News in brief: July 8

Smile Oregon turns 10 this year
In 2007 Smile Oregon co-founders Dr. Judah Garfinkle and Bob Blank, z”l, sat down over lunch to discuss all the care needs of Oregon’s children born with cleft and craniofacial related issues. They looked beyond just the clinical needs and included the kids’ families and communities in their calculus.
“With a cleft or other type of craniofacial birth defect, we know what to do, how to do it, and when to do it, and we can pretty much erase the condition by the time each kid is ready to go off to college,” Dr. Garfinkle says. “We all wish it took only one quick procedure, but that is unfortunately not the case. We need to see the process through for each child to provide him or her with the tools to have a full and thriving life.” 
When COVID-19 disrupted Smile Oregon’s late-April celebratory gala event, the nonprofit refocused on July – Cleft and Craniofacial Awareness Month. 
In Keizer, at Volcanoes Stadium, Smile Oregon is hosting a cruise-in movie showing of “Wonder” and a parking lot parade. The event gates open at 6:30 pm, July 18; the movie begins at dusk. Register at the nonprofit’s website 
Nationwide, 1 in 700 babies is born every year with cleft palate or other craniofacial differences that require surgical repairs. In Oregon, roughly 100 babies every year require medical and therapeutic attention to close the lip and palate, nasal passage and more, as well as to help them eat, learn to speak, feel great about themselves and become happy, healthy, productive people lifelong.
Enter Smile Oregon, whose mission is to ensure that every child born with a facial difference has access to the care he or she deserves. The team required to correct facial differences includes surgeons, pediatricians, speech pathologists, orthodontists, dentists, social workers, nurses, geneticists, otolaryngologists and more.
“We knew we needed to take all comers and decrease all barriers to care to achieve our goals and those of the kids and their families,” Dr. Garfinkle adds, noting the care horizon can add up to $200,000. “It truly takes a village and a concerted effort, along with the financial resources, to provide each child with a winning smile.” 
To donate, visit

Pollin returns as Shaarie Torah Ed Director 
Congregation Shaarie Torah welcomes Sharon Pollin back as Education Director for the coming school year. She previously served in the role in the mid-1990s. Dr. Pollin, in collaboration with Rabbi Joshua Rose, will oversee the youth education curriculum for grades K-10 and help re-envision the overall structure of the program to support future learning.
Sharon has a B.A. in elementary education, M.S. in educational supervision and administration, and a Doctorate in Education Leadership. She studied Jewish text at Pardes Institute for Jewish Studies in Jerusalem, and possesses Doctoral Certification in Jewish Education Leadership. She successfully led the revitalization of the Jewish community day school in New 
Orleans, where she most recently served as Head of School.  
“Adding an educator of Sharon’s caliber to our Shul community is just great all around for Shaarie Torah,” Rabbi Rose said.  “She has incredible chops as an educator and as a teacher, which her experience, track record and resume all demonstrate; she knows Portland; she ‘gets’ Shaarie Torah and the direction we want to move in terms of elevating our programs for our kids and families. In addition, her knowledge of the field of Jewish education puts her in a position to guide us in thinking strategically about our future.  We hit the jackpot.”  
Sharon is an experienced and highly skilled educator whose educational philosophy places learners at the center. She believes students learn best and community thrives when school, families and community join together. She has a deep love of Judaism and for Congregation Shaarie Torah. Sharon believes the current circumstances provide an opportunity to reimagine what a vital, meaningful, engaging 21st century Jewish education can be and is excited to be a part of the shul’s visioning work to ensure its future. The Shaarie Torah community is delighted to welcome Sharon home. 

Shir Tikvah shares High Holidays plans 
Congregation Shir Tikvah ( is exploring a variety of options for an online, spread out celebration of the High Holidays 5781 with no large in-person gatherings.
Observances, events and learning will be spread out over the month of Elul and across the Days of Awe between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The holidays will include live-streamed elements of the service and prerecorded content; individual resources for members to aid in home observance and celebration; and, if deemed safe, a series of small outdoor gatherings for rituals such as shofar and tashlich.
An email to members notes: “We (board of directors and staff) did not arrive at this decision lightly. We share your disappointment at the loss of this cherished community gathering in observance of our High Holy Days. … At the same time, we are excited by the opportunity to try something new. Traditions begin somehow – perhaps we will discover something that will become a memorable feature of future holiday observances.”
Rabbi Ariel Stone is working with staff and volunteer musicians on holiday offerings, including for children of various ages. 
“Throughout our long history as a people, our ability to adapt to adverse circumstances accounts for our enduring vitality,” wrote Administrative Director Katie Schneider. “Coronavirus continues to test our community’s resilience, a test that we are confident that we can pass together.”

JFCS reaches out to Holocaust survivors
Due to recent changes in financial eligibility guidelines, some Holocaust survivors may be newly eligible for reparations, even if they were previously ineligible. Jewish Family & Child Service of Portland can help with this process. JFCS can also help spouses of deceased Holocaust survivors who previously received certain types of reparations in their lifetime if they are now be eligible for payments through a new fund for widows and widowers of Holocaust survivors.  JFCS continues to work in partnership with the Claims Conference to ensure that Holocaust survivors obtain a small measure of justice. 
JFCS wants to connect with all Holocaust survivors in the Portland and broader Oregon community who are not familiar with the agency’s services for survivors. Some survivors also may be eligible for other JFCS services. JFCS offers home care, case management, socialization and emergency aid.
If you have questions about reparations or your or a loved one’s eligibility for Holocaust Survivor Services at JFCS, contact Lead Case Manager Rita Shmulevsky at 503-704-7306 or email her at She speaks Russian and English.

Monthly Mitzvah: Tefillin

To celebrate 36 (double chai) years in Oregon, Chabad of Oregon is promoting a different mitzvah for each month of this year. The celebration is based on the Mitzvah Campaign created by Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, z”l, in 1967. 

In July the focus is Tefillin. Men (age 13 and up) are encouraged to wear the Tefillin every morning excluding Shabbat and Festivals. Tefillin are black leather boxes containing small parchment scrolls of selected portions from the Torah, in which the fundamentals of the Jewish faith are inscribed.
“We’ll be glad to help,” says Rabbi Moshe Wilhelm. “For assistance or more information, call me at 503-957-7842.”



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