It's A Team Effort - June 25, 2021

It is nice to officially begin the summer, but who expected this kind of weather? Stay cool and hydrated this weekend.
Last week, I shared the video link to our 101st Annual Meeting, which detailed many of our successes from this past year. None of it would be possible without our incredible Board of Directors under the leadership of our chair, Lauren Goldstein. Our Board of 19 people, made up of a cross-section of our community, continues to put the community’s best interests into every decision.
I am also blessed to work daily with an outstanding group of 11 other professionals. What they have achieved over the past 16 months and beyond is truly remarkable. Since we are at the end of our fiscal year, I want to introduce my team to you. Some names may be familiar, and others may not – but you should know these excellent professionals:
Julie Alferez has been with the Jewish Federation for three years, works in our finance department, and serves as our office manager. If you ever call the Federation office or have a question about your pledge statement, you will hear her cheerful voice and feel her friendly personality.
Rabbi Barry Cohen came to the Jewish Federation almost three years ago and serves as our community chaplain. Rabbi Cohen’s main role is to help Jews who do not belong to synagogues with life cycle events. He regularly visits Jewish patients in hospitals and residents of senior care facilities to bring pastoral care and a smile.
Bob Horenstein has worked at the Jewish Federation for 27 years and serves as our Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council. This may be the most difficult job at Federation as he works with committees (made up of representatives of community organizations and at-large community members) to build consensus on a variety of legislative and policy issues. He also works closely with other religious, ethnic, and cultural groups to create partnerships and to find areas of common concern.
Wendy Kahn is our Campaign Director and has worked at the Jewish Federation since early 2017. She brings incredible knowledge and passion to her role because for many years she was an active lay leader at the Jewish Federation. Wendy has helped to expand our Women’s Philanthropy program (Giving Circle, Dignity Grows), trained many new campaign volunteers, and seen increases in our annual campaign each year.
Deborah Moon has worked at local Jewish publications for 29 years. She worked at the Jewish Review until it was shut down in 2012. She served as editor of Oregon Jewish Life magazine. Fifteen months ago, we re-launched the Jewish Review with Deb as the new editor. She may know more about the entire happenings of our Jewish community than anyone else during that time period.
Gene Moss has served as the Director of Community Security for our Jewish community since May 2019. Gene brings over 30 years of law enforcement and security expertise to this role. He provides safety trainings and risk assessments for Jewish organizations across the state, assists with applications for non-profit security grants from the Department of Homeland Security, and is our liaison to the police and FBI whenever an incident occurs in the Jewish community.
Rachel Nelson has been at the Jewish Federation for almost eight years and comes from a family of Jewish communal professionals. Rachel serves as our Director of Jewish Education Initiatives and Intergroup Outreach. She convenes the Portland Area Jewish Educators (PAJE), manages PJ Library, oversees our multiple incentive grant programs (One Happy Camper, Chai Israel, Jewish Right Start), manages the Sussman Fund scholarship program, and leads our intergroup outreach efforts with other ethnic, religious, and cultural groups.
Caron Blau Rothstein and I worked together at the Baltimore Jewish Federation many years ago. Ten years ago, she joined me at the Jewish Federation here. Caron currently oversees our community allocations process, coordinates our Community Trip to Israel (new dates to be announced soon), and will lead our upcoming community study. Caron manages Rachel’s Well – Community Mikvah and serves as the “community concierge” to welcome newcomers and others along with other special projects.
Laura Renner-Satushek has been at the Jewish Federation for eight years and manages our campaign donor database. I cannot reinforce enough the importance of this role.
Jodi Garber Simon is our Director of Marketing and Communications and has been at the Jewish Federation since 2018. Jodi’s role continues to expand by overseeing our general marketing, social media, overall messaging, and graphic design.
Ben Winkleblack serves as our Director of Finance and has been at the Jewish Federation since 2006. He ensures all community dollars donated are used wisely and for the purpose intended. Under his leadership, the Jewish Federation continues to be under or at budget year after year and that we maintain “clean audits.”
These are special people -- great colleagues and friends. You can see that most people have been on the team prior to 2018, with the majority here for eight years or more. That matters!
I have worked in the Jewish Federation field for 27 years. Over that time, I have worked in three other Jewish communities besides Portland. Those federations were much larger in size (70, 45, 120 employees respectively) with many talented colleagues. I have never worked with a better group of professionals than the team at the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland. What this group makes happen (we are by far the smallest professional team of any federation of our size in the country) with no department silos and an “all for one” mentality is truly special.
Our community is fortunate to have such incredible professionals who “live and breathe” Jewish communal life. They do this work to make sure our Jewish community meets your needs. I am blessed and honored to work with them. And feel free to send any of them (click on their name above) a note of thanks.
Shabbat shalom and stay cool this weekend.
Marc N. Blattner
President and CEO


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