Here is a sampling of the workshop topics:

  • Keynote by Marc Blattner, President and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland. Marc will draw upon his years of experience as a Jewish Community professional to present a demographic picture of today’s North American Jews and how they are different from their predecessors.
  • What Floats Your Boat? – Brief descriptions of programs and activities that have been popular at Kol Shalom will be shared by a panel that will include the following topics:  current events discussion group, Yiddish club, social action, music, fund-raising, and membership outreach. This will be followed by an open-mike invitation for more success stories from the audience.
  • Jewpardy – This workshop is a fun Jewish spin-off from the television game show Jeopardy.
  • 21st Century Secular Judaism: Potential and Pitfalls – Recent demographic changes in North America indicate growing numbers of unaffiliated, intercultural, and/or interfaith families. What opportunities and challenges does this present to Secular Jewish groups?
  • Preparing for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur – The traditions and teachings of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are rich with secular and humanistic beauty and meaning, intended to help us better know ourselves and our world. The great gift of these holidays is that their teachings can guide us throughout the year, helping us to more fully integrate our Jewishness into everyday life. In this workshop we will explore some of the primary themes and rituals of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
  • Philosopher’s Café – How often do we actually get to sit down and talk about meaningful issues with others? The Philosophers’ Café is an opportunity to for participants can express themselves on philosophical issues of interest to Secular Jews.
  • Jewish Pop and Rock sing-a-long – Learn which famous musicians are Jewish, and have fun singing to well-known tunes.
  • What’s In It For Teens? – How do we engage and retain the next generation? A mother and daughter will share their programming ideas for families with young children and for teens, youth and young adults.
  • Stories from Old Jewish Portland – Learn about earlier generations of Jews in Portland. A local author will share stories about Old Jewish Portland.
  • How to Plan and Green and Just Simcha – What Jewish values inform our thoughts on sustainability and social justice, and how can you apply them to your Jewish celebrations? In this workshop we will explore how to incorporate progressive Jewish values into your party plans – how do we live out the Jewish value of bal tashchit (not wasting), find a venue that doesn’t exploit its workers, and incorporate tzedakah into your ceremony or reception?
  • Envisioning the Future of J-West – Help make plans to ensure the future of J-West. We will discuss how to finance the conference in for the long-term and how to maintain continuity as we share the location among all our west coast communities in turn. We will also explore other options for continuing to build community among secular, humanistic, and cultural Jewish communities on the West Coast.
  • A Walking Tour of Old Jewish Portland – First generations of immigrant Jews in Portland settled in a neighborhood that was later fractured by urban renewal. Many of the buildings that housed the support system of that community remain, changed in function but not appearance. Hear the history behind the buildings and the neighborhood.
  • Art in the Pearl – Portland Oregon’s annual Fine Arts & Crafts Festival has been named one of the top 10 Arts and Crafts Festivals in the country. The festival fills the Northwest Portland Park blocks with art, theater, music, and hands-on activities for people of all ages.
  • Powell’s Bookstore – From humble storefront beginnings in 1971 on a derelict corner of northwest Portland, Powell’s Books has grown into one of the world’s great bookstores, with five locations in the Portland metropolitan area, and one of the book world’s most successful dot-coms serving customers worldwide.
  • All Together Now! Techniques for Group Singing – Come learn a few “tricks of the trade” that you can use to make group singing a more successful and enjoyable experience. We can’t all be Pete, but Ruthy and Linda will share some tips that will have you and your group singing together with more confidence and harmony. Oh, and, yes, we’ll be singing lots of songs!  Whether you are someone who brings songs to share at your local hoot, are a song leader in your community, or just want to have some fun singing with us, come and sing All Together Now!
  • Birthright Israel – Come learn about Rose and Joey Rubel’s Taglit-Birthright trip through Israel Outdoors in Aug. 2013. They visited Tzfat/Safed- home of kabbalah; climbed up and back down Masada; rafted the Jordan River; hiked 3 national parks; swam in the Dead Sea, and in the Mediterranean at Tel Aviv; toured Yad Vashem; Jerusalem’s old city, marketplace, and the Wall; visited the national cemetery with IDF soldiers; and much more! What a trip!

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