Articles by Sura Rubenstein


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Oregon’s modern-day Maccabees

RABBI JOSHUA STAMPFER On Nov. 29, 1947, Joshua Stampfer, then a young rabbinic student in Jerusalem, awoke to the news that the United Nations, the night before, had approved the creation of a Jewish state. Soon after the UN announcement, he joined the Haganah, the underground Jewish defense army that, after statehood, became the Israel…

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Mikvah history

The Harrison Street mikvah was at least the third community mikvah in Portland.  According to several sources, a mikvah organization was incorporated about 1902 to serve immigrants in the South Portland neighborhood. There are no mentions in news stories or other sources of an earlier mikvah, though there may have been one. A 1975 story…

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Ten Years of Success

In 2006 Rabbi Tzvi and Esther Fischer, a young couple with three children, moved from Jerusalem to Portland, bringing with them a shared vision. A decade later, they – and the other young families of the Portland Kollel – invite everyone to join in celebrating “10 Years of Success.” “We have connected hundreds of Jewish…

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Saving History

In 1892 Portland’s first Jewish mayor, Bernard Goldsmith, built a “handsome dwelling” for $4,000 at the corner of Northwest 24th Avenue and Quimby Street. In 2014 some 20 neighbors and friends raised $2.25 million to save it from the wrecking ball. And today, its new owners are working to restore it as a showpiece of…

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Eliezer Froehlich Loves a Good Mystery

Eliezer Froehlich loves history and family – and solving puzzles posed by both. He has traced his own family back to the conversos of Spain, to early Oregon Jewish immigrants from Bavaria and Baden, Germany, and even to soldiers in the Revolutionary War. But he didn’t stop there. He sought links between his family and…

Sacred Unions

Jewish weddings have always been a community priority. The patriarch Abraham went to great lengths to arrange the marriage of his son, Isaac, to Rebekah. And the great medieval sage Maimonides included marriage in his listing of the 613 commandments incumbent upon Jews. Closer to home, no sooner had the first Jewish young men arrived…

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