Ready for Things to Do, April 24, 2020

Thank goodness it is Friday. I have no idea why, but this felt like an extra long week (maybe because we were closed several days in observance of Passover). At the same time, much has been accomplished and planned. Here are several exciting community opportunities as we continue to stay in place.
Our COVID-19 community crisis campaign has raised over $785,000. Based on grant requests coming in from Jewish organizations, we need to raise even more. Every contribution makes a difference and we hope you will make your own gift.
One area of funding from this campaign goes to support the Jewish Free Loan program. Individuals can apply for a $1,000 interest free loan, with no co-signer, and the opportunity to repay the loan over three years.
In addition, our Jewish Family and Child Service has been busy providing emergency financial assistance as well as mental health support during these uncertain times. For those in need, please call 503-226-7079.
Since 1974, the third week in April has been designated National Volunteer Week. It is an opportunity to thank all the thousands of volunteers across the country (and in our local community) who keep many organizations running, communities safe and provide the services that otherwise would not exist without volunteers. We are grateful to the hundreds of people who have called over 1,700 seniors in the past few weeks to “check-in,” gone shopping to purchase groceries and pick-up prescriptions for those unable to leave their home, and the dozens of people making masks for our health care workers, nursing home residents, and others. We could not do what we are doing without you – THANK YOU!
This Sunday will be a beautiful and joyful day. It is your opportunity to safely get out of the house and bring joy to the residents of Cedar Sinai Park and express our gratitude to the caregivers who keep our elders healthy and safe. Join us this Sunday, April 26 for a "Joy Ride" -- a drive-by "parade" with signs, music and smiles as we wave to everyone on the campus. Come ANY TIME between 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. and bring your smile. (Note: You MUST enter/exit via SW 62nd side of SW Boundary Street and music must only be played in front of the campus out of respect to the neighbors.)
Next Wednesday, we will celebrate Yom HaAtzmaut, Israel Independence Day. This first-of-its-kind virtual celebration is part of a full day of interactive programming on the theme of “What Israel Means to Me. What Israel Means to Us.”
A Special Celebration for Israel's 72nd Birthday!
Wednesday, April 29
11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
(additional activities all day long)
Our community will join together with the Jewish world for an extraordinary virtual event celebrating Israel!
Join via YouTube or Facebook
  • Matisyahu will sing a medley of “One Day” with voices from the Jewish Agency for Israel’s Partnership2Gether communities and Jewish leaders from more than 30 countries, sharing a message of hope and celebration
  • American film star Joshua Malina shares how Israeli doctors and scientists are on the front lines of the battle against COVID-19
  • The Brothers Platt — Ben, Henry, and Jonah — sing in honor of Israel’s celebration
  • Chefs from around the world debate whether falafel is the quintessential Israeli food, and Adeena Sussman, author of the bestselling cookbook Sababa, teaches us how to make it
  • Isaac Herzog, the son of former Israeli President Chaim Herzog (z”l), tells a story about Israel’s War of Independence, then pays tribute to former Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion (z”l)
  • Exclusive footage of Israel’s official Independence Day ceremony on Mt. Herzl
  • A finale where we will all sing Israel’s national anthem, "Hatikvah," led by two celebrity female vocalists — Rita from Israel and Caissie Levy from Canada — and a group of Israeli and Diaspora Jewish musicians.
This past Wednesday we held the first of our Weekly Wednesday Update series with Dr. Lynne Strasfeld of OHSU. She provided an excellent overview of the current pandemic and what to expect going forward. You can watch a recording of her presentation here.
We have several other programs lined up that we hope are of interest to you:
  • Wednesday, April 29 at 2:00 p.m. we will hear from local agency executives on how their organizations are responding to and being impacted by this pandemic.
  • Wednesday, May 6 at 4:00 p.m. we will have the opportunity to speak with United States Senator Jeff Merkley.
  • Wednesday, May 13 at 1:00 p.m. we will have the opportunity to speak with United States Senator Ron Wyden.
And more are being scheduled. Mark your calendar for these informative and interactive updates.
I want to wish a special mazel tov to TischPDX (check out their website to learn more), an incubator of new Jewish ideas and Jewish spiritual creativity on Portland’s Eastside. They were selected by Upstart to be part of their National Entrepreneurial Sprint cohort, focused on early-stage startups, providing immersive training with wraparound support, so they can test and iterate new initiatives. TischPDX was chosen from a pool of more than 80 national highly-qualified applicants to help expand their work. Ventures like TischPDX are crucial to the landscape of Jewish offerings, as they often serve as the only connection point to Jewish life for individuals seeking alternatives to more traditional institutions.
Finally, we will be doing additional “Unity Shabbat” candle lightings. One will be on Friday night, May 8 in honor of all the mothers in our community. The other will be held on Friday, June 19 in honor of all the fathers in our community. Details and times will be forthcoming. (And perhaps we can break our own world record!)
Let me close with a good question to discuss while at your Shabbat dinner table. What is the first thing you will do once the "shelter in place" order is lifted? A positive and hopeful thing to think about.
Shabbat shalom.


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