In 2011, The Portland Jewish establishment received a shock when a study commissioned by the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland found almost twice as many Jews living in Portland than previously thought (the estimate was around 47,500). Since that time, there have been a variety of events aimed at connecting with this new population of Portland Jews.
Portland’s west side contains the vast majority of Jewish institutions, and caters to an older, more traditional Jewish population. The challenge for Portland’s Jewish leaders is to engage a new generation of Jews. Many live on the east side, don’t affiliate with a particular sect of Judaism and aren’t looking to pay pricy membership dues at a synagogue or Jewish Community Center.
What are your experiences with the Jewish community in Portland? If you’re not involved, what would you like to see that might get you you to participate?
Ariel Stone: Rabbi, Shir Tikvah
Caron Blau Rothstein: Community Engagement Director, Jewish Federation of Greater Portland
Vanessa Van Edwards: Author