Editor's Letter

People and connections. They are our focus at Oregon Jewish Life. They are what a Jewish lifestyle magazine is all about.

While I think every issue is motivated by the desire to share individual stories with universal messages, this month’s issue seems especially rich in personal journeys. In this issue, our freelance writers share stories of a Vancouver teen making a difference, a Hillel student helping the world, an Iraqi grad student who found friendship with Jewish families and seniors, and a senior who “feels fabulous” at age 65.

This month I had the pleasure of writing stories about three wonderful people. Not only did I interview the subjects of the stories, I also spoke with their friends and colleagues, who shared wonderful insights.Over the past several years as a journalist in the Jewish community, I’ve crossed paths with two of them. I first met former University of Oregon Ducks’ kicker Josh Frankel at an event for the PDX Hillel, where he brought his charismatic drive to helping Jewish students on campus. Now he has a new business venture I enjoyed learning about. Emily Simon is earning a lifetime achievement award for her work as defense attorney – and despite knowing her in Jewish settings for a number of years, I’m not sure I even knew that was her profession.

Our cover subject was a complete surprise to me. I had never met Ted Gilbert before he picked me up to drive me to Gateway Green for a tour of the future regional destination park for off-road cycling. What a cheerful and enthusiastic person! His vision is infectious. As a real estate professional, his story provides a nice lead-in to our special section on real estate this month.

This issue isn’t unique in sharing in-depth stories of fascinating people. But somehow the mix of stories for December reminded me of why we are publishing this magazine. This is what a Jewish lifestyle magazine does. We share the personal stories of our community and explore how those stories impact the community.

We are part of the fabric of the community, helping to weave it all together. To see what I mean, check out our story on GrapeVine, a new effort to use social media to help connect people to whatever part of the Jewish community will enrich their journey. I hope it connects more people, who then go on to do amazing things that I can write about in years to come. We thank all the people who have been willing to share their stories and look forward to many more years of enriching the community through shared experiences.

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