Reading & Recipes
Alicia J. Rose Alicia Jo Rabins
GIFT GUIDES FOR MOM & DAD
SENIORS SHARE MOMENTS TO REMEMBER
8 FUN FACTS ABOUT SHAVUOT
CO N TE N TS Oregon Jewish Life May/June 2021 Iyyar-Sivan-Tammuz 5781 Volume 10/Issue 2
FEATURES COVER STORY “A Kaddish for Bernie Madoff’s” journey from stage to screen BUSINESS STEELPORT is forging a new path in cutlery
FRONT & CENTER Spirituality on Silk
JKIDS & TEENS Collective Compassion for Mental Health Awareness Month There’s still time to apply for Tivnu’s 2021-22 Gap Year
ISRAEL 8 fun facts about Shavuot in Israel
JLIVING Looking ahead with Jewish Family & Child Service Legacy donors to be honored at May 25 virtual event “Ben-Gurion, Epilogue:” A community-wide film screening and discussion JAHM 2021 4 MAY/JUNE 2021 | OREGON JEWISH LIFE
50 52 54 55
AC TIVELY SENIOR Mental health issues in the elderly is a major COVID side effect When the going gets tough, the tough get giving How do you know you’re ready for retirement? Moments to remember Jewish Grandparents Network
18 20 22 24 26
GIFT GUIDES Mother’s Day Father’s Day
Reading & Recipes
Alicia J. Rose Alicia Jo Rabins
IT’S SUMMER This summer, get lost in a book Fire up that grill!
36 40 GIFT GUIDES FOR MOM & DAD
SENIORS SHARE MOMENTS TO REMEMBER
8 FUN FACTS ABOUT SHAVUOT
COVER Alicia J. Rose and Alicia Jo Rabins PHOTO COURTESY ALICIA JO RABINS
OREGON JEWISH LIFE | MAY/JUNE 2021 5
Everyone has a JCC story This past week, I came across an article online about a national contest to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the JCC Association of North America from 2017. People from around the country were asked to submit their answer to “What is your JCC story?” At the top of the article, I was shocked to see a photo of my parents, Harold and Ruth Saltzman, with their JCC story. It was submitted by Becky Ewer, Harold and Ruth Saltzman the marketing and creative director of the Mittleman Jewish Community Center and Portland Jewish Academy. The story won first place! It was a story that my sister and brothers and I (and most everyone in our large extended family) had heard for years. But much like the Jewish Community Centers, the story was something I had taken for granted as part of our heritage. I was reminded just how vital our JCCs are to a thriving Jewish community. Times have changed, and people and families are more spread out, but the mission of the JCC is as relevant today as it was when it was started: “ … advancing and enriching North American Jewish Life.” As we enter the summer months, and we (hopefully) begin to congregate and socialize in person again, you might want to visit your JCC to experience what it has to offer. You will probably be surprised. A note: During the summer months, The Weekly will continue to arrive at your inbox every Thursday (occasionally Friday), and our next magazine publication will be out in August, the 2021-2022 Resource Guide. What will we be doing this summer? We will be hard at work on a new media venture that we are very excited about and hope you will be too when you see it. Stay tuned to our Facebook, Instagram and The Weekly for the special announcement. Be well, stay safe and please know that we really appreciate your support.
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6 MAY/JUNE 2021 | OREGON JEWISH LIFE
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MAY/JUNE 2021 Oregon Jewish Life • May/June 2021 • Iyyar-Sivan-Tammuz 5781 • Volume 10/Issue 2
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OREGON JEWISH LIFE | MAY/JUNE 2021 7
STEELPORT is forging a new path in cutlery By Mala Blomquist
TEELPORT Knife Co. is a new cutlery brand handcrafted in Portland with aspirations of becoming America’s kitchen knife company. Everything that goes into the product – from the raw steel to the wooden handle – is sourced in the United States. “My partner’s Persian and I’m Israeli, but we’re trying to make the All-American knife,” says Eytan Zias, co-founder and bladesmith at STEELPORT. His business partner and founder, Ron Khormaei, was the co-founder and past CEO of FINEX, a Portland-based cast iron cookware company. Quality chef ’s knives used to be made primarily in Germany, but now the market is being dominated by those coming from Japan. “Most companies that call themselves ‘American knife companies’ are just having it mass produced 8 MAY/JUNE 2021 | OREGON JEWISH LIFE
overseas for a couple of dollars and then marking it up,” says Eytan. “We have plenty of folding knife companies, and we’re well known for that, but we just never made a good kitchen knife.” Right before the pandemic, Ron sold FINEX and had an idea to reintroduce American-forged carbon steel cutlery to consumers. “He was looking for a knife guy, and that’s how I came into the picture,” says Eytan. “Then my little (knifemaking) hobby turned into a pretty intensive year of R&D that was all-consuming, which was good because we had to shut down the shops for a few months because of COVID.” The “shops” Eytan refers to are his brick-and-mortar Knife House stores. He opened The Portland Knife House in 2014, after moving to Portland in 2013, having fallen in love with the area on a prior vacation. He opened his first shop, the Phoenix Knife House, in Arizona in 2007, after more than 10 years working as a chef. “I moved from New York to Phoenix and I didn’t have anywhere to shop. I got into it because I liked knives and sharpening knives, and I saw a need,” says Eytan. “Then I did a lot of teaching people how to hand sharpen knives, and I felt like making knives was the natural progression. I set up a little forge behind the Phoenix shop right before we found out that we were moving to Portland.” Eytan has wanted to go full-time into knifemaking for about eight years. He believes his culinary background gives him an advantage over other knifemakers – he understands what chefs are looking for in a quality kitchen knife. His introduction to knifemaking started with a few lessons under Mastersmith Ray Rybar in northern Arizona. PRODUCT PHOTOGRAPHY BY AUBRIE LEGAULT
Far left, Eytan Zias, co-founder and bladesmith for STEELPORT Knife Co.; the STEELPORT 8-inch chef knife. “I pretty much taught myself after that, and then I was fortunate when I got to Portland to meet another Israeli knifemaker named Arnon Kartmazov at Bridgetown Forge,” says Eytan. “He’s been a friend of mine, and I bought a (power) hammer through him and set it up at his shop.” Arnon is the student of a well-known Israeli mastersmith out of Jerusalem named Uri Hofi. After studying and working as a blacksmith in Israel, Arnon traveled to Japan and continued working as a bladesmith for more than 10 years and then moved to Portland. “When I was doing the R&D, he was teaching me,” says Eytan. “Bladesmiths are pretty one dimensional, and blacksmiths know how to do everything, so I learned a lot from watching him and him watching me and telling me I’m doing this wrong and that wrong. I learned how to move steel a lot better through him.” At the end of March, STEELPORT Knife Co. released their first batch of knives, which quickly sold out. While this batch was still mostly handmade by Eytan and one other knifemaker, they are combining traditional processes with modern innovations to produce a few hundred knives at a time moving forward. Their goal is to make a quality knife accessible (and affordable) for professional chefs and discerning home cooks. “We had to start with one knife and the obvious choice was the 8-inch chef knife because that’s the most versatile knife. And that’s the one knife that you need,” says Eytan of their flagship product. “We’re already working on two knives for the end of the year, for the holidays, and we should be up to five by the middle of next year.” According to Knife Magazine, Portland is the knifemaking capital of the United States with “the highest concentration of knife and handtool companies in the country – 19 in the Portland metro area.” By one estimate, 80% of the multi-use tools sold nationwide originate in Portland. Eytan notes that we are entering the “golden age” of knifemaking and that there are more knifemakers than ever before. Further evidence of a surge in knifemaking is the popularity of the competition show on the History Channel called “Forged in Fire,” which has bladesmiths recreating historical edged weapons. “Makers are popping up everywhere, and just like any beginning industry, not everybody’s very good, but we need more,” says Eytan. “I think we’re going to end up with an actual knife industry here, which is exciting to me.” For more information, visit steelportknife.com.
“A Kaddish For Bernie Madoff’s” journey from stage to screen By Mala Blomquist
Bernard “Bernie” Madoff was the infamous architect of the largest Ponzi scheme in history, worth about $64.8 billion, that earned him a 150-year prison term. He died behind bars on April 14, 2021 at the age of 82. 10 MAY/JUNE 2021 | OREGON JEWISH LIFE
◀ COVE R STO RY ▶
ike many great collaborations, it seems like it was “beshert” or destiny that brought talented artists Alicia Jo Rabins and Alicia J. Rose together. It all started when Rabins opened a misguided email. “It was about music, but it wasn't about my music,” says Rabins. “My husband (bassist Aaron Hartman) is also a musician and has been in Portland for a long time. He knew Rose from the music scene and when he read it said, ‘Oh, I know what happened – this is for this other person.’ So I forwarded it to her – and became really fascinated by her work.” Later, when Rabins was looking for someone to help her film her theater show, “A Kaddish for Bernie Madoff,” she thought she would hire Rose as a consultant. “And then she came to me and said, ‘I think what you should do is turn it into a real movie.’ And then we were off to the races.”
OREGON JEWISH LIFE | MAY/JUNE 2021 11
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CREATION FROM COLLAPSE In 2008, musician and poet Rabins worked an artist residency in a dilapidated office building on Wall Street around the corner from the New York Stock Exchange. A variety of artists had the entire ninth floor to hone their crafts. Rabins was expecting to have some quality time with her violin, composing and writing songs; what she wasn’t expecting was to have a front-row seat to the economic collapse happening at the time. When she first starting seeing the scandalous reports on Bernard “Bernie” Madoff, she admits she experienced complex feelings. “First, there was this unconscious shame that someone from my community did this terrible thing, but then he looks like my dad, who’s so lovely,” remembers Rabins. “So I have this involuntary warm feeling when I see his eyes, which is very incongruous with this terrible criminal.” As she began to learn more about what actually happened, she became fascinated with the fact that his returns weren't that high. Everyone was assuming that the victims were greedy and were ignoring the signs of impossibly high returns, but they weren't exceptionally high returns at all. They were steady and matched the market average but without any of the usual ups and downs. “It started to feel like a deeper story that wasn't just about one criminal, but about the human longing for an escape from the ups and downs of life,” says Rabins. “I became interested in this sort of metaphorical and spiritual aspect of it. And then I began to talk about it with people, and I realized person after person had connections that I would not have expected.” These connections weren’t just in the Jewish community; she found them within her artist friends as well. “It just ~ Alicia kept feeling closer and closer to home in surprising ways,” she says. “I just wanted to hear their stories. And by the time I did the fourth interview, I thought, ‘I have to turn this into songs.’” She did more than that. Rabins created a one-woman musical show, “A Kaddish for Bernie Madoff ” – described as “a hybrid of memoir docudrama and narrative fantasy.”
The show premiered with a live band at Joe’s Pub in New York City in 2012. In 2014, Rabins released a live studio album of the music performed in the show. “Then I moved to Portland, and theater producer Boom Arts invited me to develop the piece further, and it was presented at Portland Playhouse,” says Rabins. “So that became the second incarnation of the theater piece, which was still a solo show. But we let go of a live band and added full-length animation created by Portland artist Zak Margolis.” Zak’s animation was projected on a giant screen behind Rabins as she performed the show. Rabins toured nationally with that version of the theater show on and off for a few years. “I felt ready to stop touring that piece, which is what led me to want to document it before I put it to bed. And that's what led me to Alicia Rose,” she says.
“It started to feel like a deeper story that wasn't just about one criminal, but about the human longing for an escape from the ups and downs of life.”
THE PROCESS Alicia J. Rose had been spending the last four years making her own life into a web series called “The Benefits of Gusbandry.” “It chronicles my relationships with my gay best friends (gusbands), and being 40 and single and not knowing what to do with myself – and Jewish,” says Rose. With “The Benefits of Gusbandry” she wanted to create a comedic and fun show, but after working on 10 episodes it left her pretty exhausted. She was curious when Rabins reached out to be a consultant. After watching the video of the original piece, listening to the music and reading the script, she admitted the project captured her imagination. Having made several dozen music videos in her career, she initially approached it from that angle. “When Jo Rabins I listened to all of the songs, I saw music videos, and when I watched the rest of the show, I saw the potential for a narrative wrap around with fantasy and all these things that I thought had a lot of potential to spring to life cinematically,” says Rose. When they met in person, Rose explained to Rabins that she could spend the money on doing the videography, but
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Clockwise, above: Website series “The Benefits of Gusbandry”; Alicia J. Rose; an animated clip by Zak Margolis from “A Kaddish for Bernie Madoff”; Zak Margolis and the Rose City Raindrops, film participants in the narrative. she felt that the story had so much more potential and could be “magical on a much greater scale and has the potential to reach a larger audience.” There was another person in the meeting that day. The videographer that Rabins had hired to shoot the live show was there thinking he was meeting with her and a consultant, but as Rose started sharing her ideas and the energy in the room began rising, it appeared that the project would soon be heading in a different direction. “The poor guy was sitting there with a signed contract to do videography of the live show, and by the end of the conversation, I think A. Jo and I had whirling dervished ourselves into this idea, and he was just like, ‘I'll show myself out.’” jokes Rose. That was the beginning of A. Jo’s and A. Ro’s (the nicknames they have given each other) creative collaboration. They began with adapting the script and then decided to do some cinematography in New York to create ▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶ OREGON JEWISH LIFE | MAY/JUNE 2021 13
“ A KADDISH FOR BERNIE MADOFF ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶
a concept trailer to help to solidify the idea, and before they knew it, three years had passed, and they had done the whole thing. The challenge was taking a one-woman stage show where Rabins addressed the audience directly for much of the time and turning it into something more vivid visually. Coming from the world of editing music videos, commercials and short-form comedy, Rose is all about keeping it “snappy.” “For me as a director and the editor, I wanted to make this the most useful 75 minutes of a movie you've watched,” says Rose. “We had a piece to bring to light that needed some poetry to it. So It was an interesting challenge to bring the poetry in but still keep it quick enough where you're just moving right along with it. You might have to watch it a few times to let it sit with you because there's a lot packed into every moment.” One of the more unique scenes in the film has to do with synchronized swimming. “We thought we could do a mandala with synchronized swimmers, and I was connected to the synchronized swimming group in Portland called the Rose City Raindrops,” says Rose. They’re racially, bodily and agewise very diverse and then we brought in a bunch of older ladies to be part of the kaddish outside of the pool. We had a great representation of womanhood in the context of the moment. I've also been wanting to do synchronized swimming with a drone for a million years. So for me, it was like, yes!” Adding to the visual appeal of the film is Zak’s animation. “A lot of it is inspired by the original concept of the stage animation,” says Rabins. “But he extensively created new animation. I would say 85% of the animation is new.” Zak is not the only Portlander involved with the production. Aside from the little bit they shot in Manhattan, some window and outside views, all the interior shots were done in Portland. It was a suggestion from producer Lara Cuddy to keep costs down. “We had an incredible crew of all Portlanders. A lot of women, non-binary, trans people. We did everything we could to make it as diverse as possible,” says Rose. “It was very important to A. Jo too. All of us were like, ‘This is a female lead production.’ So that was important for us to represent our community that way and be able to help bring people into that experience. “We didn't have a lot of money. This is an extraordinarily indie-budgeted film. None of the keys have taken a penny. We took every penny we got, and we put it into the film.”
Aaron in New York and, after falling in love, they returned to Portland. She grew up with minimal Jewish direction. Her family did not live in a Jewish neighborhood and she had no Jewish friends growing up. Rabins did have a bat mitzvah, but she had to travel across town for Hebrew school. “It was not integrated into the rest of my life at all. And I'm a person who values integration,” says Rabins. “I think I've always had a deep spiritual curiosity and hunger, so I would make up my own little rituals and find ways for my own needs for spiritual practice because the Judaism that I encountered had almost no content.” Things changed for Rabins when she attended Barnard College in New York City. She says the school was comprised of “half radical feminists and half Orthodox Jewish women.” Being the former, she struck up a close friendship with an Orthodox woman who introduced her to that world. “We started studying some Torah together, and she brought me to her house for Orthodox Rosh Hashanah, so that kind of kicked off a deep interest in the traditions as well as the text,” says Rabins. “I
CONNECTING JUDAISM AND ART Rabins was born in Portland, but her family moved to the East Coast when she was four months old. She met
On location around NYC for “A Kaddish for Bernie Madoff.”
“First, there unconsciou that someo my commu this terrible then he loo dad, who’s ~ Alicia Jo Rabins
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e was this us shame one from unity did e thing, but oks like my so lovely.”
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“ A KADDISH FOR BERNIE MADOFF ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶
am a poet, and that's what I was studying undergrad, so I instantly fell in love with the literary and textual tradition of Judaism.” After she graduated from college, Rabins went to Jerusalem to study at a progressive Yeshiva called Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies. She had intended to go for one year but ended up staying for two years of full-time study and practice. “When I came back at age 23, I began this long process of integrating my practice as a writer and musician with my newfound passion for Jewish text and traditions. I also needed a job, so I got hired to teach remedial fourth grade Hebrew,” says Rabins. “That began my career as a Jewish educator, which has been my passionate day job all along, and obviously, is inseparable from my art at this point.” Rose, on the other hand, has lived in Portland since 1995. A transplant from San Francisco, she fell in love with Oregon when she was on tour playing the accordion and returned for an indefinite stay. Since arriving, she has been immersed in the music, film and photography world in Portland. She grew up with her grandparents in a semi-Orthodox home, constantly going to temple, so she had a different experience than Rabins. She also lived in Los Angeles when she was younger and attended a high school that was 75% Jewish. “I experienced it as a misogynistic patriarchal culture, and it was tough for me, so I had a real period of rejection,” remembers Rose. “I had the choice of having a bat mitzvah or going to San Francisco to go to Ripley's Believe It or Not – well, I chose San Francisco.” She admits that there was always a part of her that regretted her decision, but she was just so turned off at that point. “I've always felt extremely culturally and communitywise very Jewish. I spend a lot of time in the music community and all these places where Judaism is not a part of it,” says Rose. I think when I met A. Jo, I just felt this warmth of spirit and this beauty of a progressive feminist soul embracing
Judaism in a way that made me feel comfortable with it. “This is like me going deep into a project about this part of myself that I've kept at arm’s length because of my negative experience growing up, and it’s kind of blown my world open on that level and given me a chance to explore Judaism on my terms through my art.” OUT IN THE WORLD “A Kaddish for Bernie Madoff ” made its U.S. premiere at the Portland International Film Festival in March and it was also featured at the Ashland Independent Film Festival in April. Their next stop is the Sarasota Film Festival in May. They have applied to more than 30 film festivals, and one advantage about many of them still being virtual is that people across the nation can watch from the comfort of their home. So far, the film has been very well received and both Rabins and Rose are thrilled. “I feel so grateful that folks are getting it,” says Rose. “You know, they're resonating with it on the same level that we are. That is just powerful, and honestly, the greatest gift any artists could receive from any art that we make.” “I'm a writer and musician, so I'm used to being on stage, but this was never part of the plan, and it’s been glorious,” admits Rabins. “I got to draw on every bit of training and every discipline that I've ever worked in, from my writing to co-adapt the script with A. Ro and every part of my performance skills and musical training. Not only to perform the songs, but to compose the music and the score for the film; and record it with musicians collaborating remotely. I'm still pinching myself that I got to do this. It’s been an incredible adventure, and now I'm itching to make another film.” As for the title of the film, the report of a kaddish being held to excommunicate Bernie Madoff in a Florida community that was especially hard hit by his deceit, ended up being a false report. “I thought I heard my friend say it, and perhaps she did, but it definitely didn't happen – but the idea of it captured my imagination,” says Rabins. “I think one way to look at this film is that it's a film
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about the power of human imagination. I think sometimes people go into it thinking, ‘Why would I want to watch something about Bernie Madoff,’ but it's not really about Bernie Madoff. It's really about imagination and healing and how spirituality can support us through nitty-gritty, difficult, real-world experiences, both communally and personally.” Rose adds, “The way that A. Jo processed Bernie Madoff in her writing of the original piece and then what we were able to do to expand upon it in the movie, as she has said before, Bernie Madoff served simply as a cipher for
understanding and for how to process collective trauma through art.” Perhaps that is the real reason why the film is resonating so well with its viewers. We are all searching for healing from the collective trauma that has gripped us this past year. For more information on the film, visit akaddishforberniemadoff.com.
The artists and crew celebrate the completion of the film with a traditional wrap party.
Alicia J. Rose & Alicia Jo Rabins ▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶▶ OREGON JEWISH LIFE | MAY/JUNE 2021 17
Seniors are the future.
eople in America today can expect to live longer than ever before. Once you make it to 65, the data suggest that you can live another 19.3 years, on average, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Older adults are projected to take the population lead in less than two decades: in 2034, there will be 77 million seniors (age 65 and over) and 76.5 million children (age 18 and under). Census data currently shows that middle-aged Americans already outnumber children. The rise of seniors doesn’t stop there. A Kaiser Family Foundation study shows that the number of people ages 80 and older is projected to be about 31 million by the year 2050, while the number of people in their 90s and 100s will rise to 8 million.
18 MAY/JUNE 2021 | OREGON JEWISH LIFE
Mental health issues in the elderly is a major COVID side effect By Bonnie Groessl
OVID-19 has affected everyone around the globe, perhaps no group more than the elderly. The pandemic has caused us all to experience grief, whether it is the loss of income, disruption of our normal routines, or the loss of physical connection with loved ones. The loss of connection has hit our elderly the most, many of whom live in assisted living facilities or independently in their own homes. When the pandemic hit and the world went into some level of lockdown, normal social
interaction disappeared, and so did our connection with loved ones. Older adults are especially vulnerable to serious complications from COVID-19, so there has been extra attention to keeping them as safe as possible. While this is a wise decision, it has caused an increase in depression, anxiety, and general loneliness for our elderly population. Social isolation often results in loneliness, which is a factor significantly associated with depression in elderly adults. Senior living facilities have cut back on social interactions Assisted living facilities and nursing homes have drastically limited social interaction within their facilities. It has been typical for these communities to eliminate group activities, gatherings, and dining together to protect the residents. These in-house activities may have been the only social interaction for many residents. Many facilities restricted residents from leaving their rooms, even for a walk in the hallway or outside. There also are limited options for exercise. Several studies have shown that even light to moderate exercise can have a significant positive effect on mood and cognitive function in the elderly. Although the lockdowns may be temporary, these effects are likely to be long lasting and could pose significant risks to the quality of life of the elderly population in the coming years. This has also been a difficult time for those of us who are baby boomers dealing with living parents. Lockdowns, social distancing, and losing all physical connection with our aging parents is stressful for them and for us. Many people severely ill with COVID have died alone in hospitals over the past year. They were not allowed to have visitors and could not connect with loved ones as they succumbed to the virus and became one of the more than 556,000 deaths so far in the United States alone. Occasionally, nursing staff is able to find a moment to facilitate a brief connection for these patients. This is often accomplished by using their own phones so the dying patient’s love ones can communicate with them and say goodbye. Some senior living facilities are beginning to loosen visitation restrictions as the percentage of the population fully vaccinated continues to rise. Hopefully, we can soon fully connect with our aging parents again. Until then, we need to acknowledge how this social isolation is taking a toll on the mental health of our elderly population. If you are wondering what you can do, here are a few suggestions: CONNECT AND COMMUNICATE The best medicine in this scenario is connection and communication. You can help by making additional phone
calls and video chat check-ins. We often don’t think of sending letters these days with current technology, but everyone enjoys getting mail they can open and read. Getting a card or letter in the mail may brighten an otherwise lonely day. Communication can be even more vital if your parent lives alone. Having a pet is often helpful for people who live alone but is not the same as a loved one, friend, or even a neighbor checking in on them. Using social media sites can help seniors stay connected to friends and family across the country. Many social media platforms have built-in video chat functions that add the dimension of being seen, even if it’s through a computer screen or phone. You can engage in virtual togetherness activities, like doing a video chat over dinner or just visiting in a group chat regularly, and being able to see the grandkids can be the highlight of any grandparent’s day. PAY ATTENTION It’s important to pay attention to behavioral, emotional, or cognitive changes. People deal with stress in different ways. Take notice of behavioral changes like difficulty communicating, inability to feel pleasure, increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or drugs. Emotional changes may include anxiety, depression or increased sadness and grief, anger, feeling overwhelmed or hopeless, feeling afraid, or the onset of insomnia. Cognitive changes often include the loss of memory, confusion, and poor concentration. You may notice something when talking with your loved one on the phone or video chat. It is critical to be on the lookout for signs of depression, especially if your parent or parents live in a facility or on their own. You may notice things like neglecting personal care, a change in appetite or sleeping patterns, being tearful, sad, angry, or exhibiting outbursts. When your parent is just not themselves, it is important to seek professional advice. Some of the symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to depression. When we are watching for COVID-19, we often miss these signs of depression. Consider helping your loved one schedule a telehealth or virtual visit with a mental health professional. Most insurance companies are loosening guidelines on virtual visits in light of COVID-19, and mental health checkups via telehealth technology can be helpful. Do not depend on the staff of a senior living facility to take action. It may be up to you to advocate on your loved one’s behalf, providing the connection and vigilance they need to stay safe and healthy.
Bonnie Groessl is a best-selling author, podcast host, holistic nurse practitioner and success coach. Her mission is to educate, empower and facilitate your wellbeing while nurturing the mind-body-spirit connection. You can find links to her books, guided meditation audios, blog and podcast at bonniegroessl.com.
OREGON JEWISH LIFE | MAY/JUNE 2021 19
ACTIVELY SENIOR Amy and Mom
When the going gets tough, the tough get giving By Amy Hirshberg Lederman
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pring has sprung, and along with the warmer temps and new sprigs of green comes the blossom of hope. For more than a year, COVID has limited our life choices; it has inhibited, and in most cases, prevented our prior, uninhibited ability to spend time with family, friends and colleagues. We sheltered in place while yearning for the simplest of activities: shopping, going to work, going out to dinner, or the movies. We struggled to “feel” close in times of grief and sorrow as well as occasions of joy. Yet for my 95-year-old mother, COVID did less to restrict her world than the infirmities that have accompanied nine decades of living. Most of Mom’s friends are gone, and my father, just three months shy of his 100th birthday, died two years ago. But while Mom is wheelchair bound, her mind is impressively agile. I marvel at her deep interest in politics, the books she reads, and her constant contact with family. And while her physical mobility wanes, her capacity to offer guidance, inspiration and wisdom increases. One such moment came when Mom confided that she wanted to make a difference in her final years. We were sitting on the couch, her fragile body leaning into mine when she told me, “I want to give more, to make a difference in this troubled world – for my children, grandchildren and greatgrandchildren. There are so many people who desperately need our help to maintain dignity and a secure life.” She paused for a moment and then added, “It’s part of being human, you know – to want to give from the heart. And it’s important to figure out what means the most to you and why.”
I was stunned. Mom’s wisdom perfectly articulated the foundation of philanthropic giving: it’s all about identifying your values and priorities and wanting to make the world a better place. In my previous work as a Legacy Consultant for the Jewish Community Foundation of Southern Arizona, I saw first-hand the impact of thoughtful philanthropic giving. I watched our Tucson community benefit from the endowments and gifts of people who cared about issues ranging from Jewish education and Israel to social justice, climate change and the arts. But giving requires some soul searching: How much should we give? How do we prioritize our donations? Should we support Jewish organizations over secular ones? Should we give now or wait until we die? The Jewish tradition doesn’t speak in terms of charity. Instead, we take our marching orders from the mitzvah of tzedakah, or righteousness in Hebrew. Tzedakah is the hand-maiden to tikkun olam, the Jewish obligation to repair the world. Together, they form a call to action, to consciously distribute a part of what we have to care for others. We don’t give because it feels good (although it does feel good). We give because we’re Jews. Jewish law prioritizes the poor of our own community
over the poor living elsewhere, although priority is given to the poor in Israel. We give in concentric circles: starting with our own family and community and then expanding out into the larger world, including Jews and non-Jews alike. The Talmud specifically recognizes that any needy person who lives peacefully with us is worthy of charity. During our lives, we will undoubtedly have times when our ability to give may be restricted. And yet it is times like now – when COVID has ravaged our economy and caused a global health crisis unparalleled to anything we have ever known, that Jewish tradition requires us to step up and make a difference. No matter how much or how little we have, the beauty of tzedakah is that it is an “equal opportunity mitzvah.” As our sages taught: “To the one who is eager to give, God provides the means.”
AMY HIRSHBERG LEDERMAN
Amy Hirshberg Lederman has written more than 300 columns and essays that have been published nationwide, amyhirshberglederman.com
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How do you know you’re ready for retirement?
It’s not just the finances
n intriguing finding emerged from a 2019 RAND Corporation survey on Americans and their working conditions. It turned out that 40% of employees 65 and older had previously retired, but something lured them back to the working world. In some cases, financial troubles might have been the cause. But often, the reason is that people neglect a critical component in their retirement planning. “They don’t think about what they will do with their extra time, or how they will give their life the meaning and purpose work provided,” says Patti Hart, co-author with her husband, Milledge, of The Resolutionist: Welcome to the Anti-Retirement Movement (antiretirement.com). 22 MAY/JUNE 2021 | OREGON JEWISH LIFE
“Money is certainly important, but it’s not the only thing that determines whether your retirement is a success,” she says. “It may be that you are financially ready to retire but are a long way from being emotionally ready.” The Harts spent more than 30 years as executive leaders in numerous technology and investment banking businesses. Today, in what they refer to as the “Resolutionist” – rather than retirement – phase of their lives, they are applying their resources and skills in new ways to advance philanthropic and corporate activities around the globe. Here they offer tips for figuring out when to retire and for making sure you’re successful when you do:
KNOW YOUR CATALYSTS.
PLAN AHEAD TO AVOID SEPARATION ANXIETY FROM WORK.
GET COMFORTABLE WITH THE UNCOMFORTABLE.
LEARN TO BE YOUR OWN BEST FRIEND.
Identify milestones or signs that will let you know you are ready to embark on a new postwork life. Yes, that could be when you’ve accumulated a certain amount of savings. But it might also be related to when your spouse quits their job, or when your children graduate college and head out on their own. Maybe your plan is to work until your health gives out. “Knowing your catalysts can mean the difference between successfully transitioning to a fulfilled life after your career is over, or boomeranging back to the full-time workforce simply because you didn’t know why you quit to begin with,” says Milledge.
For many people, moving from the excitement and fulfillment of a career to the quietness of retirement is too much. They develop a form of “separation anxiety,” longing for their old way of life rather than venturing boldly into the new one. “You need to make a plan for what you want to do in your new post-career life, so you aren’t floundering when you get there,” says Patti.
At work, people are thrown into uncomfortable situations and have no choice but to face them head on. In retirement, it’s easier to avoid discomfort, but doing so diminishes your confidence, and you miss out on opportunities for personal growth and fun. “It would seem counterintuitive to think that being uncomfortable brings happiness, but it does. Go at life as if it’s an adventure – because it is,” Milledge says. “When you accomplish something you didn’t think you could, you get a jolt of endorphins that drives you to your next challenge.”
Even when people want to try a new hobby or activity, they sometimes are afraid to do it alone. In retirement, you might not have the social network you once did. You may long for a good friend you can rely on. But if you think about it, you already have that friend – yourself. So as you prepare for retirement, be ready to go solo on occasion. “When you get to this stage, you will often find that some things on your list are on your list alone,” Patti says. “No one in your universe shares your interest or has the time to join you. That’s all right. If you are going to continue to grow, you need sometimes to feel like you did something completely on your own.”
“Don’t convince yourself that in retirement, you are going to be destined to a life of watching evening game shows and baking pies unless, of course, that is what you love to
do,” Milledge says. “My advice is nothing is off limits, so reach for the stars. Look forward rather than backward, and embrace the new you.” OREGON JEWISH LIFE | MAY/JUNE 2021 23
Moments to remember We invited a few seniors in Portland to answer the following question: What moment in your history do you most vividly remember? Their responses all reflect thoughtful recollections of memorable life experiences.
Although I was a child during WWII, my memories of that time are still very vivid. I honestly don’t remember feeling fear growing up in Salem, OR during this time. I do remember the Willamette Valley being transformed due to the war and army bases popping up. Camp Adair was not too far away, and it was common to see soldiers all the time. My father was head of the local USO and was always inviting soldiers home for meals. One soldier, in particular, Kurt Blau was a Jewish soldier from Vienna, Austria. He had lost all of his family during the war and immigrated to the United States and joined the U.S. Army. He was a classically trained pianist, and we all adored him. My father especially, was very close to him. Eventually, he was shipped out to the United Kingdom, but he continued to send us regular updates by mail. One day, my father told us that he had been sent to the front. And then the letters suddenly stopped. We realized he had died. It was a terrible blow. I also remember food
rationing, though turkeys were still plentiful. And because large home freezers didn’t exist at that time, everyone rented them at freezer warehouses. I also remember that all the silk had to be used for parachutes, so women no longer had nylons. As a result, the fashion trend was to draw a black seam down your leg with a marker to simulate the look of nylons at that time. Everyone was expected to and wanted to help the war effort, even school children. So in the summer, we would go by the busloads, accompanied by teachers, to the fields to harvest crops and pick the berries. It was something we all enjoyed, and we felt that in our own small way, we were helping our country.
dear friend Rick Fendel and his dad, Joe Fendel, a part owner. Needless to say, the sale that was planned was not successful because of the storm. There were many donuts and much coffee to be had, though. Winds up to 100+ mph were clocked in the Portland area. At one point, we rescued a man who was clinging to a pole. We formed a human chain to reel him into the store. He helped with the coffee and donuts and went about his way when the storm lessened. I tried to contact my parents, but the phone lines were down, and it was impossible. After the storm, Joe drove me home and we saw the devastation, trees leveled, etc. We lost our chimney at our house. It was a frightening night.
The afternoon started out balmy. I was 17 years old and was asked to help work a promotion at Standard Furniture on SE Foster in Portland, OR. As the day progressed, the sky grew darker and it became quite windy. This was the beginning of what is now referred to as the Columbus Day Storm, Oct. 12, 1962. I was working with my
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My most vivid memory is the bombing of Pearl Harbor. I remember coming home from church and turning on the radio. And that’s the news we heard. I think I was a freshman in high school. My parents were horrified and knew that my two older brothers would be going off to war before it was over. They indeed did go off to war. One was in
the European theater and the other in the Pacific. My oldest brother’s plane was shot down, and he was a Japanese prisoner of war until the war was over. Very vivid, bad memories.
There are two moments in history that I vividly remember. The first was Dec. 7, 1941. We had just returned from church and were sitting down for lunch. My dad had been listening to the radio and came in to announce that the Japanese had just attacked Pearl Harbor. One of my mother’s brothers was in the Navy and was stationed in Hawaii, so we were all concerned for his safety. I can still picture in my mind, the family sitting in the kitchen and my dad telling us about the attack on Pearl Harbor. The second moment in history that I vividly remember is Sept. 11, 2001. It was early in the morning. My husband and I were awake but lying in bed thinking about getting up when the phone beside the bed rang. I answered, and it was our son David who lived in Detroit at the time. He said, “Do you have your TV on?” I said, “No, we’re still in bed.
What’s going on?” “The world has changed,” he said. We turned on our TV in time to see the pictures of the tower in New York falling. David was right. The world had changed, and I can still hear his voice in my head saying, “The world has changed.”
Alyda’s son, David Gilkey was an NPR photojournalist who was killed on June 5, 2016. He was on a reporting assignment traveling with the Afghan National Army when the Humvee he was riding in was ambushed on a remote road. Zabihullah Tamanna, an Afghan reporter was also killed during the attack.
1. The Twin Towers memorial lights. 2. Columbus Day storm devasation. 3. Rationing poster during WW II. 4. WW II fashion statement, creating stocking seams 5. Attack at Pearl Harbor.
OREGON JEWISH LIFE | MAY/JUNE 2021 25
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he Jewish Grandparents Network began in August 2017 when co-founders Lee M. Hendler and David Raphael realized the underrecognized role of grandparents and the complex dynamics of today’s “new Jewish family.” Lee serves as president and David as CEO. Lee worked for decades on her family’s charitable foundations and in leadership roles in many Jewish and communal organizations. She author of The Year Mom Got Religion: One Woman’s Mid-Life Journey into Judaism and is “Gromzy” to six grandchildren. David has spent virtually all his professional career in Jewish communal service. A graduate of the Columbia University School of Social Work, he spent 30 years in Hillel, including roles as Assistant International Director, Executive Director of Hillel of Greater Baltimore and Senior Campus Liaison for Hillel International. David has one granddaughter.
The JGN website shares stories and essays by grandparents, family members and professionals along with educational and informational resources and videos on grandparenting today. Since the onset of the pandemic, JGN has gathered anecdotal data about grandparents’ challenges, fears and frustrations, as well as the shifting roles they are playing in their families. They felt they needed quantitative data to assess current trends, so they developed a short grandparents’ survey, distributed on social media and by email, and received 291 responses. While the survey lacks the high level of external validity of the 2019 National Study of Jewish Grandparents conducted by Karen Radkowsky of Impact:NPO, the results provide important insights into how the pandemic has impacted grandparents’ roles in their families. In many families, grandparents have stepped up and stepped in to help exhausted parents with remote
learning, everyday chores and basic childcare. There is, of course, another side of the COVID experience for grandparents. Some grandparents have not seen their grandchildren since the start of the pandemic and others have yet to meet grandchildren born in the last nine months.Read the results of their findings here: https://jewishgrandparentsnetwork.org/wp-content/ uploads/2020/12/Grandparents-and-Covid-For-WEB.pdf There is no doubt that grandparents and their families face challenges during the pandemic and also, more broadly, in the context of today’s new and changing Jewish family. Grandparents are the ones to often guide us, but they also need the wisdom, and collective support of our Jewish community. There is no membership fee to participate in the Jewish Grandparent Network. For more information, visit jewishgrandparentsnetwork.org.
OREGON JEWISH LIFE | MAY/JUNE 2021 27
Introducing The Duchess Collection. Add these earring jackets to your diamond studs and other favorites to expand your earring wardrobe like a princess. Handcrafted in heirloom quality by master jeweler Masaaki Takahashi with European crystals. Fabulously light catching. Feel and look like high quality fine jewelry. Feather light because of the rare Yosemono art of Samurai tradition. Each earring jacket set includes 1 pair of Chrysmela Catch, Platinum. Front earrings are not included. Apply to any studs you have. $135.00 • Chrysme.la
Mother's Day FLOWER POWER
Freshcut paper Send some colorful and whimsical earth friendly flower bouquet greeting cards that pop up and bring joy to any room. $12.00 • freshcutpaper.com
HILL OF BEANS
Hibernation's Over, Beaches (Perfect Tan Bronzer) Hibernation’s Over, Beaches! will instantly give your skin a boost of radiance. Even if you have been in quarantine! The weightless bronzer, infused with subtle gold dust, will leave your complexion with a perfectly nude-skin effect and sultry glow. Their formula is enhanced with natural SPF and Vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that helps to protect against the effects of free radicals. $45.00 • elevecosmetics.com
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Bath Bean - Give your mom a day to remember by bringing the spa atmosphere home. The Bath Bean is THE luxury accessory designed to keep you in one spot while bathing. The Bath Bean is a sleek silicone stopper that holds your body in a reclined position. No more slipping! This releases body tension and allows your limbs to float for the ultimate weightless relaxation experience. Let the hot water do the work while you enter a state of pure bliss. $99.00 bathbean.com
Celestial Silk - Pure silk pillowcases & pure silk accessories for restful beauty sleep. Naturally reduce signs of aging & stress with a silk pillowcase. Sleep soundly. Sleep in silk. Silk Pillowcase - 25 Momme Pure Mulberry Silk. From $ 35.99 • celestialsilk.com
HEAVEN IN A CUP Tea Fortē - Experience our limited-edition Jardin Collection, created in partnership with The New York Botanical Garden (NYBG). Includes: One limited-edition Mini Petite Presentation Box (10 infusers, 5 blends). Blends: Chamomile Citron, Chocolate Rose, Green Mango Peach, Strawberry Hibiscus, Vanilla Pear $49.99 • teaforte.com
A hug - after the slog of 2020, 2021 appears to be shaping up for close contact. I think any mother would find this the perfect gift and one she didn't realize was so essential. Free
Ponytail Hats - So many Moms are wearing hats right now, either as a quick hair fix or a stylish accent. Finally, there’s a hat that allows you to style your hair your way and fits super comfortably. Ponytail wearers will love it! Get to know Ponyback Hats, your newest must-have accessory that lets you style your hair however it suits you best, up or down. Created by a mom entrepreneur, the hats are for all hair types from big luscious curly locks to fine tresses, extensions, and dreads. Curly pony, no pony, high bun, high pony - Ponyback Hats has you covered. How do they do it? A large magnetic opening at the back accommodates any hair type eliminating velcro, buttons, or snaps. The front structure is kept in place so you look stylish no matter what the day brings. The stretch material fits all head sizes with women’s and girls’ styles available. $ 49.99 • ponybackhats.com ARIZONA JEWISH LIFE | MAY/JUNE 2021 29
SHAKE, SHAKE, SHAKE
Baby Fire Pits From coffee tables to picnic tables, spruce up your space for Spring in a magical new way with Baby Fire Pits. These pint sized beauties are crafted from gorgeous copper and durable steel and use smokeless, odorless gel fuel to cast their glow without staining your covered porches, outdoor umbrellas, or ceiling Not everyone has a backyard for bonfires and marshmallow roasts, but with Baby Fire Pits you can get the parwty started anywhere! Each fire pit is one of a kind due to the beautiful patina of the copper! • Measures in at 10” tall with a 6” diameter • Includes one can of Echo Valley gel fuel $84.99 • babyfirepits.com
Ultimate Grilling Spice Set Lets face it no ones burgers taste better than dads, no ones bbq is yummier! So lets arm our favorite grill masters with the ultimate spice and seasoning set for the long summer months. Whether he's out on the deck or cooking up a storm in the kitchen any dad will be honored to receive this fathers day gift. Its a seal of approval for all his grilling efforts. $39.99 • amazon.com
Putt Out -Putting Mirror Trainer with Gate Work on your short game with this putting mirror alignment aid that lets you perfect your putt shot. Calibrate eye, shoulder, and ball alignment with its mirrored surface and magnetic adjustable guides that rest on top. Ready to practice? Start swinging. $74.99 • puttout.com
Father's Day IT'S GOOD TO BE THE KING!
Iconic Paw -Regal portraits Just imagine yourself, striking your regal pose as the King himself. Let them all bask in your glory. Everyone will be in awe... including you. Hand-drawn by our masterful artists. Each portrait is crafted with care and great attention to detail. So, simply upload your photo, and our artists will give you something that will make you proud. Because you deserve it. $49.99 • iconicpaw.com
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Stadium Views - 3-D Stadium Picture Frame These 3D stadium picture frames pay tribute to some of the most famous (and beloved) professional and college sports stadiums in the USA. These frames are sure to be a fan favorite. Comes in a variety of major professional sports leagues and teams. $29.99 • thegrommet.com
CAST A LINE
Vbro - Give Dad the ultimate catch; a week surf-fishing at the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Go to Vbro and type in your destination, dates, and other criteria. There are filters to customize your requirements.• vbro.com
I'LL TAKE A COLD ONE
Yeti - Meet the leakproof, tough-as-nails, carry-the-day soft cooler. $249.99 • yeti.com
Grown Alchemist - 16.9 oz. Hand Wash (LG) - Sweet Orange/Cedarwood/Sage $37 • neimanmarcus.com
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FRONT & CENTER
Spirituality on silk
By Mala Blomquist
iane Fredgant white silk that is stretched was attending a using special pieces of drumming circle bamboo so that the silk can at an artist’s “float” in order not to have studio in Albuquerque, any creases on the finished NM, more than 25 years product. ago when she admired the Diane then places her woman’s painted silk artwork drawing under the silk and and asked her to create a uses a unique water-based wall hanging for her. When material called gutta that the artist told her that she acts as a resist to outline the thought she could make her design. own wall hanging, Diane “I'll draw my design on laughed. At the time, she was and then let it dry for 24 “Night Tree of Life” challah cover. a sculptor of stone and wood hours,” says Diane. “Then and had never even entertained becoming a painter. I check it and make sure I don't have any holes in the gutta “But then I painted my first piece, and I just fell in love. It line because if there are holes in that line when you put the was amazing,” remembers Diane. dye in it'll just seep into the next area, and sometimes that The first silk item she ever painted was a scarf for an aunt’s will ruin the piece.” birthday, and the second was the wall hanging. The next step is to lay out all the colors. She applies the “I just fell in love with it and bought a bunch of supplies color with calligraphy brushes that she obtained on a trip to and a steamer,” says Diane. She received minimal instruction China. Diane jokes that she is never that precise when she from the artist but learned a lot of it through trial and error. is mixing colors. “I will never be able to recreate something “She taught me how to process the silk and what part of exactly; everything is one of a kind from me – there is no the process to be careful with, and then you test things out. formula,” she says. “I just breathe and let go and go for it. You I'm still testing out new processes, new ways of working the have to work fast because if an area of the dye dries as you're material. It's always changing.” going along, it creates these lines. I work fast and let things Diane does a lot of custom tallit designs for clients. “I work flow together. It’s a form of ‘controlled chaos,’ because it isn’t with the bar/bat mitzvah person, or an adult, and I talk to something you can completely control – it’s a one-shot deal.” them about where they find their spirituality because a tallit After the piece is painted, there is a two-day drying is kind of a cave if you will,” says Diane. “A cave where you process, and then Diane steams it for 2 ½ hours to set the surround yourself, and you get in touch with the source. So color. She then hand washes the piece to ensure that all the it's like a personal prayer space.” excess dye is removed. As she talks to her client, she starts to visualize pictures The next step is to sew the painted silk into a tallit. Diane in her head, and she’ll begin a sketch. Diane will then turn uses high-end cotton to line the piece. those sketches into a life-size drawing and send photos to the “I go along the bolts of quilters cotton, and I just find that client for approval. Once she receives approval, and they have perfect color match; it’s usually just one,” says Diane. “If I decided on colors, she begins the piece. don't find it at my main store, then I go to another, and then Every tallit she creates starts with a large piece of pure another. I have three different stores I go to, and I know 32 MAY/JUNE 2021 | OREGON JEWISH LIFE
Artist and designer, Diane Fredgant
Above: front and back views of “Rainbow Leaves” tallit Right: up close detail of Pomegranate tallit. OREGON JEWISH LIFE | MAY/JUNE 2021 33
The thought and execution that has gone into creating the “Modern Mishkan.”
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people there. They see me coming and say, ‘What do you have for us today?’” And if the painting process isn’t stressful enough, Diane has to be careful when cutting the silk before sewing. “I have cut the silk in the wrong place by accident at the very end,” she says. “I had that happen some years ago, and I could fix it. This next time was recent, and I couldn't – I had to start over. I cried on that one.” Diane also hand makes bags for each tallit, using the matching lining material and one-of-a-kind buttons. She puts careful detail into every step of the process because she wants the finished product to be of the highest quality for its owner. She has also been asked to “hide” things in the tallit, which has special meaning for the wearer. “One person wanted some of her baby blanket in the tallit. So I hid it between the atarah (collar) and the lining so that nobody could see it, but she knew it was there,” says Diane. “Someone was into music, so I put little headphones on one of the biblical characters in the scene. I’ve also written the names of someone’s ancestors into the water of a river.” Diane has lived in Portland for 19 years and was one of ORA Northwest Jewish Artists group’s original members and is now its president. “I was pretty new at the time to Portland, and they invited me. I didn't know anybody in the group, and now we're all really close,” she says.
She is currently working with other artists on a project called the “Modern Mishkan.” Ten years ago, Diane had the vision to recreate this portable holy space mentioned in the Torah. The large art installation is covered with all 613 mitzvot in English and Hebrew and serves as “a prayer space, an offering and a representation of the connection between art and faith that has driven my career.” Although COVID-19 put the project on pause, it was previously on display at Congregation Neveh Shalom, and it also appeared at the 2019 NewCAJE Conference in Portland. “It's a work in process, and every time I put it up somewhere there's something new that gets revealed,” says Diane. The most recent thing she added was a copper bowl because copper was a common element used in the mishkan of old. “People put prayers into it, and then I burned them so that the smoke went up to God, and then I buried the ashes.” She recently received a grant for the project and intends to rebuild the internal structure with aluminum to be lighter and more portable. She has a goal for when the pandemic is over. “What I want to do is drive down the corridor of I-5 and set up at temples or shuls along the way and do a weekend Shabbaton inside the Modern Mishkan.” To find out more about the Modern Mishkan, or to view Diane’s art, visit silksbydiane.org.
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We at Oregon Jewish Life know that you are counting on us to publish our annual Resource Guide, the only one serving the entire state of Arizona, as we have for almost a decade. The 2021-2022 Resource Guide will be even more comprehensive because of all the organizations, congregations, businesses, nonprofits, schools and restaurants that contribute to making it the biggest and best guide yet. Please sign up for The Weekly edition at orjewishlife.com/the-weekly-sign-me-up/ to be the first to receive the Resource Guide. We need your help to make this the best Resource Guide for our community. To advertise, contact 602-538-2855 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Facebook: @ORJewishLife Twitter: @JewishLifeNow Instagram: @JEWISHLIFENOW OREGON JEWISH LIFE | MAY/JUNE 2021 35
This summer, get lost in a book Compiled by Mala Blomquist IT’S SUMMER!
Amid Rage by Joel Burcat (Headline Books; February 2021) Up-and-coming environmental lawyer Mike Jacobs finds himself caught in the middle of a potentially lethal legal situation when a small Pennsylvania community is harassed by Ernie Rinati, the owner of Rhino Mining Co. who will stop at nothing to see that his new mine becomes operational. Sid Feldman, an influential big-city lawyer, the enigmatic Miranda Clymer, and Mike’s best friend Nicky Kane also join in the legal fray.
I DON’T KNOW if it’s the slower pace or the thought of curling up outside with a book by the pool (or beach!) that sounds so delightful, but there is something about summer and reading that goes together. Also, aren’t we all a little sick of binge-watching TV by now? Following are some books that I have come across and wanted to share with you. Enjoy!
Life and Other Shortcomings by Corie Adjmi (She Writes Press; Aug. 2020) A collection of linked short stories that takes the reader from New Orleans to New York City to Madrid, and from 1970 to the present day. The women in these twelve stories make a number of different choices: some work, others don’t; some stay married, some get divorced; others never marry at all. Through each character’s intimate journey, specific truths are revealed about what it means to be a woman – in a relationship with another person, in a particular culture and era – and how these conditions ultimately affect her relationship with herself. Prairie Sonata by Sandy Shefrin Rabin (Friesen Press; Nov. 2020) Mira Adler grows up in post–World War II Canada in a close-knit Manitoba community founded by secular Jews from Eastern Europe. The heart of the story is her relationship with her Yiddish teacher, Chaver B, a recent immigrant from Prague who is mysterious and intriguing and who Mira believes harbors a painful secret. Chaver B becomes deeply intwined in Mira’s life, and their relationship evolves, especially after he offers to teach her to play the violin. What she learns about his history both outrages and saddens her, yet she cannot stop herself from uncovering the truth about his life. The Light of the Midnight Stars by Rena Rossner (Hachette Book Group; April 2021) Enter a world of Jewish fairy tales, Romanian fables, and Hungarian legend in this entrancing historical fantasy novel. Deep in the Hungarian woods, the sacred magic of King Solomon lives on in three sisters, each blessed with a unique magical ability. As a dark fog makes its way to their village, the sisters learn secrets and make choices that will change their family forever.
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FICTION literature in the form
of prose, especially short stories and novels, that describes imaginary events and people.
The Summer of Lost Letters by Hannah Reynolds (Penguin Group; June 2021)
Summer of Stolen Secrets by Julie Sternberg (Viking; May 2021)
Shortly after the death of her grandmother, 17-year-old Abby Schoenberg discovers a trove of love letters from a mystery man named Edward. With her friends spread out and no concrete summer plans, the intriguing letters have her packing her bags for Nantucket to learn more about Edward and a grandmother who, it turns out, is much different than the woman she knew.
This heartwarming, and at times heartbreaking, coming of age inspired by the author’s own childhood is about a New York City girl spending the summer with her relatives in Baton Rouge, LA. She reconnects with her safta, her strict Jewish grandmother who cut off contact after her father married a Christian woman, and her own Jewish identity when she discovers secrets her family has long kept about safta’s escape from Nazi Germany. OREGON JEWISH LIFE | MAY/JUNE 2021 37
NON FICTION prose writing that is
based on facts, real events, and real people, such as biography or history. “high on the bestseller lists of nonfiction”
38 MAY/JUNE 2021 | OREGON JEWISH LIFE
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Stockholm: The Adrenaline-Fueled Adventures of an Accidental Scientist by Robert Lefkowitz, MD, with Randy Hall (Pegasus Books; February 2021) The rollicking memoir from the cardiologist turned legendary scientist and winner of the Nobel Prize that revels in the joy of science and discovery. Filled to the brim with anecdotes and energy, and gives us a glimpse into the life of one of today's leading scientists. Becoming a Soulful Parent: A Path to the Wisdom Within by Dasee Berkowitz (Kasva Press LCC; March 2021) Combining insights from thousands of years of traditional Jewish wisdom with her own utterly relatable first-person storytelling, the author helps you embrace every moment with your family while leaning into the challenges of parenting with renewed perspective and enthusiasm. Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty by Patrick Radden Keefe (Doubleday Books; April 2021) A grand, devastating portrait of three generations of the Sackler family, famed for their philanthropy, whose fortune was built by Valium and whose reputation was destroyed by OxyContin. Ethel Rosenberg: An American Tragedy by Anne Sebba (St. Martin’s Press, June 2021) A moving biography of Ethel Rosenberg, the wife and mother whose execution for espionagerelated crimes defined the Cold War and horrified the world Seventy years after her trial, this is the first time Ethel’s story has been told with the full use of the dramatic and tragic prison letters she exchanged with her husband, her lawyer and her psychotherapist over a three-year period, two of them in solitary confinement. If Anyone Calls, Tell Them I Died by Emanuel Rosen (Amsterdam Publishers; March 2021) This true story demonstrates the devastating consequences of Nazi persecution, even for survivors who fled Europe before WWII and did not experience the horrors of the Holocaust. It is also a stark reminder of the heavy psychological toll of uprooting, still experienced by refugees and exiles today. THE NINE: The True Story of a Band of Women Who Survived the Worst of Nazi Germany by Gwen Strauss (St. Martin’s Press, May 2021) The dramatic tale of the author’s great aunt Hélène Podliasky, who led a band of nine female resistance fighters as they escaped a German forced labor camp and made a ten-day journey across the front lines of WWII from Germany back to Paris. Drawing on incredible research, this powerful, heart-stopping narrative is a moving tribute to the power of humanity and friendship in the darkest of times.
OREGON JEWISH LIFE | MAY/JUNE 2021 39
FIRE UP that grill!
f summer had a taste, it would definitely be something grilled to perfection. These recipes cover a complete meal from main dish to dessert – all from the grill!
SWEET TEA BRINED CHICKEN For the tastiest chicken ever, brine a whole cut-up chicken in sweet tea with lemon.
INGREDIENTS: 2 family-size tea bags ½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar ¼ cup kosher salt 1 small sweet onion, thinly sliced 1 lemon, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, halved 2 (6-inch) fresh rosemary sprigs 1 tablespoon freshly cracked pepper 2 cups ice cubes 1 (3 1/2-to 4-lb.) cut-up whole chicken
INSTRUCTIONS: Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a 3-qt. heavy saucepan; add tea bags. Remove from heat; cover and steep 10 minutes. Discard tea bags. Stir in sugar and next 6 ingredients, stirring until sugar dissolves. Cool completely (about 45 minutes); stir in ice. (Mixture should be cold before adding chicken.) Place tea mixture and chicken in a large zip-top plastic freezer bag; seal. Place bag in a shallow baking dish and chill 24 hours. Remove chicken from marinade, discarding marinade; pat chicken dry with paper towels. Light one side of grill, heating to 40 MAY/JUNE 2021 | OREGON JEWISH LIFE
300° to 350° (medium) heat; leave other side unlit. Place chicken, skin side down, over unlit side, and grill, covered with grill lid, 20 minutes. Turn chicken, and grill, covered with grill lid, 20 minutes. Turn chicken, and grill, covered with grill lid, 40 to 50 minutes or until done. Transfer chicken, skin side down, to lit side of grill, and grill 2 to 3 minutes or until skin is crispy. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Recipe courtesy Southern Living, photo credit: Hector Sanchez; styling: Karin Olsen
THE BEST EASY GRILLED VEGETABLES Zucchini, bell pepper, onions, asparagus, and mushrooms become sweet and savory when cooked on the grill. With just a brushing of olive oil and sprinkling of salt and pepper, this cooking method is simple and lets the vegetables natural goodness shine through. INGREDIENTS: 2 portobello mushrooms 1 eggplant 1 zucchini 1 yellow squash 1 onion 1 bunch thick asparagus 1 red bell pepper 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 1 tablespoon kosher salt 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
INSTRUCTIONS: Prepare the grill with clean grates and preheat to medium heat, 350°F to 450°F. Trim the ends of the eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash and onion and cut into 1/3" to 1/2" slices. Seed the red bell pepper and cut into quarters. Trim the ends of the asparagus. Drizzle the vegetables with olive oil and sprinkle evenly with salt and pepper. Grill the vegetables with the lid closed until tender and lightly charred all over, about 8 to 10 minutes for the bell peppers, onion, and mushroom; 5-7 minutes for the yellow squash, zucchini, and eggplant and asparagus. Serve warm or at room temperature. Recipe courtesy Foodie Crush OREGON JEWISH LIFE | MAY/JUNE 2021 41
FOOD HERBED MUSHROOM AND RICE FOIL PACKS Yes, you can make rice on the grill and all you need is aluminum foil.
INGREDIENTS: 1 cup chicken broth 2 tablespoons butter, melted 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 cup uncooked instant white rice 1 pound button mushrooms, thinly sliced 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley leaves Lemon wedges, if desired INSTRUCTIONS: Heat gas or charcoal grill. Cut 4 (18x12-inch) sheets of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Spray with cooking spray. In large bowl, mix broth, melted butter, brown sugar, garlic, thyme and salt. Add instant rice; stir and let stand about 10 minutes or until most of liquid is absorbed. Divide mushrooms evenly among sheets of foil, then top with rice mixture. Bring up 2 sides of foil so edges meet. Seal edges, making tight 1/2-inch fold; fold again, allowing space for heat circulation and expansion. Fold other sides to seal. Place packs on grill over medium heat. Cover grill; cook 12 minutes. Rotate packs 1/2 turn; cook 12 to 14 minutes longer or until mushrooms and rice are tender. Remove packs from grill; cut large X across top of each pack. Carefully fold back foil, and garnish with parsley. Serve with lemon wedges. Recipe courtesy Tablespoon Kitchens
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GRILLED BERRY PEACH PIE Did you know you can make a pie on the grill? Pie for dessert, no oven needed. INGREDIENTS: 1 pie crust from a pack of two or you can use a homemade crust 3 cups berries fresh or frozen, see note below 1/3 cup granulated sugar plus more for sprinkling 2 tablespoons cornstarch 1 tablespoon lemon juice from 1/2 a lemon Zest of 1/2 a lemon, about 1 teaspoon 1 teaspoon heavy whipping cream 2 disposable foil pie pans or square baking pans INSTRUCTIONS: Preheat grill to as close to 350°F as you can get it. Place berries in a large bowl. Sprinkle with sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice and zest. Toss with your hands. Unroll pie crust and place it in a disposable foil pie plate (or a disposable foil square pan). Place fruit in the center and fold up the edges to form the crust. Brush the edges with heavy whipping cream and sprinkle with granulated sugar (optional). Place a second foil pie plate or square baking pan upside down on the grill. Place the pie (in its pan) on top of the inverted pan and close the lid to the grill. Cook until the crust is cooked through, from 20-30 minutes depending on how hot your grill is. Check it at 15 minutes and then every few minutes after to make sure it doesn’t burn. Carefully remove pie from grill. Cool before slicing. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream! Note about frozen fruit – be sure to let it thaw before making your pie. Frozen fruit has a lot of extra water and will cause your pie to be juicier. Let it thaw and drain it well. Recipe courtesy Crazy for Crust ARIZONA JEWISH LIFE |MAY/JUNE 2021 43
j kids & teens
“Collective Compassion” for Mental Health Awareness Month
44 MAY/JUNE 2021 | OREGON JEWISH LIFE
he Jewish community is bringing the power of “Collective Compassion” to National Mental Health Awareness Month (collectivecompassion2021.com). A project of the Jewish Teen Education and Engagement Funder Collaborative for the second year in a row, Collective Compassion shares events and resources from more than a dozen partners in a coordinated response to the significant mental health wellness needs of the Jewish community, amplified over the last 14 months. Pop-up programs, creative workshops, giving circles, “screenside chats” and wellness inspiration throughout the month all draw on Jewish culture and wisdom to increase resiliency and help address rising levels of loneliness, stress, and anxiety. HIGHLIGHTS OF COLLECTIVE COMPASSION INCLUDE: Creativity for Coping, to help build resilience through creative guides such as ‘Storytelling for Strength and Sanity,’ screaming meditation, breathwork, and a comedy show to help people relax, center themselves, and understand how these techniques tie to Jewish wisdom. Education & Awareness to learn and share practical tools for mental health, iGen: Understanding the Smartphone Generation with Dr. Jean Twenge, an event for parents and educators of teens and tweens that will provide ideas for how to help your family find a better balance with technology to be healthier and happier. CPR for Mental Health, an evidence-based course teaching adults how to support young people, ages 12-21. Professionals and others caring adults and parents will benefit from the Jewishly-framed, 6.5 hour training, a mix of self-paced and Instructor-led workshops. Certification valid for three years. Curated books, art, apps and quarantine playlists to provide personal support and to support positive mental health. “Events of the last year have left many reeling with a heightened sense of uncertainty, confusion and loss, and our community is responding in a powerful way” says Sara Allen, Executive Director of the Jewish Teen Education and Engagement Funder Collaborative. “We are inspired by the creativity and commitment of our partners, and hope people explore the dozens of offerings and learn self-compassion strategies, participate in practices that draw on Jewish tradition, and see that no matter what people are going through – you are not alone.” Collective Compassion partners include At the Well, BBYO, Here Now, Honeycomb, Foundation for Jewish Camp, Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund, JCC Mid-Westchester, Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, Jewish LearningWorks, Mitsui Collective, Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies, Jewish Teen Education and Engagement Network, Moving Traditions, NFTY, and Serve the Moment powered by Repair the World to harness the creative spirit and wisdom of many artists and educators.
OREGON JEWISH LIFE | MAY/JUNE 2021 45
j kids & teens There’s still time to apply for
Tivnu’s 2021-22 Gap Year
46 MAY/JUNE 2021 | OREGON JEWISH LIFE
f the first of May slipped by you somehow and you'd still like to apply to Tivnu: Building Justice’s 2021-22 Gap Year cohort, there's good news: they still have a few spots left and there's an information session coming up May 13 at 5 pm to answer any questions that stand between you and applying. This year's cohort has been greatly affected by the pandemic, of course, and not just in how they've worked every day to keep healthy. Tivnu 7’s construction focus pivoted from tiny house building to building platforms, ramps, washing stations, solar panels, a gatehouse and more, all for new distanced camps and villages for unhoused Portlanders. And, as Construction Coach Erik Brakstad explains, Tivnuniks have pitched in to help get more houseless individuals vaccinated: "Here’s one of the more remarkable things I’ve experienced in my years as Tivnu construction trainer... two weeks ago Multnomah county health officials set up a vaccination station at BIPOC Village while we worked. It was really something to see residents with whom we have become acquainted get their vaccinations. Two Tivnu participants took the initiative to go outside the camp and let street campers know that vaccinations were available. They went from tent to tent listening, coaxing and gently cajoling. Ultimately they got at least 10 people in to get vaccinations that otherwise wouldn’t have gotten them, at least on that day. I am proud to be part of an organization that gives young people the opportunity for this level of front line engagement." As a Tivnu Gap Year participant, you’ll connect Jewish life and social justice through individualized internships, discover the Pacific Northwest, and create a home together in Portland, Oregon. Whether you spend your year advocating for immigrants’ rights, creating mentorships for LGBTQ kids, building tiny houses or cooking for houseless Portlanders, you’ll know you made a difference. Register now for the Tivnu info session on May 13 at 5 pm, where you'll be able to ask questions and hear from staff, alumni, and their parents. You can find the Facebook event here or register directly for the Zoom link here. Reach out to Steve@ Tivnu.org or 503-232-1864 with questions.
LOOKING FOR A
UNIQUE GIFT? IN THE
STARS CUSTOM DESIGNED ASTROLOGY CHARTS
ASTROLOGY: The study of the movements and relative positions of celestial bodies interpreted as having an influence on human affairs and the natural world. SAMPLES SHOWN
TAMARA KOPPER email@example.com OREGON JEWISH LIFE | MAY/JUNE 2021 47
fun facts about Shavuot in Israel Shavuot begins the evening of May 16, 2021
havuot is a one-day holiday (two in the Diaspora) with many names, dozens of traditions and recipes galore. The hype surrounding the holiday – agricultural festivals at kibbutz and moshav communities, special lectures at synagogues and community centers, sales on everything white at shopping malls, cheaper dairy products at the supermarket, school plays and child-oriented festivals – make it seem as though Shavuot is a much longer event. Here are eight facts you may not have known about the holiday:
Shavuot, which means “Festival of Weeks,” is just one name for the holiday. It also goes by Harvest Festival (Chag HaKatzir), Day of the First Fruits (Yom Habikurim), The Stoppage/ Restrain (Atzeret – a reference the sages use to highlight the prohibition against work on this day), and Time of the Giving of the Torah (Z’man Matan Torah). Shavuot commemorates the day when the Israelites received the Torah during their desert wanderings more than 3,300 years ago, and is the only Jewish holiday mentioned in the Torah without a specific calendar date. Rather, it is to be celebrated 50 days after the second day of Passover. The rabbis say that Passover and Shavuot are really one holiday – the Exodus from Egypt was only complete with the giving of the Torah.
Shavuot is the only Jewish holiday with a dairy menu. The Bible refers to Israel as “the land of milk and honey,” and Shavuot puts the country’s world-famous dairy in the spotlight. The Torah that Moses brought to the Israelites included the commandment to keep kosher. It was much easier to celebrate the receiving of the law with a dairy smorgasbord than to immediately set into motion kosher slaughtering techniques. Moreover, the gematria (numerical value) of the word chalav (milk) is 40, the number of days Moses spent on Mount Sinai receiving the Torah. Israel boasts more than 1,000 locally made dairy products and the world’s largest selection of soft, spreadable white cheeses, according to the Israel Dairy Board. The Dairy Board helps some of the more than 800 dairy farms around the country arrange visiting days for the general public to see how the 125,000 milking cows of the Israeli Holstein breed each produce an average of 12,083 kilos of milk per year.
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In Israel, you know Shavuot is coming when you pick up your newspaper and recipe booklets drop out. About three weeks prior to the actual date, Israeli newspapers come replete with brand-sponsored recipe booklets and pamphlets promising the “easiest cheesecake” and “fastest blintzes” to wow your guests. Social media is also awash with friends and friends of friends announcing, posting and sharing their famed recipes for dairy pastries and foods.
Get your water guns and buckets … Shavuot is all about water fights, presumably because the Torah is often likened to water. In many Israeli cities, children gather for impromptu water-gun and water-balloon wars in the streets, public squares and parks. Another way to celebrate is taking a water hike along Israel’s rivers. Shavuot is “the” holiday for the farming communities of Israel to show off their agricultural prowess. The symbols of the holiday are the seven species with which the Land of Israel is blessed – wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates. Tradition holds that in ancient times, Shavuot was the day to bring offerings to the Holy Temple from the first fruits of the harvest and the first animals born to the flocks. Today, farmers from different parts of the country take turns bringing their fruit and vegetable samples to Jerusalem – to the president. The annual pilgrimage to the presidential residence in the capital is a highlight in the farming community. Moshav and kibbutz communities also hold elaborate agricultural festivals often open to the public during Shavuot.
Staying awake all night is not just for the teenagers. For centuries, it has been customary to study through the night as payback for the Israelites’ error in oversleeping on the morning they were supposed to receive the Torah. Tikkun Leil Shavuot, or the “Repair of Shavuot Night,” draws people from all denominations to synagogues, community centers, theaters and schools for all-night group learning sessions. Most people come decked out in white (the color of purity). And while top rabbis and Torah scholars may have started the custom, today you can find speakers from all walks of life – singers, actors, professors, writers, spiritual guides, entrepreneurs – presenting lectures on this night.
Around the twelfth century a tradition kicked off in Germany of bringing a child to school for the first time on Shavout, since the Torah was given then. Whether it is because of this custom or just because Israelis love to celebrate festivals, the days around Shavuot offer a dazzling array of childoriented events, happenings and fairs. Article courtesy ISRAEL21c. OREGON JEWISH LIFE | MAY/JUNE 2021 49
Looking ahead with
Jewish Family & Child Service
WHEN: Sunday, May 23 at 5 pm WHERE: Zoom COST: Free to attend online Virtual event about servicing the needs of all with crucial programs, now and for tomorrow. Honoring Renée Holzman with Keynote Speaker Senator Elizabeth Steiner Hayward, MD. Also featuring musical performances, an overview of JFCS services, community testimonials, and a live Mitzvah Moment. For more information, contact 503-2267079 or visit avlaunch. me/jfcs-portland.
ein er H th St ay
JFCS unLuncheon: Hope, Healing & Looking Ahead
or the second year, Jewish Family & Child Service will be holding a virtual unLuncheon to celebrate its caring community. The theme of this year’s event is “ Hope, Healing & Looking Ahead.” “This is not about the past; it’s about all the places we’re going and the things we’ve learned from COVID,” says Ruth Scott, executive director of JFCS. “What we can take away in the way of improving services like telehealth, which is something that’s come to be very important in all of our programs.” Ruth also notes that mental health support has become an essential integrated element in all of their programming since the pandemic. “Mental health issues is not a pandemic – it’s an epidemic right now,” says Susan Greenberg, deputy director for JFCS. “We need to focus on our mental health services.” JFCS began a weekly Community Connection Zoom group that the entire community is welcome to attend every
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Friday at 10 am. Moderated by JFCS’s clinical director, this time offers individuals a space to discuss the struggles and anxieties of living in the world today and vent, laugh and learn from others. JFCS is also looking to hire a child therapist to join the counseling program to help children with, among other things, reintegration when they are heading back to school in the fall. “There is a waitlist for services for adolescents. The need is great, and we are going to find that we will have a waitlist,” says Susan. “It’s exciting that we are expanding that way.” “When I came here three years ago, we weren’t doing any work with children,” says Ruth. “Getting it started and beginning to see it blossom, and to be at the point where we’re ready to hire a child and family therapist is very inspiring.”
w a rd
By Mala Blomquist
The Keynote Speaker for the unLuncheon will be Dr. Elizabeth Steiner Hayward, Oregon State Senator for Northwest Portland and Beaverton. She will be talking about the mental health challenges facing the children of Oregon. “Oregon is currently 41st in the nation when it comes to accessibility for youth services,” says Larry Holzman, president of JFCS’s board of directors. “What we’ve learned as the pandemic gone on, initially we were tasked with managing a beefed-up emergency aid program, then the ongoing mental health stresses to everyone has continued to compound. We’ve been fortunate to see that by being able to do more telehealth, we have been able to expand our reach to the people that need it.” Part of this expanded
reach includes the LGBTQ community, parents of children with disabilities and increased support for Holocaust survivors. “The pandemic experience and the national unrest that we’ve been dealing with has triggered trauma for many of our Holocaust survivors,” says Ruth. “Many are not only
experiencing isolation, but what they see on TV has been very much of a trigger. We have been working with mental health counseling for several years under a grant from the Jewish Federations of North American.” JFCS is currently doing strategic planning to see how society may look six to 24 months from now. The organization hopes to
be better prepared to get ahead of the curve instead of simply being responsive. Since COVID began, JFCS has distributed 11 times the financial support in one form or another as they had previously. “One of our concerns is as COVID begins to recede, that well see a greater divide between the haves and the have nots,” says Ruth. “Where people
just assume that everyone is doing OK because everyone they know is doing OK.” “We are going to be there to support everyone in this community; it doesn’t matter if you are Jewish or not Jewish,” says Susan. “We are JFCS, and that’s important, but we are also a social service agency that’s meant for everybody.”
Jewish Family & Child Service
Honoree Renée Holzman
Renée Holzman, co-founder of The Holzman Foundation, Inc., will be honored at the UnLuncheon for her generous contributions to the community. “Renée is about putting the ‘child’ back in JFCS,” says Ruth. “It is the Holzman Foundation and the Holzman’s personally that have been helping us restore the child to our service structure.” “My mother could just write checks, but she has been in the trenches. She has volunteered for years, and she has done counseling; she’s worked in the soup kitchens, and she does the site visits,” says Larry. “She has a broad diversity of interests, whether it’s chairing the Oregon Symphony Board or the Oregon Council for the Humanities. This last year she’s been focused on food insecurity and children, helping those that can’t help themselves. She’s inspired me and other people to do more because most of the time, we can always do a little more.”
Carolyn Weinstein interviews Larry and Renée Holzman for the unLuncheon. PHOTO BY JENN DIRECTOR KNUDSEN
OREGON JEWISH LIFE | MAY/JUNE 2021 51
Legacy donors to be honored at May 25 virtual event
he Oregon Jewish Community Foundation is pleased to continue its long partnership with the Harold Grinspoon Foundation’s LIFE & LEGACY initiative for the first North American Legacy Donor Appreciation Event. This virtual event will take place on May 25 at 4:30 pm and will celebrate the 18,000 donors from 71 communities who have made legacy commitments through the initiative. This includes local donors who have made more than 550 legacy commitments to Jewish organizations in Oregon and Southwest Washington. The event will feature the stories of donors from across North America who have made legacy commitments, as well as greetings and reflections from Harold Grinspoon, founder of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation and Winnie Sandler Grinspoon, the Foundation’s president. Jonah Kaplan, an award-winning political and investigative reporter at WTVD, the ABC-owned station in Raleigh-Durham, NC, will serve as the evening’s host. There is no charge for the 45-minute event. “Through LIFE & LEGACY, we are sustaining vibrant communities so future generations will be able to enjoy our rich Jewish culture and heritage,” says Harold Grinspoon, the founder of HGF. “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to honor all those who have made a legacy commitment to date and to encourage others to join us in this endeavor.” OJCF’s LIFE & LEGACY donors have made commitments to 19 local organizations, including: Cedar Sinai Park Congregation Beth Israel Congregation Kol Ami Congregation Neveh Shalom Congregation Shaarie Torah Congregation Shir Tikvah Greater Portland Hillel Havurah Shalom Jewish Family & Child Service Jewish Federation of Greater Portland
Jewish Federation of Lane County Maayan Torah Jewish Day School Mittleman Jewish Community Center NCSY Oregon The Oregon Hillel Foundation Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education Portland Jewish Academy Temple Beth Israel, Eugene Temple Emek Shalom
“We are excited to celebrate the legacy donors who made 550+ legacy commitments here in Oregon and Southwest Washington, along with the legacy donors from the other communities in the LIFE & LEGACY network, who have already committed to ensuring the long-term financial health of valued local organizations,” says OJCF’s Director of Donor Relations & Development Officer, Tara Siegman. “It is our hope that every member of our community will join us by making legacy commitments to the organizations they value in our shared Jewish community.” If you have not yet had a chance to make your legacy commitment and would like to participate in the May 25 event, please contact the organizations named above or Tara Siegman at firstname.lastname@example.org or 503-248-9328. Legacy donors who would like to join in this celebration may register by visiting surveymonkey.com/r/2021LegacyDonorEvent. 52 MAY/JUNE 2021 | OREGON JEWISH LIFE
Harold Grinspoon OREGON JEWISH LIFE | MAY/JUNE 2021 53
“Ben-Gurion, Epilogue:” A Community-Wide Film Screening and Discussion
ongregation Neveh Shalom, Israel 360 and Americans for Ben-Gurion University are pleased to invite you to a free online screening of the award-winning documentary, “Ben-Gurion, Epilogue,” to be enjoyed anytime between May 6-19. Then join a free Zoom webinar featuring the film’s director, Yariv Mozer, and moderated by BGU CEO, Doug Seserman, live from Israel on Sunday, May 16 at 10:30 am PT. This 70-minute documentary brings to life Ben-Gurion’s introspective soul-searching, revealing a surprising vision for today’s crucial decisions and the future of Israel. The film was made possible when the lost soundtrack to a six-hour interview was discovered in BGU’s Ben-Gurion Archives. To view a trailer for the movie, go to youtube.com/watch?v=-eJ4i6vx1jk. DATE: Sunday, May 16 TIME: 10:30-11:30 am LOCATION: Zoom To reserve your space and receive the link to the movie, please register at aabgu.org/events/epilogue-may-2021/. For more information, contact Lisa Marie Lynch at email@example.com or 503-246-8831. Israel360 in collaboration with American for Ben Gurion University of the Negev are cosponsoring this event with the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland, the Mittleman Jewish Community Center, Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education, Oregon Jewish Life, Consulate General of Israel to the Pacific Northwest and Portland State Harold Schnitzer Family Program in Judaic Studies.
54 MAY/JUNE 2021 | OREGON JEWISH LIFE
Discover, explore and celebrate the American Jewish Experience
ewish American Heritage Month ( JAHM) is organized annually by the National Museum of American Jewish History (NMAJH) in Philadelphia. Held in May, the nationwide celebration features a month-long series of events, including a virtual Capitol Hill event and the premiere of an important documentary about a rabbi who played a vital role in the Civil Rights movement. Nearly 100 organizations around the U.S. will come together to help Americans of all backgrounds discover, explore, and celebrate the vibrant and varied American Jewish experience from the dawn of our nation to the present day. According to the Jewish Ledger, JAHM began as an effort by the Jewish Museum of Florida and South Florida Jewish community leaders. Through the bipartisan efforts of Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida and the late Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, JAHM was established in 2006 by President George W. Bush to honor the contributions and achievements of Jewish Americans and to educate all Americans. It’s been continued every year since then by Presidential Proclamation. NASA Astronaut Garrett Reisman, a New Jersey native, carried the original JAHM proclamation into space in 2010, and President and First Lady Barack and Michelle Obama hosted the firstever White House reception in honor of
JAHM that same year. In 2020 the NMAJH repositioned JAHM to empower communities across the country to celebrate the inspiring history of Jewish people in America, educate diverse public audiences about Jewish culture, and spark crucial conversations about the American Jewish present and future. This year, JAHM takes its theme from the ancient sage Rabbi Hillel’s most wellknown saying – “If I am only for myself, what am I? If not now – when?” – and the work of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, who marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Selma. JAHM will highlight historical moments in which American Jewish communities demonstrated remarkable resilience and care for communities outside of their own, and also how diverse communities stood up for Jews in the face of antisemitism. The month will showcase contemporary stories of communities transcending differences to come together in mutual support and solidarity and amplify diverse voices within the Jewish community. JAHM will work to fight not only explicit antisemitism but also its insidious influences and discrimination against people of all races, religions and walks of life. JAHM 2021 will feature a series of events throughout May. For more information, visit nmajh.org.
“If I am
not for myself, then who
will be for me? And if I am only for
what am I? And if
not now, when?”
OREGON JEWISH LIFE | MAY/JUNE 2021 55
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