A Flame - December 11, 2020

Happy Chanukah to you and your family! Please watch this short video from the professional team at the Jewish Federation to get you in the holiday mood.
Chanukah is typically celebrated in the company of dear family and friends. Unfortunately, this year will be different with limited opportunity for in-person gatherings and celebrations.
Chanukah is a time of miracles, and that anything is possible. The message of Chanukah may be just what we need right now, as it is profoundly relevant during these challenging times.
Chanukah is all about light. The miracle took place with light, the holiday is celebrated with light, and – perhaps most importantly – light has a timely and uplifting message for us today.
Against all odds, the Maccabees defeated the Greek army and purified the Temple in Jerusalem. Of course, when they sought to light the Temple’s menorah, they found only a single jug of oil that had escaped contamination by the Greeks. Miraculously, they lit the menorah and the one-day supply of oil lasted for eight days, until new oil could be obtained.
Each night we add one more candle to our Chanukiah, so by the eighth night, all eight lights are burning bright. The Chanukah flames are providing us with an uplifting message, particularly relevant during the challenging times.
  • A flame is not afraid of darkness. When its light shines the darkness is banished.
  • A flame is not discouraged by the cold. It generates warmth, bringing comfort to those nearby.
  • When a flame is kindled in a room, the facts do not change; the room is the same room, the situation the same situation. Yet, suddenly, there is life. There is warmth. There is energy. There is hope.
The recent months have been difficult for so many people -- uncertainty…loneliness…isolation.
This Chanukah, as we kindle the Chanukiah, may we all draw hope from our ability to shine light and share warmth with others.
Just a reminder, here is a link to the wide array of Chanukah happenings in our community. Enjoy!
As many of you know, the Jewish Federation is a proud sponsor of Maimonides Jewish Day School’s Chanukah essay contest for students in grades 3-8 from across the state. This year’s participating students represented 18 different schools, and they responded in 150 words or less to the following question: 
The Festival of Lights celebrates how the Maccabees found the strength to overcome difficult obstacles their community faced. How can you help support your community of friends and family in today’s challenging times?
Mazel tov to Shira Wilhelm, a 5th grader at Maimonides Jewish Day School, and Steven Rogosin, a 6th grader at The Marylhurst School for their winning essays. You can read the full press release and winning essays here.
Other miracles do happen, including the ongoing effort to bring Ethiopian Jews to Israel. Last week, the Government of Israel and the Jewish Agency for Israel (a Jewish Federation partner agency) welcomed 314 olim to their homeland. Helping Ethiopians and other Jews worldwide come home to Israel is one of the clearest demonstrations of our love and commitment to the State and people of Israel, which is central to our core mission.
Over the past 40 years, with your support, we helped bring more than 92,000 Ethiopians to Israel. Many thousands are still waiting in Ethiopia to join their families in Israel. We will bring them home.
Some upcoming opportunities:
The Jewish Federation is sponsoring 8 Days of Giving during Chanukah -- an opportunity for the Jewish community to support worthwhile charities in the general community, both financially and through volunteerism. You can learn more about the eight organizations we are partnering with and support them by clicking here.
Attention all parents of and college-aged students. Join us next Thursday evening for a moderated conversation with President Michael Schill from University of Oregon and President Stephen Percy from Portland State University as we hear about what college will look like in the winter and spring terms and what incoming freshman have to look forward to. Register here.
Join us for our first ever virtual Super Sunday on December 20. We are always looking for more volunteers to call our community. Join us by registering here.
Finally, this past week we marked the 40th anniversary of when John Lennon was shot and killed. I was 11 years old and remember clearly watching Monday Night Football when Howard Cosell interrupted the game to announce the news (breaking news was not as quickly spread back then).
The interesting “behind the scenes” story, as reported by the Los Angeles Times, is that Cosell was unsure if he should break the news during the game. Frank Gifford was in the announcing booth and told him he must – and Cosell agreed.
As Patriots kicker John Smith took the field to attempt a game-winning field goal, Gifford made sure Cosell followed through.
“Three seconds remaining, John Smith is on the line,” Gifford said on the air. “And I don’t care what’s on the line, Howard, you have got to say what we know in the booth.”
With that, Cosell informed the audience of the tragic news.
“Remember, this is just a football game, no matter who wins or loses,” he said. “An unspeakable tragedy, confirmed to us by ABC News in New York City: John Lennon, outside of his apartment building on the West Side of New York City, the most famous perhaps of all of the Beatles, shot twice in the back, rushed to Roosevelt Hospital, dead on arrival.
Hard to go back to the game after that kind of news flash.
Shabbat shalom and I wish you all a happy, meaningful, and healthy Chanukah.
Marc N. Blattner
President and CEO


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