It is amazing how quickly we have adapted to virtual experiences. It has basically become the norm. This week I want to highlight some major virtual opportunities that may be of interest to you.
The Jewish Federations of North America General Assembly (GA) takes place annually. It is an inspiring program with rich content and every year Portland sends a strong delegation. This year is unique. Without the ability to convene a large group in person, the entire program will be taking place online – and over 10,000 participants have registered to date
! With no registration fee (it is completely free), we want to encourage as many of our community members to participate in the GA this weekend, October 25-27 (feel free to participate in whatever sessions are of interest to you
). You can see the entire program and register at this link: https://generalassembly.org/
. There are two major plenaries taking place in addition to many “smaller” subject specific sessions. The two plenaries are:
Federation Together (Sunday, October 25 at 4:00-5:15 pm) will include a creative roll call of all 146 Federations, in addition to music, inspiration, and a look back at how the Federation system has responded locally and globally to the pandemic. We will also feature remarks by Israeli leadership -- Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Alternate Prime Minister Benjamin Ganz, and opposition leader Yair Lapid. We are also excited to welcome authors Priya Parker and Robert Putnam in conversation, which will be followed by a Jewish communal response panel.
Jewish Together (Monday, October 26 at 10:30-11:45 am) will include performances by the Maccabeats, Idan Raichel, Duvid Swirsky, and Neshama Carlebach. The plenary will also include remarks by Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, a conversation between Isaac “Bougie” Herzog and Idan Raichel, and a panel discussion about collaboration and adaptation in a post-Covid world. This plenary will highlight and celebrate the role of the Federation system as the convener of the broader Jewish organizational ecosystem.
One word matters most right now -- VOTE!
An extraordinary consensus exists among Republicans and Democrats, historians, and diplomats, national security officials, and other experts that the stakes of the U.S. election are as high as they have ever been. And this is particularly the case given the central place the United States today holds in the global system.
At this moment we can only speculate about the outcome, but by November 6 we will take a deep dive into what the outcome means for the Jewish communities and the US-Israel relationship. Join CNN Analyst Bakari Sellers, JTA Washington Bureau Chief Ron Kampeas, other guest speakers and a team of Jewish communal experts offering insights into how the election will impact our public policy agenda. This post-election webinar will take place on Thursday, November 6 at 8:00 am. REGISTER HERE
Speaking of the upcoming elections…a coalition of organizations and religious groups has released the following statement:
A Call for Peace and Civility
There comes a time when people of goodwill, whether nationally or locally, must reach out to their fellow citizens. Now is that time. We believe it is urgent that the City of Portland, Oregon and surrounding communities heed a specific and public call for peace, calm and civility.
We fully acknowledge the peaceful protests calling for long overdue racial and social justice. At the same time, we continue to witness the persistent political and social unrest occurring in the United States, especially in our beloved City of Portland (affectionately, the City of Roses). We are also deeply concerned about the divisiveness and potential for violence around the upcoming elections. Wherefore, United in Spirit, in conjunction with other community-based organizations and social justice advocates, issues a clarion call and appeal for peace and civility.
United in Spirit (A Portland-based coalition reinvigorating the historically positive relationship between the African-American and Jewish communities which includes Jewish Federation of Greater Portland, NAACP-Portland Chapter, Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education, Dialogues Unlimited, LLC and Remember the Hope Christian Fellowship), along with our allied organizations (Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, Archdiocese of Portland, Latino Network, Congregation Neveh Shalom, Portland Kollel, Vancouver Avenue First Baptist Church, Congregation Kesser Israel, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Native American Youth and Family Center, Episcopal Diocese of Oregon), asks for the immediate cessation of violence and destruction of property. While we acknowledge that the destruction of property is of secondary concern to violence against people, we condemn all forms of violence. Our appeal is for civil discourse. We ask every person of goodwill to pursue conciliation rather than polarization. Let peace and civility return to the City of Portland and the metropolitan area.
A press conference is scheduled for October 30 at 11:00 am at Pioneer Courthouse Square with leaders from the various organizations and communities.
Okay – it is time to Stand Up Portland! Coming live to you on Saturday, November 7 is the Jewish Federation’s Centennial Year Virtual Gala.
The night will be jampacked with fun and the spirit of community! Bring the whole family! It will start off with a virtual dance party and photo booth (we will explain how it works) followed by our comedy headliners -- Carol Leifer and Elon Gold. And, of course, you will have the opportunity to make your gift to the 2021 Campaign Community Needs. Our time together will be filled with fun, laughter, and truly benefit our community. Register your whole family here!
Finally, yesterday morning we held our second program of our Thoughtful Thursday
series. Yossi Klein Halevi, noted journalist and author, spoke to us from Jerusalem. Topics included Israel’s handling of the pandemic, prospects for regional peace, current Israeli politics, the upcoming U.S. elections, and his most recent book, Letters To My Palestinian Neighbor
. If you are interested is what is happening in Israel today I encourage you to listen to this recording
Shabbat shalom and I need to rest up for all these programs.