You may recall that in May of this year, the Jewish Federation sponsored safe and respectful workplace trainings for professionals and volunteers across our Jewish agencies. It was in response to the #MeToo/#GamAni movements and was very well received.

The Jewish Federation Board felt we could do even more. At our September Board meeting, the Jewish Federation Board passed the following statement on having a safe and respectful workplace:

The Jewish Federation of Greater Portland believes in a safe and respectful workplace. The Federation will not tolerate any form of sexual harassment, discrimination, bullying, belittlement, offensive language, unwelcome or inappropriate touching, conduct inappropriate to the workplace, or behaviors that fail to treat all persons with dignity and respect.  These standards apply to volunteers as well as paid staff.

We welcome and strongly encourage those with concerns to immediately come forward and report to any of the following: the Chief Executive Officer, any member of the professional team, or any member of the governing board any offending conduct, which shall result in an immediate investigation. To the extent possible, confidentiality will be maintained.

Any established violation of this policy will result in immediate appropriate disciplinary action up to and including dismissal, if an employee, and termination of all volunteer capacities, if a volunteer.

I am very proud of the seriousness shown by our Board of Directors and professional team in regard to this issue.

Now with the Jewish holidays behind us, let me catch up on some important items:

A final reminder to join us to hear Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak on Sunday, October 14 at the Jewish Federation’s Gala. The final day for registration is Wednesday, October 10. Walk-ins will not be allowed due to security reasons. Get your tickets here.

The Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation invite you to a City Council Candidate Forum at the Mittleman Jewish Community Center on Tuesday, October 9 at 7:00 p.m. with Jo Ann Hardesty and Loretta Smith. Each is vying for the open seat on the Portland City Council. With the election a few weeks away, this is your opportunity to hear directly from the candidates.

Last night, we held the first in a series of Centennial Trip to Israel information meetings. The trip is set for March 18-29, 2020. There was an enthusiastic crowd of people – many first-timers and several who have been to Israel before. I promise this will be THE “trip of the century” and you will not find a less expensive way to travel to Israel as a family thanks to our generous sponsors.

The early-bird deadline is November 15. Adults are $2500, teenagers are $2,000, and those ages 5-13 are $1,800, plus airfare. At that time, the price will increase $500 per person. Sign up today and do not miss out on this incredible community experience. Learn more at www.pdxisrael.org or email Caron Blau Rothstein to learn about additional information sessions, including online.

A few weeks ago I shared about some new team members at the Jewish Federation, and now I want to acknowledge some promotions and job changes:

Bob Horenstein has served our Jewish community for 24 years as the Director of our Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC). Seven years ago he also became our Director of Allocations. Bob has done a masterful job at both. But with the current political divide in our country, the need for stronger relations with our state and local government officials, challenges of BDS and anti-Semitism, and the ongoing debate about Israel, Bob will now focus solely on his JCRC work, thus stepping away from his allocations responsibilities. During these times, our JCRC work deserves even more time and attention to better educate and create deeper relations with our Jewish community, government officials, the general community, and Israel.

Wendy Kahn has been promoted to be our Associate Director of Financial Resource Development. This new expanded role will place her in charge of the day-to-day operations of our Campaign for Community Needs, in addition to maintaining her role as Director of Women’s Philanthropy. Wendy brings high energy and many years of Jewish communal involvement and professional experience to our enhanced financial resource development efforts. 

Caron Blau Rothstein has worked at the Jewish Federation for the past seven years as our Director of Community Engagement and Special Projects. She connected newcomers to our community, guided our efforts in establishing Rachel’s Well community mikvah, launched the Jewish Free Loan of Greater Portland, and managed a variety of other initiatives. Caron will now bring her 23 years of Jewish professional leadership to being our Director of Planning and Allocations, as well as lead coordinator for our Centennial trip to Israel.

Laura Renner Satushek, who many of you knew as the “voice” and friendly face you would see when you called or visited the Jewish Federation office, has been promoted to be our Campaign Administrator. She has oversight over our new upgraded database system.

I am so proud and excited to be working with these incredible people and our entire team. I have no doubts that we will continue to serve our community well and meet the demands to make Jewish Portland and SW Washington the best they can be.

Shabbat shalom.






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