News in brief May 27

PHOTO: A participant in the gap year program Tivnu: Building Justice works on a project. The gap year program has exended the application deadline for next year (see below).

MJCC Day Camps adapt for summer
On May 22, Mittleman Jewish Community Center announced that MJCC Day Camp is happening, with some adaptations. 
Oregon’s official camp guidelines were released on May 15. The MJCC Day Camp team has adapted summer programs to follow the Oregon Health Authority guidelines for summer camps. 
“Though this does mean that our program will look very different, we are confident that we will provide a fun and safe experience for everyone to enjoy,” read the announcement. 
 MJCC camps will run from June 22 through Aug. 7. Camp hours will be from 9 am to 4 pm. No before or aftercare is available.
Oregon’s summer camp guidelines strictly state that summer camp programs are only for school-age children, rising K-12th graders. Therefore preschool camps have been canceled; however, rising kindergartners can attend the school-age camp.
Specialty camps will not run this summer, though many of the activities that were planned for specialty camps will be incorporated into the classic program.
State guidelines require camps to maintain stable groups of 10 children; each stable group will have two counselors. Groups will remain intact Monday through Friday, though the guidelines allow for groups to change weekly. Given these strict guidelines, MJCC camp capacity will be much lower this summer than in the past.
At this time, swimming pools remain closed in the state of Oregon; until that ban is lifted, campers will not be using the pools. 

Solomon Schechter cancels overnight camp
On May 14, Camp Solomon Schechter announced it will not offer overnight camp in 2020. This decision is guided by recommendations from the American Camp Association, the CDC, the CSS Medical Committee and the State of Washington.
A full year without summer income will create a significant operating loss. Fortunately, Camp Solomon Schechter is one of about 100 Jewish camps eligible for the All Together Now: A Matching Grant for Jewish Overnight Camp from the Harold Grinspoon Foundation. Recognizing the urgency of camps’ situation, the Grinspoon Foundation stepped forward with a matching grant.  HGF will give $1 for every $2 that you donate to CSS. Donate at

Local Orthodox shuls plan phased reopening

Congregation Kesser Israel and other Orthodox congregations have begun a careful phased reopening beginning with outdoor services after Governor Kate Brown issued guidance for gatherings at places of worship in Oregon. 
On Sunday, May 24, Kesser Israel began holding outdoor services once per day, weather permitting. In-person services are limited to 25 individuals and preregistration is required. Face masks and social distancing are required. No children younger than b’nai mitzvah age are permitted, and those over 65 or with risk factors for complications of COVID-19 are encouraged to stay home. No one with a fever or respiratory symptoms may attend.
Other Orthodox shuls also are offering outdoor minyanim – all with attendance capped at 25.
A May 20 letter signed by six Portland Orthodox rabbis notes: “As the state of Oregon begins the reopening process, we look forward to taking the first steps in reestablishing those suspended parts of daily Jewish life that are critical for our community.” 
“It is critical that we adhere to our communal guidelines. Leniency in these matters could quickly escalate with negative results,” notes the letter signed by Rabbi Ken Brodkin, Congregation Kesser Israel; Rabbi Tzvi Fischer, Portland Kollel; Rabbi Gadi Levy, Congregation Ahavath Achim; Rabbi Chanan Spivak, Portland Kollel; Rabbi Shlomo Truzman, Congregation Beit Yosef; and Rabbi Motti Wilhelm, Chabad of SW Portland.
While specifics may differ among shuls, the letter notes it is important to remain vigilant and to protect oneself and others as the reopening begins with outdoor minyanim. 
A letter from Kesser Israel on the same day notes: “As our state begins the reopening process, COVID-19 remains a major public health threat. As we take the first reopening steps, we will be vigilant in protecting the public health and the health of our own congregants.” 
“If you feel that it’s not right for you to attend, you should not do so,” reads the Kesser letter.
For information on the Kesser Israel service schedule, rules and registration, email

In an announcement May 25, Congregation Ahavath Achim also announced the first phase for its trial period starting on Friday morning May 29, for Shavuot services as well as Shabbat morning May 30. Services will be held from 9:30  to 11:30 am both days.  Preregistration will be required for both services.  To see if you meet the criteria for attendance , please email Rabbi Levy at . Anyone not preregistered will not be admitted.


Federation 100th annual meeting June 16

Jewish Federation of Greater Portland’s 100th Annual Meeting will be Tuesday, June 16, 2020, at 4:30 pm on Zoom.

This will be an opportunity to learn more about the incredible resiliency and vibrancy of our Jewish community during a not-so-normal year.

Wexner Heritage Program Director Rabba Yaffa Epstein will deliver the invocation.

Keynote speaker Eric D. Fingerhut is the president and CEO of The Jewish Federations of North America. Prior to his appointment at JFNA, he served as the president and CEO of Hillel International from 2013-19. At Hillel, he led the organization’s Drive to Excellence, which resulted in doubling the number of students engaged by Hillel each year to over 130,000 and the total funds raised each year to nearly $200M.

Fingerhut has also had a varied and distinguished career in public service and higher education. He served as Chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents from early 2007 to 2011 and represented Ohio’s 19th congressional district in the U.S. Congress from 1993 to 1994. In 2004, he was the Democratic Party’s candidate for U.S. Senate. 

Tivnu extends deadline for gap year
Tivnu Gap Year has extended the application deadline to June 1, as space permits. Tivnu is optimistic that our 2020-21 Gap Year program will continue as planned, in person. Tivnu will implement whatever modifications are needed to keep participants and the people they work with safe and healthy. Now more than ever, it is vital to get to work building a better world.
Tivnu Gap Year participants connect Jewish life and social justice through individualized internships, discover the Pacific Northwest and create a home together in Portland. Whether you spend your year teaching, advocating for immigrants’ rights, growing food with kids, building tiny houses or cooking for houseless Portlanders, you’ll know you made a difference. 
For more information, email, call 503-232-1864 or visit

Moishe House seeks housemate
Moishe House Portland seeks a dynamic young adult between the ages of 22-30 who is excited about living with others and creating a Jewish community for their peers in the Portland area. Residents of Moishe House create seven programs per month (during quarantine, three or more virtual programs per month). They receive a generous rent subsidy, programming budget and support from Moishe House staff.  
An ideal candidate is fun-loving, welcoming, creative and a great communicator with time and energy to commit to about 10 hours per week.
After three years of living in Moishe House Portland, Jake Sullivan will move out in July. Throughout his time at Moishe House, he has lived with 11 roommates, gone on 14 learning retreats and helped put on more than 250 programs. Therefore, Moishe House has an opening beginning July 1 (date is flexible, especially considering the circumstances). If you or someone you know might be interested, please contact one of the residents or email us at
Application deadline is June 1. Applications can be found on the bottom of this page

The Challahman restarts home delivery
The Challahman will restart home delivery on June 5; orders need to be placed by 10 am, Tuesday, June 2.  
The Challahman, Portland-baked kosher challah, has moved off the grocery store shelves and back to its roots with a home delivery.
When you order two loaves of challah, we will donate a third loaf to the Holocaust Survivors Program of the Jewish Family & Child Service, which provides weekly Shabbat meals for survivors in the Portland area. The minimum order is $18 for two loaves.
“I started the business after going on a Federation mission to Israel in 2012 and seeing the amazing displays of challah in Machane Yehudah,” says Challahman founder and owner Rich Meyer.
Initially, he baked challah for delivery to Portland Jewish Academy where his son, Avi, was an eighth-grader. He soon added online orders, then grocery stores. Challahman was available at about two dozen stores and restaurants around Portland and Vancouver, including Lamb’s, Food Front, Fred Meyer and Green Zebra. 
“The bakery where we make the challah reduced its hours during COVID-19, so we weren’t able to continue the grocery business,” says Rich. “I still got lots of inquiries from people looking for challah and from people who prefer not to shop in stores, so I’m trying out home delivery again.”  
Order online at

NE PDX Chabad puts grant to good use
Chabad of Northeast Portland has been busy putting its grant money from the COVID-19 Ermergency Campaign to work.
One of the projects that the grant has supported is the Chesed Connection, which has been a focal point for NE Portland Chabad over the past eight weeks.
Rabbi Chaim Wilhelm shared some of the impact the support has had: "During the month of May, there have been 165 Shabbat food package deliveries by the Chesed Connection to homebound seniors and immuno-compromised individuals. Last week we started working with JFCS and delivered to their Eastside clients as a friendly pick-me-up."

TischPDX opens cohort applications
TischPDX has just opened its application for the 2020-21 local leadership cohort.  TIschPDX is now part of Upstart's Entrepreneur Sprints program.
"We’re excited to continue developing unaffiliated Jewish leaders on Portland’s Eastside," says TischPDX co-founder Eleyna Fugman.
The deadline to apply for the group's third cohort is July 1, 2020. Go to and click on the apply tab.



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