We have some new subscribers, so welcome to Marc's Remarks,
my weekly email to the community that comes out each Friday morning.
I am delighted to announce that Jessica Anderson, a 24-year veteran of the FBI, has been hired as our new Director of Security for the Jewish community. Gene Moss, our current director, has been promoted by Secure Community Network (SCN) to be a regional director and oversee multiple states' security programs. Jessica begins her new role on February 21 and we look forward to working with her to keep our community safe and secure.
This position is funded via a four-way partnership between SCN, the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland, Oregon Jewish Community Foundation Endowment Fund, and contributions from 17 different Jewish organizations across the region.
Speaking of SCN, the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) is working collaboratively with them to raise $54 million nationwide to enhance security in Jewish communities across North America. This includes matching funds to enable other Jewish communities to have their own security director like we do, as well as provide additional grants for service, hardware, and training expenses in communities who already have a director. The Jewish Federation of Greater Portland will be participating in this effort.
In addition, earlier this week representatives from SCN and JFNA testified on Capitol Hill seeking a doubling of funding from $180 million to $360 million for homeland security grants. Their remarks focused more on “hardening” facilities than calling out the specific forms of antisemitism driving the attacks. As Michael Masters, CEO of SCN, said, “It doesn’t matter the ideology that’s coming through the door… We need to make sure that the door is locked and that the members of our community are alive.”
They also called for an easier and more transparent application process (it is quite daunting and thus too many institutions do not apply) and requested that institutions that are rejected be told why. We will continue to monitor the situation.
Beyond our local security, what more can be done in regard to the fight against antisemitism? For far too long, the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism (SEAS) government position has remained vacant. The SEAS develops and implements policies and projects to support efforts to combat antisemitism both here and abroad. Dr. Deborah Lipstadt, Professor at Emory University and noted Holocaust scholar, is President Joe Biden’s nominee to fill the role. Unfortunately, her nomination process was delayed for 193 days (due to Republicans being angry at her social media posts, especially one directed at Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) who sits on the committee) – until earlier this week.
Lipstadt testified at a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday. She stated “I am an equal-opportunity foe of antisemitism. Unless one is willing to fight Jew-hatred wherever one finds it, one should not be a nominee for this position.”
Her nomination appears to be on track for approval…yet no one knows when that will be. Let’s hope this process concludes in the near future and Dr. Lipstadt can begin her new role – there is much work to be done.
Switching subjects to one I have mentioned before – I love the Olympics! I am mesmerized by athletes who have trained most of their lives for their (one?) chance to compete for their country and to be the best in the world at their sport.
Many of you know that the original Olympic motto "Citius, Altius, Fortius" (Faster, Higher, Stronger) was adopted with the launch of the Olympic Movement in 1894 at the urging of founder Pierre de Coubertin. He wanted a slogan (borrowed from his friend Henri Didon, a Dominican priest who taught sport close to Paris) that expressed excellence in sport. These three words were meant to encourage athletes to give their best during competition.
Last year, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) approved a change to the Olympic motto that recognizes the unifying power of sport and the importance of solidarity. The change adds the word “together.” The new Olympic motto now reads in Latin “Citius, Altius, Fortius - Communiter” or “Faster, Higher, Stronger – Together”
In his remarks before the vote, IOC President Thomas Bach explained the link between the change and the original motto: “Solidarity fuels our mission to make the world a better place through sport. We can only go faster, we can only aim higher, we can only become stronger by standing together — in solidarity.”
This is no different than our Jewish community. For us to meet the needs of future generations, we must work together with common purpose and effort. Perhaps we should even develop our own motto in the Jewish community? Here is one idea in Hebrew – “Hozeh. Masbir Panim. Kallul.” or “Visionary. Welcoming. Inclusive.”
What would your motto be?
Prior to the Games, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) published this article noting all the Jewish Olympians. And for the stat that would make my grandmother proud, from the start of the Games in 1896 to 2021, Jewish athletes have won at least 459 medals in Olympic Games competition.
Speaking of champions, Laurie Rogoway was a pillar of Jewish leadership in Portland for over 30 years. Upon her retirement, the Jewish Federation created the Laurie Rogoway Outstanding Jewish Professional Award. The purpose of this award is to recognize an individual currently working in a professional capacity at a Jewish communal organization in Greater Portland. The nominee must demonstrate outstanding professional work and a commitment to the field of Jewish professional leadership. The recipient will receive up to $1,800 towards a professional development experience or program. Click here to learn more and to nominate someone.
And if you are interested in working in our Jewish community, please check out this new webpage on the Jewish Federation website that includes local job postings in our communal organizations.
Finally, Sunday is the Super Bowl. Good luck to both the Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams -- let’s hope this game is just like the others the past few weekends.