I Heard it Through the GrapeVine

I am pleased to report that our Annual Campaign continues to move forward. We have raised in excess of $1.6 million and continue our push to “speed up” our campaign. We can only do it with YOU! If you have not done so already, please consider making your increased pledge today – and make our community stronger for the future!


I am excited to announce the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland, with the generous support of The Holzman Foundation, is bringing to Portland GrapeVine starting November 18.

GrapeVine’s mission is to facilitate and retain Jews’ connection to Jewish life even as their interests, friends, life stage, and geography evolve. GrapeVine is a capacity-building service for the Jewish community that enables organizations to better identify, assess the needs of, engage, and retain the Jewish population they are trying to serve, as well as to evaluate an organization’s long-term impact on participants. At the same time, it provides a comprehensive resource for YOU to find any and all activities within the entire Jewish community.   

GrapeVine is the tool that provides greater information and access for you on your Jewish journey through multiple channels: phone app, Facebook, Twitter, and email. The program will send to you those programs and opportunities of most interest across the spectrum of our great Jewish community. And the more you utilize GrapeVine, the more it will be able to tailor to your interests. In essence, GrapeVine is to Jewish engagement as Pandora is to music, Netflix is to movies, and Amazon is to books.

Demographic studies show that at any given point in time only about 20% of Jews are engaged in Jewish life in some way. Yet, we know that over an individual’s lifetime, over 85% of Jews are engaged at some point (e.g., b’nai mitzvah, youth group or camp, Hillel, synagogues, etc). The disparity in these percentages shows that the Jewish community and the organizations supporting it suffer from a significant “leaky pipeline” – meaning that as individual’s needs, interests, friends, life stage, or geography change, they “disappear” off the radar screen of the organization they were involved in and become “lost.” Because too many organizations operate in silos, thinking those participants are “their people,” we have missed out on the ability to “hand off” people as their interests and needs evolve. Think of a teen leader who leaves for college – does Hillel know they are there? Upon graduation they move back to Portland, is our community aware? They continue to have life stage changes and no one is there to help shepherd them from opportunity to opportunity. As a result, organizations spend most of their time and efforts re-acquiring people, rather than retaining them or appropriately transitioning them to other organizations that are now a better fit.

Bernie Marcus, founder of Home Depot and Jewish philanthropist says, “The Jewish community is the only franchise I know that actively tries to lose all its members half a dozen times, and then spends all its money trying to find them again.”

Conversely, individuals who are not heavily affiliated are unaware of those people, programs, and content that may be most meaningful to them given their current interests, friends, life stage, and geography. GrapeVine is that mechanism to meet their individual interests/needs/wants and creates collaboration among organizations in the Jewish community so we can truly act as a community.

The Jewish Federation is providing this incredible tool at no cost to any individual or Jewish organization. Our community will now have the opportunity to better understand your needs, effectively connect with those people whose primary interaction is with social media, evaluate the impact of their programs on Jewish identity and behavior, and apply this learning for future program development.   

Equally important, by using GrapeVine, the community as a whole benefits from finally having a reliable way to measure and evaluate the longitudinal impact of funded programs on Jewish identity development and connections. You don’t need to look far to see that data aggregation, predictive analytics, and business intelligence are core tools that corporations and organizations of all sizes are applying in today’s increasing competitive and personalized marketplace. Your privacy will be maintained.

At this moment, only Federations in Columbus, Ohio, Rhode Island and the young adult division in New York are utilizing GrapeVine. Portland will be the fourth community to launch. We are proud to be on the leading edge of new technologies and ways to engage in Jewish communal life. In the near future, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Toronto, San Francisco, and Baltimore may be utilizing this incredible tool as well.

Look for more information on GrapeVine on November 18 and “join in” to maximize YOUR opportunities within the Jewish community. It is easy and it will be of great benefit to you and our community. You truly will know all about Jewish Portland and all it has to offer. For more information, please contact our GrapeVine coordinator, Rachel Rothstein at 503-892-7415 or rachel.rothstein@grape-vine.com.

Finally, as we commemorate Veteran’s Day, I am pleased to share that the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland has made a donation to help support the building of an Oregon World War II memorial in Salem across from the Capitol.

On behalf of our community, thank you to all who have served and are currently serving our country in the Armed Forces. We salute you and are grateful for all that you do.

Shabbat shalom.



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