EJC & Community Partner Sukkot


As we celebrate the holiday of sukkot, we are reminded that many people in our community lack shelter and food.

This year the Eastside Jewish Commons is holding a sukkot open house event each night of the holiday (October 13-20). Each night one or more eastside families will open their sukkot to the community for a potluck dinner, along with a discussion or activity related to the needs for affordable housing and food security.

The discussions will be led by community partner organizations, including B’nai Brith Camp/BBYO, Congregation Havurah Shalom, Congregation Neveh Shalom, Congregation Shaarie Torah, Congregation Shir Tikvah, Jewish Child and Family Services, Oregon NCSY, Oregon Jewish Community Foundation Giving Council, and Tree of Life Montessori.

RSVP is requested. For more information, please see ejcpdx.org or contact deborah.freedberg@gmail.com

Thank you to the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland and Oregon Jewish Community Foundation’s Giving Council for support of this program.

The schedule is as follows (in the interest of security, event addresses are kept private until you RSVP):

Monday, Oct. 14, 6-8 pm
Mia Birk and Glen Coblens in partnership with B’nai B’rith Camp. This event is open to all BBYO members and families. Join Herzl BBG in discussing the impacts of climate change on low income communities and participate in a raffle to win supplies to make your own sustainable garden. All proceeds will go toward environmental protection. Location: Mt. Tabor.
Monday, Oct. 14, 6-8 pm
Joshua and Bracha Bar-Lev in partnership with Congregation Shir Tikvah’s Rabbi Ariel Stone. Maximum 20 guests. The presentation by Rabbi Ariel Stone will focus on mitzvot regarding the abundance we celebrate during the Sukkot Festival and their relevance to homelessness and hunger in our own day and place. Location: Mt. Tabor
Tuesday, Oct. 15, 6-8 pm
Mia Birk and Glen Coblens in partnership with Jewish Child and Family Services and Congregation Beth Israel’s Rabbi Michael Cahana. Maximum 40 guests. The primary image of the holiday is welcoming others into our sukkah. It is a perfect time to think about issues of immigration, asylum and sanctuary. Rabbi Cahana will share reflections from his recent trip to El Paso accompanying Senator Wyden on his inspection of our Southern border facilities. In addition, representatives from JFCS will share information about their Kosher Food Box program as well as other programs they offer to the Portland community. Location: Mt. Tabor. This event is part of Congregation Neveh Shalom’s Sukkah Hop!
Wednesday, Oct. 16, 8-9:30 pm
Shoshana Gugenheim Kedem and Andrew Tertes Kedem. Maximum 10 guests. At this dessert event, Shoshana and Andrew will lead a conversation on Jewish approaches to thinking about home and shelter. Location: Hollywood
Wednesday, Oct. 16, 6-8 pm
Rachel Baskind in partnership with NCSY. At this event, geared toward elementary and middle school children, Meira Spivak will teach about the mitzvah of bal taschit, not wasting. We will be making cards that will be distributed with JFCS’s Thanksgiving boxes in November. In addition, we’ll be building edible sukkot and will have a Lego sukkah building contest! Location: Cully
Thursday, Oct. 17, 6:30-8 pm
Erik Richmond in partnership with Congregation Shaarie Torah’s Rabbi Joshua Rose. Maximum 12 guests. Text study with Rabbi Rose. Location: Hollywood.
Thursday, Oct. 17, 5-7 pm
Gina Westhoff and Mike Khavul in partnership with the Never Again Coalition. Maximum 25 guests. The Never Again Coalition is Portland, Oregon’s response to genocide and mass atrocities. With a focus on Sudan, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Rohingya Crisis, they stand together and work towards revitalizing the phrase “Never Again.” Location: Irvington
Thursday, Oct. 17, 6-8 pm
Tamar Wyte-Lake and Josh Lake in partnership with Congregation Neveh Shalom’s Rabbi Kosak. Maximum 30 guests. During Sukkot, we are asked to experience the fragility of life by spending days and even nights in a sukkah. Thousands of our Portland neighbors have no alternative, and live outdoors all year round. What does Judaism have to say about the houseless? Come learn what Neveh Shalom and Rabbi Kosak have been doing to address hunger and homelessness, and learn how you can create similar models to make a difference. Location: Mt. Tabor
Thursday, Oct. 17, 7-8:30 pm
Marianne Zarkin and Brian Scott in partnership with Portland Kollel’s Rabbi Mattias Amster and Esther Amster. Maximum 12 guests. Rabbi Mattias and Esther Amster will present a Gemara that discusses the implications if your town has water and the neighboring town has none. Are you allowed to do laundry etc, or do you have to give water to them? The Gemara’s conclusion is that you can do laundry. Our discussion will focus on where we draw the line and take away from our own comfort in order to give to others. How can we give in a way that is sustainable for ourselves? Notes: Snacks and beverages only. No potluck. Location: Mt. Tabor
Saturday, Oct. 19, 5:30-7:30 pm
Adinah Miller in partnership with Tivnu. Maximum 18 guests. Geared towards families with teens or college-aged children. How do the guidelines about the sukkah as temporary shelter inform the Jewish imperative to provide permanent shelter for all? Hear from Tivnu’s gap year participants about their work with Portland’s unhoused population and how their understanding of houselessness is changing. Gathering will conclude with Havdallah. Location: Irvington
Sunday, Oct. 20, 11 am-1 pm
Ariel Cohn in partnership with Tree of Life Montessori. Maximum 20 guests. Geared towards parents and preschool-aged children. Location: Belmont
Sunday, Oct. 20, 4-6 pm
Sacha Reich and Aaron Pearlman in partnership with the Havurah Shalom Tikkun Olam Poverty and Homeless Work Group. Maximum 30 guests. The Havurah Shalom Tikkun Olam Poverty and Homeless Workgroup will discuss their work with Portland Homeless Family Solutions, the Interfaith Alliance on Poverty, and Lift Up Portland. Location: Reed.
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