With this being Labor Day weekend (many people being away) and Rosh Hashanah beginning Monday evening, I thought I would wait until next week to share my goals for our community in the upcoming year.
We often talk about tikkun olam — the Hebrew phrase for "repairing the world." We are taught to help the poor, care for the stranger, and recognize the inherent dignity of every human being. It guides our commitment to building a better world. These past few weeks have been difficult for far too many, and, as always, our Jewish community responds.
We have provided relief funds to people in Haiti after the recent earthquake. Hurricane Ida ravaged Louisiana, neighboring states, and now has moved through the northeast with far too many needing our financial contributions and assistance. Thank you to the hundreds who have already donated to these important relief efforts.
We also know about the horrible Caldor Fire encroaching on Lake Tahoe, which has burned over 200,000 acres and is only 20 percent contained. Jewish organizations in the area are providing support for anyone who has been impacted and evacuated. We are also collecting funds to help these families.
In addition, we watched the news as the United States withdrew from Afghanistan. Refugee families from Afghanistan will soon be settling in Portland. The Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education and the Jewish Federation are partnering with the Refugee Care Collective to collect restart kits for these new arrivals.
As you can imagine, most refugees arrive to the United States with next to nothing, but we can help them start rebuild their lives by putting together a simple kit. Click here
...select a kit...and go shopping for the listed items (they need to be new and unused). Place the items in a clear plastic tub that can close and label the top of the container with the restart kit type. We also encourage you to include a hand-written, unsealed note welcoming the family.
There are three upcoming dates to drop off your kit at the Refugee Care Collective warehouse in Tigard (10160 SW Nimbus Avenue, Suite F-3, 97223). The dates are September 18, October 23, and November 20 each from 12:00 noon – 3:00 p.m. You can also drop your kits off at the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education (724 NW Davis Street, 97209) during museum hours Wednesday - Saturday from 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. up until November 19. You kits will be most appreciated.
Closer to home, the Jewish Federation's Women's Philanthropy continues to sponsor Dignity Grows, a program that provides personal and menstrual hygiene products every month to people who cannot afford them. To learn more or to purchase supplies click here.
Sadly, these needs exist. And this is a short list. Fortunately, most of us have the ability to help -- and I hope you will. In the words of our Sages, "The more charity, the more peace.”
On a personal note, I cannot believe this past Wednesday was my 11th anniversary as President and CEO of the Jewish Federation. I continue to be in awe of our Jewish community and am deeply honored to serve in this role. I am also grateful for what YOU do to enrich and strengthen our Jewish community and for reading this blog each week. Please feel free to reply to this email and share any thoughts or ideas you have to better our Jewish community over the next year. I am always interested in hearing from you.
Once again, I want to share with you the Jewish Federation's High Holidays Resource Page for you to see the various opportunities available at local synagogues and Jewish organizations.
During the upcoming holidays, around your dining tables and in your gatherings large and small (indoors and out), I hope you and your family are filled with warmth, connectedness, and love. Shanah Tovah Umetukah -- may your 5782 be filled with sweetness, joy, and only good health!