Much to Share - May 7, 2021

Julie Diamond, President and CEO of the Oregon Jewish Community Foundation (OJCF), announced she will be retiring effective June 30 following 14 years of incredible leadership and service. Julie worked to grow the foundation managed assets from $40 million to over $110 million, helped bring PJ Library and the Oregon Jewish Community Youth Foundation (OJCYF) to our community, guided the incredible Life and Legacy program to increase endowment giving, enhanced partnerships with professional advisors, and was an incredible colleagues and partner to so many in our community.
Yasher koach to Julie and we know the team at the OJCF will continue to excel. Julie, we wish you only great health and fulfillment in the years ahead.
In addition, we learned yesterday that Rabbi Tzvi and Esther Fischer will be leaving our community to move east. Their incredible work over the past 15 years with the Portland Kollel, Maayan Torah Day School, Oregon Kosher, Rachel's Well Community Mikvah, and so much more cannot be overstated. I am closer to Rabbi Fischer and can only say his warm demeanor, community openness, and brilliant mind made my work at the Jewish Federation easier. May the Fischer family continue to go from strength to strength.
May is National Mental Health Awareness Month, an important time to be reminded that it is our duty to support each other’s mental health. It is a time to draw special attention to the resilience of people living with mental health conditions and promote available resources for those in need of mental health support.
You can do your part. Listen patiently and non-judgmentally to the struggles of others, reflect on the stigma you may attach to mental illness, and encourage those you care about to connect to professional support, if needed.
If you are struggling, call Jewish Family and Child Service at 503-226-7079, the Blue Dove Foundation, or contact NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Health at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264). Remember, you are not alone.
I want to provide special recognition to all educators at the conclusion of Teacher Appreciation Week. Through all the challenges faced this year, educators and families have stuck together to show students a bright path forward. Todah Rabah (thank you) to our teachers who go to great lengths to ensure every student has the tools to learn, grow, and thrive. I should know, I live with one.
Congratulations to all the high school seniors who made their college decisions! It is an exciting time for these students and their families.
When these young people arrive on campus, Jewish life is waiting for them through Hillel, Chabad, Akiva, Jewish fraternities and sororities, Jewish studies classes, and so many other opportunities. We can connect them from day one on campus -- and even before they arrive.
Hillel is making this transition to college as seamless as possible. Please fill out this very short form (will take less than 30 seconds) to let Hillel know where they will be attending school. This will ensure they have access to in-person and virtual events, High Holiday services, and a wonderful welcome when they arrive on campus. Plus, by filling out the form, Hillel International will send a graduation gift and the student will have a chance to win a $500 Amazon gift card.
Sadly, we continue to see the challenges of COVID impacting our local area, as well as communities around the world. The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), one of our overseas partners, is responding to the devastating COVID-19 surge in India by deploying ventilators to hospitals in Mumbai and Ahmedabad in coordination with the Indian Jewish community and their local partner, SEWA Cooperative Federation Organization. The ventilators, manufactured in Israel, are in high demand by increasingly overburdened medical services. While the needs are overwhelming, we know the critical importance of providing these life-saving supplies and training as quickly as possible.
JDC (who has been working in India since 1950) is raising additional funds to provide desperately needed oxygen, filtered masks, other medical supplies, and telemedicine support for ICU doctors and nurses to consult with their peers in the United States and Israel. To support JDC’s efforts in India, please click here.
Sunday night marks the beginning of Yom Yerushalayim, “Jerusalem Day.” Yom Yerushalayim commemorates and celebrates the reunification of Jerusalem under Jewish sovereignty in 1967. It is celebrated on the 28th day of Iyar (six weeks after the Passover seder and one week before the start of Shavuot).
Jerusalem became the capital city of the Jewish people in the time of King David who conquered it and made it the seat of his monarchy in approximately 1000 BCE. It was conquered twice in antiquity, the second time by the Romans in 70 CE. During the ensuing two millennia of exile, Jerusalem remained the Jews’ spiritual capital. To this day, Jews face in the direction of Jerusalem for prayer and Jewish services are filled with references to Jerusalem.
Following the Israeli War of Independence in 1948, the city of Jerusalem was divided, with the older eastern side falling under Jordanian control, and the more recently-developed western side falling under Israeli control. On the third day of the Six-Day War in June 1967, the Israeli army captured the ancient eastern part of the city, including the Kotel, or Western Wall, a remnant from the times of the Temple. Jews around the world celebrated hearing the triumphant words “Har Habayit beYadeinu” -- the famous radio announcement that said, “The Temple Mount is in our hands.”
Later that day, Defense Minister Moshe Dayan declared, “This morning, the Israel Defense Forces liberated Jerusalem. We have united Jerusalem, the divided capital of Israel. We have returned to the holiest of our holy places, never to part from it again. To our Arab neighbors we extend, also at this hour—and with added emphasis at this hour—our hand in peace. And to our Christian and Muslim fellow citizens, we solemnly promise full religious freedom and rights. We did not come to Jerusalem for the sake of other peoples' holy places, and not to interfere with the adherents of other faiths, but in order to safeguard its entirety, and to live there together with others, in unity.”
This Sunday we will celebrate Mother’s Day, which is celebrated in more than 50 countries around the world, though not all on the same day. Here is an interesting story on the evolution of Mother’s Day (now called Family Day) in Israel.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the special moms and Shabbat shalom.
Marc N. Blattner
President and CEO


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