and laws that address the many injustices in our world. There is so much to do and we will not be distracted from the important work of addressing racism and hate in all forms.
Here is another way you can help. Contact your representatives in DC. A bill in Congress addressing police violence is being debated. The Jewish community wants to ensure that any legislative package includes meaningful reform to prevent police violence.
Send a message to our members of Congress urging them to include in any legislative package eight federal police reform priorities, including on the use of force, police accountability, racial profiling, militarization, data collection, qualified immunity, and training. These priorities have been endorsed by the JCPA and over 440 other civil rights organizations.
Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, in 1965, said, “Few of us seem to realize how insidious, how radical, how universal and evil racism is. Few of us realize that racism is man’s gravest threat to man, the maximum of hatred for a minimum of reason, the maximum of cruelty for a minimum of thinking.”
A few announcements:
Shabbat shalom and hope to see you tonight.
Marc N. Blattner
President and CEO