Seeing is Believing

Ever had one of those perfect days? A day where you felt everything went well and you gained a true sense of accomplishment? Well, Wednesday was one of those days for me!

My morning started with two separate conversations with generous philanthropists in our community. We talked about the current state of the community and challenged each other about its future. I heard from them their passion and interests in Jewish life, as well as ways we can improve our efforts. As you have heard me say many times before, I want our community to evolve – to be more open, inviting, and focused on reaching new populations. I do believe these philanthropists see the future and will help create new realities. I am truly grateful for the open and candid dialogue with these individuals and so many more.

Later that day, I had the pleasure of joining 10 men and women (ages early 30s to mid 40s, only one was a Portland native, most not knowing each other, and several were folks I met during my “11 Interesting Men” lunch I wrote about several weeks ago ) on a “mini-mission” of Federation partner agencies. In the course of 3 ½ hours (noon - 3:30 -- I really hand it to this group for taking that much time out of their busy professional and personal lives) we learned about the Mittleman Jewish Community Center, Portland Jewish Academy, PDX Hillel, Cedar Sinai Park, Jewish Family and Child Service, and the Oregon Jewish Museum. We had the opportunity to meet with the professional leaders of these organizations, and even got to tour several of the magnificent facilities.

At the end of the afternoon, these young people gained a greater insight into the incredible work that happens every day in our Jewish community. Too often we take for granted that somehow/someway the needs of our Jewish community will be met. We must all understand that it takes commitment, dedication, and resources to provide these necessary services. Beyond learning about the agencies, the “mini-mission” enabled the group to ask their own questions and learn about the priorities of tomorrow – Jewish cultural programming as a form of outreach, enhanced Jewish education, new models of senior care, and services for those in need.

My evening ended with Federation’s inaugural Chai Society event. The Chai Society recognizes donors who have given to Federation for 18 years or more at any giving level (I am proud to say my first gift was made in 1983 as a freshman in high school, so this is my 28th consecutive year of giving). One hundred women and men came to the MJCC to hear former Israel Defense Forces spokesperson Col. Miri Eisin share her perspective on the current situation in Israel and the Middle East/North Africa. Federation is grateful to those in attendance and all members of the Chai Society for their long-term support of the Jewish community – you continue to make a difference.

I know you are saying, “Gee, Marc, glad you had a good day at the office.” Well, I had an incredible day because I was able to talk with so many about our wonderful Jewish community. I want to share that same excitement with you.

Several months ago I held several “meet and greets” around town where dozens of community members came out to educate me about Jewish Portland. Recognizing the importance of your time, I am asking any member of our Jewish community to give me just 75 minutes to learn more about the impact Federation makes on our Jewish community - I will even treat you to lunch. Join me on a one-stop “mini-mission” of our local agency system as we bring the agencies to you. Allow us to educate you firsthand on what is currently happening in our community and our plans to build a more vibrant future.

I have scheduled three initial mini-missions for you to choose from. Click here to register.

Wednesday, March 9 – 11:45 am – 1:15 pm – meet at Oregon Jewish Museum
Thursday, March 24 – 11:45 am – 1:15 pm – meet at Cedar Sinai Park
Thursday, April 7 – 11:45 am – 1:15 pm – meet at MJCC, Cafe at the J

Join me in exploring our Jewish community. Experience the difference we make every day. You will better understand the impact Federation has on our community. And my goal is that everyone will be a significant philanthropist in their own right and eventually a member of our Chai Society. Seeing is believing!

Shabbat Shalom.


PS – To date we have received over 50 wonderful and creative entries for the “Next Great Jewish Idea” contest. The deadline is February 15 – do not miss out on sharing your thoughts! Click here to enter.



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