In(vesting) the Beginning

Our 100 Days of Impact continues at a strong pace. After just 30 days, our campaign now stands at over $1.8 million – this is 55% of what our annual campaign raised in all of last year! Help us keep up the pace by making your gift today. And, remember, all increases of 10% or more and all new gifts will be matched dollar for dollar.

Please JOIN US for the Federation Gala on Saturday, October 25 at 7:30 p.m. at Pure Space (in the Pearl District). This will be a “roaring great time” with a 1920’s theme. The event will be a fabulous experience, created by Disney’s Executive Creative Director and Portland native, Dan Fields! The evening will feature:

  • Swinging 1920’s inspired bands, dancing, and other live entertainment
  • 1920’s inspired cocktails and heavy hors d’oeuvres 

Cost: Tickets are $75 -- through a generous donor, first-timers and those under 35 only pay $30. 

Let’s celebrate AND support our Jewish Community. This is an evening not to be missed!


You will often hear me talk about investing in our future. Making the difference for the long-term! And building the next generation of Jews.

Just as the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland did six years ago to fund the launch of Greater Portland Hillel, I am proud to announce we will now be investing a three-year grant to help create a new Hillel program at Oregon State University. The excellent professional team at Oregon Hillel (at University of Oregon) will provide staff and programming support. Efforts will focus on one-on-one student relationship building, cultivating the OSU students who have gone on Birthright Israel trips the past several years, connecting with Jewish faculty, and building connections in the greater Corvallis community.  The Hillel professionals will also look for common themes in student interests so that student programming committees can be developed by and for the students. Israel programming will also be expanded on campus, including sharing speakers that Oregon Hillel brings to Eugene.

A major goal of our Hillel programs serving the University of Oregon, Portland State University, Reed College, Lewis and Clark, and now, Oregon State University is to imbue students with the understanding that each and every day they have a responsibility to repair the world (tikkun olam) and to build Jewish community by positively impacting their friends, their campus, and their communities. By investing in students, connecting them to each other, and inspiring student leadership, our Hillels are not only creating the Jewish student community of today, but also planting the seeds for stronger Jewish communities tomorrow.  We are steadfast in our commitment to helping students explore Jewish identity in their own ways and showing them that Judaism is a way of life.  

Oregon Hillel serves as a “Jewish home away from home” for the 1,600 Jewish students at the school.  Recently, they began to connect with a handful of students from Oregon State University who participated in Birthright Israel and those who travel from Corvallis to Eugene for Friday night Shabbat programming.  Through these interactions the need for deeper and more meaningful Jewish experiences on the Oregon State University campus in Corvallis became apparent. Oregon Hillel is uniquely positioned to offer professional oversight and guidance to help build Jewish life on the Corvallis campus.   

For the past six years, Jewish students at Oregon State University have been advised by a combination of faculty and staff advisors. There are an estimated 500-600 Jewish students at OSU with the largest populations coming from Portland and Los Angeles.  Programming on campus has been driven almost entirely by a small number of students and has consisted mainly of an occasional Shabbat dinner or discussion on a Jewish topic.  While there is no physical home for Hillel, they do have a meeting place available on campus.  The faculty advisors have done an admirable job (given all of their other commitments) in trying to push content out to the students, providing links for leadership growth, Birthright Israel recruiting, and student board development. But we know this investment will have an even greater impact. Now is an opportune time to maximize Jewish life at the OSU campus for years to come. 

The Jewish Federation is excited by this new opportunity (bolstered by the leadership from Oregon Hillel) as we continue to serve more college students in our state and invest in Jewish leaders for the next generation and beyond.

If you are an alumnus of Oregon State University or wish to invest in the beginning of a new Hillel program in Corvallis, please reply to this email.

Finally, at sundown tonight we will begin the celebration of Shemini Atzeret (when we add special prayers for rain – I think the message was received several hours too early) followed by Simchat Torah (we celebrate the completion of the annual reading of the Torah. As part of the celebration, the Torah scrolls are taken from the ark and danced around the synagogue seven times. During the Torah service, the concluding section of the fifth book of the Torah, D’varim or Deuteronomy, is read, and immediately following, the opening section of Genesis, or Bereishit, is read).

We read in the first sentence, "In the beginning..." -- we hope this is a new beginning for Jewish students at Oregon State University. And, this is also the time when we reinvest in our commitment to our Jewish history, Jewish values, and our Jewish future.

Chag sameach.


PS - This Friday night, Maccabi Haifa, a leading professional basketball team from Israel, will be playing a preseason game against the Portland Trailblazers at the Moda Center. For those interested, go out and support both teams.


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