Extraordinary Learning Experience

Let me start by saying…Thank You! Thank you for a great start to our 2013 Annual Campaign. As you may recall, one of our goals was to “speed up the pace” of this year’s campaign with major emphasis in October and November. I am pleased to report that as of December 31 our Campaign total stood at $2,168,193 – which means we closed 67% of the campaign during the first few months. A great start considering last year at this time we were at 46%. And, our campaign is currently at a 6.3% increase over last year.

In addition, I am pleased to report that we have met the entire $100,000 match from our generous anonymous donor between increases of 10% or more and 324 new gifts.
So, all in all, a great end to the calendar year. Kudos to Kim Rosenberg and Andrew Berlinberg, our Campaign Chairs, Josh Stein, Campaign Director,  and the rest of our ambassadors and professional team. And, of course, thank you to those of you who have already made your commitment to the Annual Campaign. There is, however, more to be done. If you have yet to make your pledge, help us reduce our own fundraising costs and make your gift today.


Limmud is the Hebrew word for learning. Beyond that, it is also the name of an international cross-communal Jewish educational opportunity that started in the United Kingdom in 1980 and is now being enjoyed by communities throughout the world.

Limmud aims to enable each participant to go one step further on their own Jewish journey. The program believes that everyone is a student and everyone can be a teacher. Events feature all educational styles including lectures, workshops, text-study sessions, film, meditation, discussions, exhibits and performances to ensure that there is always ‘something for everyone'. Indeed, the content of a typical Limmud event is as diverse as its participants.

Two key principles behind Limmud internationally are that everyone has something to contribute and everyone can learn from each other. In many ways, this comes from Limmud’s operating principle that these programs be organized almost exclusively by volunteers.

Many people recognize the “Limmud” brand, although it means different things for different people. For some, it is all cultural, nothing religious. For others it is where they experience different groups of people, or truly inspiring and different speakers, or just purely a social event.

When I first moved here, I was approached by a gentleman outside of Seattle, Washington who was interested in bringing Limmud to Portland. I loved the idea because I lived in both Atlanta and Philadelphia when they began their Limmud programs and saw the initial success and opportunity. So, why should Jewish Portland not have such an opportunity?

By now, I hope you are aware of the incredible Portland Jewish community Food for Thought Festivalscheduled for April 18-21, 2013, under the leadership of Cheryl Tonkin and Ed Tonkin. These exciting four-days of activities will truly capture your interest and imagination, as well as provide necessary food donations for the Oregon Food Bank. Over the next few weeks you will be hearing more about the schedule and your opportunity to get tickets to the wide array of speakers, programs and events. You will not want to miss any part of the Festival!

On Sunday, April 21 (during the Festival), we will create our own "Limmud" PDX: An Extraordinary Learning Experience. The program will be held at the Mittleman Jewish Community Center from 9:30 a.m.  – 1:30 p.m. and is being chaired by Lois and Arden Shenker. We are thrilled to announce that the keynote speaker will be Dr. Stephen Trachtenberg, President Emeritus and University Professor of Public Service at The George Washington University. Dr. Trachtenberg served as the university’s 15th president from 1988 to 2007, and previously served as President of the University of Hartford for 11 years. Dr. Trachtenberg earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Columbia University, a Juris Doctor from Yale University, and a Master of Public Administration degree from Harvard University.

Dr. Trachtenberg’s remarks are just the beginning.  What follows will be two consecutive 45 minute sessions where we will be able to present some of the best, most interesting and appealing speakers from our local community. We truly want to provide something of interest to everyone, showcasing our local Portland talent with a wide variety of interests and expertise. This is where you come in….and we need your input.

We are looking for speakers to inspire, teach, challenge, and help move our community forward -- People in the Portland (not necessarily Jewish) community whom you would like to listen to…study with…learn from…get to meet…ask questions of…and hear their thoughts.

Help us create this experience. Share your suggestions of people who you would like to hear from or topics you would like discussed by replying to this email. We expect many suggestions of both topics and speakers to come forward from the community, yet unfortunately we will not be able to use them all for this event. Once received, they will be presented to an advisory committee to make the final selections.

Enable us to make "Limmud" PDX an extraordinary learning experience for you -- and for everyoneSend us your names and topics by January 21!

Thank you again for your support for our Annual Campaign and I look forward to your many thoughts and ideas on speakers and topics.

Shabbat shalom.


PS -- I am delighted to share with you that Space Shuttle Columbia: Mission of Hope will begin airing on PBS January 31st at 9pm eastern.

Space Shuttle Columbia: Mission of Hope is a powerful story of three men, born at different times but woven together by a twist of fate, a little Torah scroll from Bergen-Belsen. But the story also becomes the story of the Columbia crew, whose diverse backgrounds demonstrated to the world what is possible when we all work together for the greater good.

The film also enables a little boy who made a promise to a rabbi trapped in the horrors of a Nazi concentration camp, to always tell the world what happened at Bergen-Belsen. Ilan Ramon felt this promise deep in his heart, and he carried it with him to space.  Now Space Shuttle Columbia: Mission of Hope continues the promise.


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