Bregman Pederson & Balfour

Whether you are a baseball fan or not, we were all treated to a wonderful and exciting World Series. Special congratulations to the Houston Astros for winning their first World Series ever. (I apologize for not congratulating the Portland Thorns for winning the National Women’s Soccer League championship a few weeks ago.) What a wonderful thing for Houston after the devastation from Hurricane Harvey.

One of the highlights of the World Series was the impact of the two Jewish players on the two teams. (I can literally hear my grandmother cheering on the “nice Jewish boys” during every at-bat.) Alex Bregman (Houston Astros), the second pick in the 2015 baseball draft from Albuquerque, New Mexico and Joc Pederson (Los Angeles Dodgers), whose father played for the Dodgers, were stars in the series. Alex became the first Jewish player to have a winning “walk off” hit (in game 5). And, Joc set a record with the most home runs by a Jewish player in a World Series with three. They also became the third and fourth Jewish players to homer in a World Series (Hank Greenberg multiple times in the 1930s and 1940s and Ken Holtzman in 1974). 

Here is a nice article in the Forward about these two players. 

One hundred years ago yesterday, Arthur Balfour, the British Foreign Secretary, sent a letter to Lord Walter Rothschild: 

“His majesty’s government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”

This 67-word statement, dated November 2, 1917, was delivered to the leaders of Britain’s Jewish community at the height of World War I, when Britain was driving the Ottomans from Palestine and seeking Jewish support in the United States to spur the American war effort. It did not gain the force of international law until 1920, when the remains of the Ottoman Empire were divided into mandates by the League of Nations, and the British inserted the Balfour Declaration into the text for their mandate for Palestine. In 1922, the United States Congress endorsed the declaration.

Britain held Palestine, which had been under Ottoman Turkish rule, from 1922 until after World War II. Israel declared independence in May 1948, at the end of the British Mandatory rule and after the United Nations General Assembly voted in 1947 in favor of a plan, rejected by the Arab governments, to partition Palestine into an Arab state and a Jewish state. The ensuing regional conflict, played out over a series of wars fought along Arab and Israeli lines, has left the Palestinians seeking to establish an independent state in territories captured by Israel in 1967.

The fact Britain endorsed the establishment of a Jewish homeland in the Middle East in 1917 was recognition of the Jewish people’s historic and religious ties to the land. The declaration triggered a process that would culminate in the creation of the State of Israel. 

I understand there are many views within our community and the world about the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and people will have their own thoughts and conclusions about the Balfour Declaration and its impact. But we cannot forget the tremendous “boost” this letter provided for the Zionist movement.

I always like to highlight wonderful professionals in our Jewish community. Mazel tov to April Slabosheski, Manager of Museum and Holocaust Education at the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education.  Last night April received the 2017 Light A Fire: Emerging Leader award, sponsored by Portland Monthly.

Our 2018 Campaign for Community Needs continues to move forward. We have almost raised $1.5 million while only 44 days into our 100 Days of Impact. We will continue our efforts to reach our $5 million goal and here is how you can help.

First, make your commitment today. Help us save valuable resources by making your pledge online or by calling 503-245-6219.

Secondly, please ANSWER THE CALL! This Sunday is Super Sunday! It is our opportunity to reach out to our Jewish community to support our Campaign for Community Needs. We hope you will respond positively when our wonderful volunteers call you. Plus, if you would like to volunteer that day, join us 9:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. at the Mittleman Jewish Community Center.

Finally, please join us at our upcoming Federation Gala on Thursday, November 30. It will be an incredibly fun and hilarious evening we are calling Belly Laughs. Comedian Joel Chasnoff and chef Einat Admony join forces for an evening of comedy, stories, and inspiration in one of the most insightful and entertaining programs touring the Jewish world today. Plus, there will be great food and a cooking demonstration! Register today!

Shabbat shalom and enjoy your extra hour of sleep on Saturday night.



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