Data and Tributes - October 30, 2020

The elections are only 4 days away.
Please make sure you vote.
This has been quite the busy week with four main things I want to share with you:
You will recall that in March 2020 our community launched a special campaign to raise funds for COVID relief. Our community stepped forward and raised $900,000 for this effort. $800,000 was allocated by the start of June. We held the remaining $100,000 until now to see where things would be and where funds may be needed.
Maintaining our commitment to full transparency, the COVID-19 Steering Committee met on Wednesday and made the following grants totaling $83,253:
B’nai B’rith Camp -- $16,000 for loss of revenue
Camp Solomon Schechter -- $8,400 for additional nursing costs in summer 2021
Cedar Sinai Park -- $30,000 for staff testing and personal protection equipment
Chabad of Hillsboro -- $1,000 for outdoor canopies and tables
Havurah Shir Hadash (Ashland) -- $3,600 for loss of revenue
Maayan Torah Day School -- $3,600 for loss of revenue
Mittleman Jewish Community Center -- $8,100 for personal protection equipment, Chromebooks, and technology costs
Oregon Hillel -- $1,953 for personal protection equipment and cleaning supplies
Portland Jewish Academy -- $6,000 to assist with the purchase of a large outdoor canopy tent
Temple Beth Tikvah (Bend) -- $1,000 for technology upgrades
Temple Emek Shalom (Ashland) -- $3,600 for personal protection equipment and cleaning supplies.
There is approximately $17,000 left in the fund and another round of grants will be made in November.
This past week was the Jewish Federations of North America General Assembly (GA). Over 10,000 people from around the world registered for the event, including close to 100 people from the Greater Portland area.
The conference was excellent! The technology was flawless and the sessions engaging. Without going into details, here is a link where you can find recordings from all the plenaries and programs at the GA. I encourage you to take a look.
This week, the American Jewish Committee released a landmark study detailing anti-Semitism in America today. Some key highlights (or lowlights depending on your point of view):
  • Nearly half of all Americans do not know what anti-Semitism is, with one in four (25%) saying they have heard of it but do not know what it means and an astounding one in five (21%) saying they have never heard the word.
  • More than four out of every five Jewish respondents (82%) say anti-Semitism has increased over the past five years, compared to only 43% of U.S. adults who say the same.
  • More than one in three American Jews (37%) say they have been victims of anti-Semitism over the past five years. Nearly one in three (31%) say they have avoided certain places or events out of concern for their safety, up from one in four (25%) in AJC’s 2019 survey.
  • One of the best insights in the AJC survey was the fact that the general public was willing to ascribe anti-Semitism to the two political parties in equal numbers. The poll revealed that 42 percent of Americans believed “some” or “a lot” of Republicans “hold anti-Semitic views” with the exact same percentage believing the same about Democrats.
It is crucial that we understand that, taken as a whole, Americans are not anti-Semitic and actively oppose actions and vitriol directed at Jews.
There are many disheartening statistics in the study, which you can read in full here.
I want to share a few tributes:
Hard to believe, two short years ago, on October 27, 2018, a white-supremacist gunman killed 11 worshippers at a Shabbat-morning service at Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha Congregation in Pittsburgh. It was the worst act of anti-Semitic violence in American history.
Two years after Pittsburgh, Americans are still struggling to understand how to cope with the reality of the threat of violence against Jews without either inflating it out of proportion or to assign blame. We must remain vigilant, aware, and prepared. And we are proud to have a director of community security looking out for our entire Jewish community.
Today marks the 25th yahrzeit of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’. I can still remember turning on the television that Saturday afternoon and hearing the news. It was heartbreaking!
I had the pleasure of meeting him twice. One brief encounter in 1987 and a longer meeting just four months before he was killed. He was a thoughtful man with a compelling vision. One still wonders what more he could have accomplished had he not been assassinated.
On a more positive note, congratulations to the Los Angeles Dodgers for their first World Series victory since 1988. It was also a special occasion for Tampa Bay Rays pitcher, Ryan Sherriff. Sherriff took to the mound for the Tampa Bay Rays in the top of the 8th inning of Game 5 and sent the three batters he faced down in order.
Ryan Sherriff became the 5th Jewish pitcher to pitch in a World Series (the others are Erskine Mayer, Ken Holtzman, Larry Sherry, and, of course, Sandy Koufax). His maternal grandparents were Holocaust survivors. To date, a Jewish batter has never faced a Jewish pitcher in the World Series.
Finally, Stand Up Portland is coming to you live on Saturday evening, November 7. Do not miss the Jewish Federation’s Centennial Year Virtual Gala jampacked with fun and the spirit of community! Bring the whole family!
The evening will start off with a virtual dance party and photo booth (we will explain how it works) followed by our comedy headliners -- Carol Leifer and Elon Gold. You will also have the opportunity to make your gift to the 2021 Campaign Community Needs. Our time together will be filled with fun and laughter. Register your whole family here -- NOW!
Shabbat shalom and remember to move your clocks back Saturday night.
Marc N. Blattner
President and CEO


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