Certainly Doing Things Right

The Israeli elections are only 4 days away. I wrote about them on December 28 when they were first announced noting the “scorecard” then and how it would change dramatically in the months ahead. It certainly has and will continue to do so until the polls close. In fact, Herb Keinon of The Jerusalem Post gave an excellent talk this past Wednesday night detailing the current scenarios. Here is a current primer on the elections .
When I first came to Portland in 2010, I truly believed our community could be the “test pilot” for Jewish America. We could try out new initiatives, as well as learn from other communities across North America. If anything, we have gone well beyond any expectations. This week’s email is not about the Jewish Federation – instead, this is a testament to the vision and leadership of our Jewish organizations !
Let me share some exciting news:
Congratulations to both B’nai B’rith Camp and Camp Solomon Schechter for being two of 16 camps in North America to receive grants to increase accessibility for campers and staff with disabilities through the Yashar Initiative funded by The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation. The Hebrew word “Yashar” translates to both “level” and “integrity,” and, like its namesake, the Yashar Initiative is intended to improve accessibility for campers and staff with disabilities on multiple levels by providing funds for capital improvements, professional development, staff training, research and evaluation.
A past Foundation for Jewish Camp-administered survey identified the need for greater accessibility for staff and campers with disabilities as a major barrier to participation in Jewish camps.
BB Camp received $300,000 towards current capital construction of three ADA accessible two-floor cabins. Check out this video showing the construction going on. And Camp Solomon Schechter received $140,000 towards their capital efforts at their camp.
This is really an incredible opportunity for the camps to expand the numbers of children they can serve. You can learn more here.
Congratulations to our three Jewish day schools, Maayan Torah Day School, Maimonides Jewish Day School, and Portland Jewish Academy who just received a grant from The Jerry and Helen Stern Grandchildren’s Fund of the OJCF (an incredible model for family and next generation philanthropy) to provide additional financial assistance for families choosing between a Jewish day school and public school education. In partnership with the Jewish Federation and the national Consortium of Jewish Day Schools, the three schools can use these funds to increase enrollment.
We are delighted to announce the Jewish Federation has received commitments of $100,000 total in grants from Michael Menashe and the Holzman Foundation to help fund our Community Chaplaincy Program for several more years. Rabbi Barry Cohen has served as our Community Chaplain since September and is involved with hospital and retirement community visits, pastoral care, meeting the spiritual and religious needs of non-synagogue affiliated community members, and serves as a resource for the Oregon Board of Rabbis. We are delighted to make this position more permanent in our community. If you are in need of any chaplaincy services from Rabbi Cohen, he can be reached here
The Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education recently received a three year grant of $195,000 from the M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust to support the costs of hiring a much needed deputy director.
Due to its growth and success in connecting students, building community and inspiring leadership on campus, the Oregon Hillel Foundation, serving Oregon State University & the University of Oregon has been chosen as one of two Hillels in North America to receive a strategic talent grant from Hillel International. This four-year, $225,000 grant will provide funding resources to aid in expanding Oregon Hillel's staff to better serve the growing Jewish student populations at two of Oregon's largest universities. Thanks to this generous investment, Oregon Hillel is hiring its first full time Director of Jewish Student Life at Oregon State University and a Director of Innovation at the University of Oregon. 
Tivnu, the only Jewish gap year program in the United States, was recently awarded two grants. Upstart (from the Bay Area) just provided a $100,000 grant to “bring bold new Jewish ideas to light and to take them to the next level.” In addition, they received $30,000 as one of seven Jewish organizations throughout North America to receive the Lippman Kanfer Foundation for Living Torah Prize for Applied Jewish Wisdom.
This is incredible. And there are others. But just amazing to have over $1,000,000 in new investments in our Jewish community. Our community must certainly be doing things right!
Congregation Neveh Shalom invites the community to honor Rabbi Joshua Stampfer’s 70 th anniversary in the rabbinate. A special program will take place tomorrow, April 6, starting at 3:00 p.m. at the congregation. The program includes a special Mincha service, sermon by Rabbi Stampfer, and a panel of three Portland rabbis discussing The Role of a Rabbi in the Community, followed by an Oneg Shabbat.
It is important that you please RSVP at 503-246-8831 or at receptionist@nevehshalom.org .
Finally, a special thank you to our Jewish community for its support of the Passover 4All program. Once again, we have raised over $6,200 in ten days to provide kosher for Passover food boxes for many in need in our community.
Volunteers are needed to assemble and deliver the food boxes on Sunday, April 14 at the MJCC from 8:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Click here to volunteer . Further Good Deeds Month opportunities are available on the MJCC website to volunteer, connect, and make a difference.
As Passover approaches, for those interested in Passover happenings in our community or to find a community seder, please click here .
Shabbat shalom.


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