Trip of the Century

Last night, The Jewish Federation of Greater Portland held its 98th Annual Meeting. Ed Tonkin, Federation’s Chair of the Board, provided a “year in review” of our community’s many accomplishments. We also heard inspiring words from Rabbi Shira Stutman from Washington, DC’s Sixth and I Historic Synagogue and Rabbi David Kosak of Congregation Neveh Shalom on what it means to be a welcoming community.

At the meeting, we formally announced something I am extremely excited about -- an incredible undertaking for our Jewish community – PDX→Israel 2020. This will be the trip of the century!

Imagine travelling to Israel with hundreds of people from our Jewish community for an unforgettable 10-day experience in Israel. We will do just that from March 18-29, 2020 (this will coincide with school spring break)This once-in-a-century community trip will provide you and your family an unforgettable Israel experience. You will spend three nights in Tel Aviv, choose between visiting the north or south of the country, and conclude with four nights in Jerusalem. 

This trip, chaired by Priscilla and Tony Kostiner and Kathy Davis-Weiner and Michael Weiner, is for the first-timer, the many-timer, those who want exciting outdoor adventures, and those who want a slower pace. It will meet the diverse religious and dietary needs of the participants. In addition, bar and bat mitzvah opportunities are available for people of all ages. Most of all, it will bring together people from across our Jewish community and build bonds that will last a lifetime.

The Jewish Federation recognizes that traveling to Israel is not inexpensive. Due to the generosity of dozens of sponsors, we are able to reduce the cost of this 5-star trip (full land price is $4,100 per person). Early bird pricing (register by November 15, 2018) for land only (people will need to make their own flight arrangements, which we can assist you with) is as follows:

Adults $2,500
Teens (ages 14-18) $2,000
Children (ages 5-13) $1,800

After November 15, prices increase by $500-$700 per person. 

Plenty of information will be forthcoming in the mail and via email (you may have already received an introductory postcard in the mail). You can check out the mission website at In addition, feel free to call the Jewish Federation at 503-245-6219 or email for more information, to ask questions, or just to add yourself to the “interested list.”

Think about it…talk to your family (multi-generations)…ask your friends…and register for an experience of a lifetime. Do not miss this opportunity to celebrate the Jewish Federation’s 100th anniversary and our community in 2020.

During the Annual Meeting, five new Board members were elected (Emily Benoit, Rick Haselton, Hank Kaplan, Ted Nelson, and Mark Zeitzer) and we said “thank you” to our outgoing Board members (David Forman, Charles Levy, Michael Weiner, Mindy Zeitzer, and Jay Zidell). Special recognition goes to Jeff Robinson who has served as our Chair of Allocations and Michael Weiner as the Chair of the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC).

I am also delighted to share that Ed Tonkin will serve as our Chair for another year and Lauren Goldstein is our Chair-Elect. Mindy and Mark Zeitzer will continue to serve as our Campaign Chairs, Jack Birnbach will become the new Chair of Allocations and Jeff Reingold will be Chair of the JCRC. We have an incredible Board of Directors and very special people in important leadership roles.

In addition, mazel tov to Ben Charlton, B’nai B’rith Camp Director, on receiving the Laurie Rogoway Outstanding Jewish Professional Award. Also, congratulations to our four Sussman Fund Award recipients, Maude Elovitz, Youki Iimori Jonah Rothstein, and Samantha Safirstein, who each received $1,800 scholarships towards their undergraduate education.

I also want to recognize Rachel Halupowski, Federation’s Campaign Database Administrator, who has worked at the Jewish Federation for the past 17 years. She will be retiring at the end of the month and starting a new chapter with her fiancé in Vernonia. Rachel is often the first voice you hear when you call the Jewish Federation and has probably welcomed you dozens of times at Federation events. We wish Rachel well and she will be sorely missed. 

I invite you this Sunday to join the Jewish Federation and 15 other Jewish organizations as we march in the Portland Pride Parade. We will kick it off with a bagel brunch at 10:30 a.m. with sign making (bring your own supplies) at NW Davis between Broadway and 8th. Parade step-off is at 11 a.m. For more information follow Jewish Pride Greater PDX on Facebook and check out our Pride calendar for events happening throughout the weekend! For more information email Rachel Nelson

This Sunday is Father’s Day. A little history…In May of 1909, Sonora Smart Dodd of Spokane, Washington, sat in church listening to a Mother's Day sermon. She decided she wanted to designate a day for her dad, William Jackson Smart. Dodd's mother had died in childbirth, and Dodd's father, a Civil War veteran, had taken the responsibility of singlehandedly raising the newborn and his other five children.

The following year, Dodd wanted to celebrate Father's Day on June 5th, her father's birthday, and petitioned for the holiday to be recognized in her city. Needing more time to arrange the festivities, Spokane’s mayor pushed the date back by two weeks, and the first Father's Day was celebrated on June 19, 1910, according to the Spokane Regional Convention and Visitor Bureau.

While Congress was quick to officially declare the second Sunday in May as Mother's Day in 1914, after it was first celebrated on May 10, 1908, it took much longer for Father's Day to be legally recognized.

It wasn't until 1972 that President Richard Nixon signed the public law that made it Father’s Day holiday.

Here are words to think about from former baseball player, Wade Boggs, who said, “Anyone can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a dad.” 

Shabbat shalom and Happy Father’s Day.






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