Updates Including Weekly Wednesdays, April 21, 2020

Last Friday night was quite the experience. We held “Unity Shabbat" -- where our Jewish community came together to welcome Shabbat and light candles. Over 1,200 people participated (many more had issues logging on), and in doing so, helped set a world record for the largest virtual candle lighting. To see the pages and pages of faces on the Zoom screen brought a giant smile to my face. And to hear everyone wish each other a “Shabbat Shalom” at the end of the call was heartwarming.
We received dozens of kind comments from people in the community and I want to share two with you:
Tonight’s Unity Shabbat was just fantastic! I feel so proud to be part of this community. As I have made calls to members of the community to check in, everyone has been so grateful and touched by the gesture. The work everyone is doing to foster community at this time is truly making a difference. Tonight's program was a fantastic show of that - the sense of warmth and community connection was palpable…It was very obvious people needed this opportunity to connect and "see" one another. I loved how so many people (my family included) stayed online continuing to call out to and greet one another even after the official program was over. I feel proud to be part of this community. 
What a beautiful idea and coming together for our entire Jewish community. Thank you for making us feel we are not alone.
These comments are better than any world record. And we look forward to doing this again (whether for Shabbat or Havdalah) in the near future. Stay tuned!
In regard the current pandemic and the impact on our Jewish community. I am excited to share some information:
  • This past Friday we made three additional organizational grants bringing our total to date to $244,748:
  • Chabad of Oregon received $6,000 for payroll support and mitigate loss of revenue
  • Portland Kollel received $10,000 for payroll support and mitigate loss of revenue
  • Tivnu: Building Justice received $5,400 to mitigate loss of revenue
  • Finally, as you are aware, the CARES Act provided $349 billion in small business loans that could be turned into grants (Paycheck Protection Program). Many of our Jewish communal organizations applied and to date have received over $2.9 million in funding. We expect another round of loans to be available and hope every Jewish organization who applies receives funding. These funds are a tremendous boost of support.
Today is Yom HaShoah, and communities around the world are upholding the memory of victims of the Holocaust through a public recitation of their names, ages and birthplaces. Keeping the memory of the victims alive fulfills one of the vital tenets of our collective experience – zachor – to remember. The Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education has created a video for this year’s Reading of the Names, normally held at Pioneer Courthouse Square. 
Thank you to Jewish Family and Child Service who work so lovingly and diligently with our community's Holocaust survivors.
Many of us are staying/working from home during these uncertain times. The Jewish Federation of Greater Portland has created a series called “Weekly Wednesday Update” of programs that may be of interest to you. Each will be held on Zoom and is open to everyone.
  • Tomorrow, April 22 at 4:00 p.m. we will hear from OHSU Infectious Disease Specialist, Dr. Lynne Strasfeld. She will discuss where our community is on flattening the curve and what is next. Register Here!
  • Wednesday, April 29 at 2:00 p.m. we will hear from local agency executives on how their organizations are responding to and being impacted by this pandemic.
  • Wednesday, May 6 at 4:00 p.m. we will have the opportunity to speak with United States Senator Jeff Merkley.
We will update you as additional programs are scheduled. Please be on the lookout for emails for each and, for security purposes, registration is required.
Another fun opportunity for you. Bring joy to the residents of Cedar Sinai Park (CSP) and express our gratitude to the caregivers who keep our elders healthy and safe. Join us this Sunday, April 26 for a "Joy Ride" -- a drive-by "parade" with signs, music and smiles as we wave to everyone on the campus. Come ANY TIME between 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. (Note: You MUST enter/exit via SW 62nd side of SW Boundary Street and music must only be played in front of the campus out of respect to the neighbors.)
I would be remiss if I did not mention that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz signed a deal Monday to form a “national emergency government’ that keeps Netanyahu as the prime minister for now.
Israel has spent more than a year under a caretaker government as neither Netanyahu nor Gantz could assemble a coalition government. With the agreement, the country avoids a fourth national election in less than a year and a half.
Yesterday afternoon, the Jewish Federation Board had its regularly scheduled monthly meeting (via Zoom) where we discussed "what happens now and after..." How do we raise the final dollars necessary for our annual campaign? Make allocations decisions for our local and overseas partner organizations with potentially less resources? Address the Jewish Federation's own budget and programming? And, in what other ways can we continue to support our community?
While we cannot predict how the weeks and months ahead will unfold, we do know that, with your generous support, we will be there to meet whatever might lay ahead -- strategically, compassionately, and effectively. These are the hallmarks of the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland's efforts in our community for the past 100 years, and it is how we will go forward together strongly into the future.


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