Articles by Polina Olsen


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P’nai Or’s Torah comes home

This Shavuot, P’nai Or once again can celebrate the giving of the Torah in a very concrete way. “The most interesting part was how bashert it all was,” says Bruce Morris, Congregation P’nai Or’s spiritual leader. Like a perfect storm, events lined up. Bruce was off to a rabbinical conference with a strained voice and…

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Octogenarian’s art reflects colorful life

PHOTO: Boris Uan-Zo-li, his wife, Sventlana, and his son, Alexander, around their kitchen table in front of a wall full of paintings by Boris. Photo by Polina Olsen   Boris Uan-Zo-li’s artwork reflects his fascinating life. Big, bold, varied and colorful, his paintings cover the walls of his Beaverton split-level home. The work is abstract,…

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It’s hamantaschen time – bake, buy, eat

They’ve been baking pastries together for a long, long time, first for synagogue use and then as a community event and fundraiser. The Shaarie Torah Sisterhood’s annual hamantaschen marathon gets going Feb. 4 this year. Expect the best, as they turn out thousands of fruit- and poppy seed-filled pastries that look like Haman’s tri-corner hat….

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Coming together to help the homeless

They promised an eye-opening experience, and they were absolutely right. A tour for the Jewish community of an evolving homeless community provided a positive insight few are privileged to see. Hazelnut Grove, a North Portland village that began as an organized homeless encampment, has tacit support from the city of Portland. The March 12 tour,…

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Volunteering with seniors may just make your day

Volunteering, Robin Kirsch says, is the favorite part of her week. Once a staff worker in Adult Day Services at Cedar Sinai Park, she switched to volunteering every Tuesday and Thursday. “It’s important to have someone pay attention to the residents,” she says. “As you focus, their whole mindset changes. A lot of them are…

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This year, Jewish Arts Month kicks off with kids

Welcome to Jewish Arts Month, the annual exhibit of paintings, fiber, beadwork, metals, glass, ceramics and more co-sponsored by ORA: Northwest Jewish Artists and the Mittleman Jewish Community Center. This year’s show takes place in the MJCC lobby from Sunday, Feb. 26, through Friday, March 31, and includes rotating displays, an offbeat film screening and…

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Beautiful quilt brings a lifelong interest and connection

When Patti Waitman-Ingebretsen grew up in Maplewood in the 1940s and ’50s, the neighborhood had a small-town, rural feel. Located west of Multnomah Village and bordered by Southwest 45th Avenue, Southwest Vermont Street and Southwest Multnomah Boulevard, the area was incorporated into the City of Portland during the 1950s. Patti attended the Multnomah School in…

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Getting Your Home Ready for The Big One

When Israel recently donated earthquake-proof tables to Taiwan, Oregonians were impressed.  Created by a Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design student, the tables shield two people from being crushed by debris during disasters such as the 6.6-magnitude earthquake that killed 117 people in Tainan in February 2016 (See story). The issue hits close to home….

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