Updates and Thoughts - April 1, 2022

The Jewish Federation of Greater Portland is horrified and heartbroken by the recent brutal terror attacks that have taken 11 innocent Israeli lives. There is no justification for this violence being perpetuated by extremists. We stand with Israel and the Israelis who continue to combat these acts of aggression. As the country and loved ones mourn, we pray for them and for those who were senselessly murdered. May their memories be for a blessing.
This week I thought I would provide some updates/thoughts:
  • The U.S. Senate confirmed Dr. Deborah Lipstadt as the State Department’s antisemitism ambassador in a unanimous vote late Wednesday. The much-delayed confirmation occurred after an impassioned four-minute speech by Sen. Jon Ossoff, a Democrat from Georgia, in which he talked about his family that perished in the Holocaust. Lipstadt said following the vote: “This is a tremendous honor and responsibility and I pray that I will prove worthy of the task.” 
  • Every Jewish community is obligated to ensure that everyone has the food they need to celebrate a joyous Passover. The Jewish Federation is spearheading Passover4All, a 10-day campaign to ensure that area families can truly celebrate Passover. Within the first 5 days we have already exceeded our initial goal. But with more money we can do even more for these families. The campaign ends on April 7. Donate today.
  • If you’re looking for additional ways to help, please volunteer with Jewish Family and Child Service to deliver the Passover meal boxes -- sign-up here.
  • With Passover just two weeks away, click here for a wide array of community offerings.
  • Chai Light Talks,” 18 minutes of inspiration from today’s Judaic thought leaders will take place virtually on April 5, 2022 at 12:00 noon. Join Rabbi Dov Greenberg, Founder and Executive Director of the Chabad House at Stanford University, and Rabbi Sholom Lipskar, founder of The Shul of Bal Harbour (recognized by Newsweek as one of America’s 25 most vibrant congregations in America) as they share their thoughts on How Purim and Passover Can Shine Light On Your Life. Registration details can be found here
  • The JCC Maccabi Games® are returning this summer for its 40th anniversary! This is the largest organized in-person Jewish teen sports experience and will be held July 31 - August 5, 2022 in San Diego. Team Oregon will have teams compete in baseball, basketball, flag football, ice hockey, soccer, and volleyball. Individual sports competitions will include: dance, eSports, golf, tennis, table tennis, and swimming. Registration ends on April 15 -- click here for more information.
I would be remiss if I did not share more about the situation in Ukraine. Sadly, the consequences of the war in Ukraine war will be felt for years to come. Too many lives have been impacted and the relief efforts continue. We remain focused on several key areas:
Refugee Assistance/Humanitarian Relief and Resettlement -- This refugee crisis (Jews and non-Jews) is largely one of mothers and children. Most are understandably reluctant to travel far away from their male family members in the hope that they will be reunited soon. The needs of mothers with children removed from their homes without warning are substantial, including housing, food, clothing, medical care, childcare, and education. 
Of course, not all want to stay in the border countries, and many are ready to start new lives elsewhere, whether because they already have family ready to welcome them or they know there is nothing for them to go back to in Ukraine. 
Similarly, our Jewish community will act on our deeply held values by advocating for welcoming policies for refugees in our own country and by providing comprehensive support for refugee resettlement. When the time is right, we will let you know how you can help!
The Jews in Russia and Belarus -- Not being discussed nearly as much—because we do not want to put them further at-risk—is the danger to Jews in Russia and Belarus. However, with the economy of those countries collapsing and other social upheavals to come, we know that a major relief effort is on the horizon.
Rebuilding Jewish life in Ukraine after the war -- Given the significant investment the Jewish world made in building Jewish life in Ukraine over the last 25 years, as well the Ukrainian patriotism that has shown forth in this war, it is inevitable that there will be a call for the Jewish community to return to Ukraine when possible. The vibrant organizations that were making such wonderful strides will need our support to rebuild, as will the families who have lost loved ones and had homes and businesses destroyed. 
The Jewish communal response to the war in Ukraine is already strong, rooted in our Jewish values, and built on the foundation of our community’s work year in and year out. Thank you for all you are doing and contributions to our special Ukraine Fund can be made here.
Shabbat shalom.


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