Message from the Publishers

With the launch of the first issue of Oregon Jewish Life, we feel as though we have just run the New York marathon, and are waiting to hear if we achieved the winning time. We can assure you that it has definitely been our goal.
From the outset, we have been aware that in order for this new venture to succeed, we would need to work as a team, not just as the Oregon Jewish Life team, but as a team with the Jewish communities of Oregon and SW Washington as well. We have loved the ideas, “constructive criticism,” and energy that this interaction has brought to our lives and, in turn, to the magazine.
One of our earliest challenges was deciding on the cover subject for our inaugural issue. As the new voice in the community, we felt it was fitting to introduce you to a wonderful young couple who in so many ways symbolically represents the new face of Jewish Oregon. We hope you agree.
Our primary goal is to highlight the vitality, diversity, challenges and accomplishments of our growing community. Therefore, Oregon Jewish Life is, and will remain a work in progress. And we look forward to growing with you and becoming a dynamic and important part of your lives for years to come.
So on behalf of everyone at Oregon Jewish Life, we want to thank you for your support and guidance. A special thanks to Marc Blattner and Michael Weiner of The Jewish Federation of Greater Portland. On a personal note, we want to thank our biggest supporters, our families and friends, for their constant encouragement. Gratitude does not even begin to cover it.

Robert Philip and Cindy Saltzman


Welcome to the first issue of Oregon Jewish Life.
I hope you have as much fun reading it as we have had putting all the pieces together. We’ve had many sources of inspiration for this debut issue. Some ideas came from the Jewish and secular calendars, some have been suggestions from community members and some were drawn from the people and programs I’ve gotten to know during the 19 years I’ve been part of this community.
When we initially chose to focus on art and the environment as themes for our inaugural issue, I assumed they would be two unrelated topics – art chosen as emblematic of much that Portland has to offer and sustainability as important to Oregonians in general and especially for Jews celebrating Tu B’Shevat, the New Year for Trees, on Feb. 8 this year.
Then a friend introduced me to the couple who would become our cover feature. Who would have guessed one couple could so intimately unite our two topics? Getting to know Aithan and Debra has been a wonderful journey; I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.
Continuing the environmental theme, we asked the rabbis of Portland’s five oldest congregations to reflect on why so many Jews are drawn to the green movement. I need to thank the Melton Mini-School for the inspiration to ask a panel of rabbis. The school’s Rabbis Gone Wise fundraiser provided the spark for what we anticipate will become a monthly column. Some months we may query a group of rabbis, sometimes cantors and perhaps some months random folks in the community’s living room – the Mittleman Jewish Community Center lobby.
While Oregon Jewish Life is still evolving, you can look to this issue for some of the areas we plan to cover on a regular basis. We’ll have stories on all stages of life including youth, young adults, families and seniors. Volunteer opportunities and past and future events will have a place in every issue. News and views from and about Israel will be regular items. Food, fashion and fitness will make regular appearances. Local and national Jewish personalities, arts and entertainment, business/finance and local Jewish history are on our slate too.
We want to hear from our readers – both letters to the editor for publication and ideas of what else you want to read. Please drop me a line at

Deborah Moon

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