In that way, the light will spread. We will fight the ugliness of antisemitism with the light of understanding, the light of tolerance, and the lights of our proud Jewish identities.
This reminds me of Billings, Montana in 1995. You may remember the story when the people in Billings stood up to white supremacists when a Black church, a Native American family, and a Jewish family became the targets of intimidation. Townspeople of all races and religions found common ground against attacks to their neighbors. Religious and community leaders, labor union volunteers, law enforcement, the local newspaper and concerned residents united in action and spoke loudly against hate and intolerance, proclaiming in no uncertain terms "Not In Our Town."
A brick was thrown through the window of a six-year-old Jewish boy who displayed a menorah for Chanukah. This was the signal that violence in Billings was escalating.
The community rallied and urged residents to place menorahs in their windows as a sign of solidarity. 10,000 people put menorahs in their windows to show they would stand together against hate and bigotry. We can do the same in Portland!
For 40 years, Chabad has been doing public menorah lightings in Portland. Join them on the first night of Chanukah at 5:00 p.m. at Pioneer Square. Their goal this year is to have 1,800 people light the first Chanukah candle and together proclaim: “A little light dispels much darkness.” There will be Portland Police and security at the event -- please register here.
Rabbi David Hartman wrote, “The miracle of Chanukah is not that one vessel of oil lasted for eight days, but that the community was willing to light one vessel not knowing whether it would last. The true miracle is daring to dream. And that is the key to Jewish life. Any realistic analysis says, ‘Forget it! You will never succeed.’ But if you say, ‘I believe in the power of a little bit of light,’ and believe in the kinds of things that are not codified, then you are saying, ‘I believe that this little flicker of faith I have can produce an enormous transformation, so that somehow I will have a greater and great effect on the world.’”
A few extra things to share:
- Here is Senator Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s speech on antisemitism in America he delivered on Wednesday. He called out the wave of antisemitism that has followed the October 7 Hamas terror attacks on Israel, denouncing anti-Israel protesters, the media, erstwhile allies, and others whom he said were helping to propagate antisemitism, and who have abandoned or failed to grasp the scope and severity of the crisis Jewish Americans are experiencing.
- There is an important survey crafted to gain valuable insights into the demographics and interests of Jews of Color (JoCs) in the Pacific Northwest. The confidential data collected from this research is being stewarded, conducted, and analyzed by Jews of Color through a partnership between TischPDX, JOC Collective, JOCI and Tiyuv. If you identify as a Jew of Color, currently live in the Pacific Northwest, and are age 18 or older, please take the survey. Survey responses will be accepted until January 5, 2024.
As we approach the end of the calendar year, if you have yet to do so, we encourage you pay your pledge or make your commitment to the Jewish Federation’s Campaign for Community Needs. The campaign is the “support engine” for our local Jewish community and makes it possible for the Jewish Federation and community to respond to world events like the attacks on October 7. It also enables our community to fight antisemitism and provide security. Most of all, your gift to the annual campaign ensures that every day we are prepared for a bright future.
Please click the box below and either make a contribution or a pledge (payable by December 2024) right now to support our annual campaign and the daily work of our Jewish community.
Please give generously!