Social Action


Upcoming CBI Events

sarasohnThe Longevity Revolution

October 22 & 29 and November 5, 7:00 PM
Pollin Chapel

David Sarasohn, Moderator

PROGRAM ONE - Finding Your New Role
Listen to this program, which was presented on October 22, on the right of the page ->

The possibilities and challenges of retirement; downsizing and the emotional component of leaving a long and well lived-in space with experts Debbie Durham and Beth Giles.

PROGRAM TWO - October 29
Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?*
Baby Boomers helping parents make significant life changes & Estate Planning: philanthropy and planned giving, inheritances, wills and trusts; durable powers of attorney, Living Wills & Powers of Attorney for Health Care; Oregon-Specific Advance Directive with Dementia Provision; etc. with experts David Fuks and Steve Kantor.

PROGRAM THREE - November 5
Graceful Aging and Mindful Dying
Patient autonomy; talking to your doctor; conversations with family re. funeral wishes. Understanding terms and process: palliative care, hospice, ending life-sustaining treatments, voluntarily foregoing food and beverage. Panelists Rabbi Abby Cohn, Jason Renaud (Compassion & Choices, Oregon), and Rabbi Michael Cahana.

* Credit to Roz Chast


Hold onto your hats! The Longevity Revolution is coming to Congregation Beth Israel. October 22, October 29, and November 5 are the time to engage in challenging dialogues with fellow congregants and friends about how to both enjoy life to the fullest and plan thoughtfully for the future.

The patterns and social dynamics of family life have significantly changed during our lifetimes: the oldest generation is living far longer than its parents; emancipated adult children move back with parents; elderly parents live with adult children; and grandchildren take care of grandparents. Who among the now-aging baby boomers ever thought they would find their parents growing older – and perhaps a bit infirm – or that they would have end-of-life questions challenging both their parents and themselves?

If you are 55, what do you want to do with the rest of your life? The anticipation of retirement and empty nests are just the beginning of a conversation about downsizing, realizing your Jack Nicholson Bucket List and more, much more, to process and pursue.

At the same time there also may be the challenge of helping parents make significant life-style changes - but Can’t We Talk about Something More Pleasant? How about Estate Planning, Thoughtful Philanthropy, and Powers of Attorney?

In the third session, we will discuss Graceful Aging and Mindful Dying. Learning to facilitate conversations with our doctors and families will help us make thoughtful end-of-life decisions about aging on our own terms.

No one has all the answers, but our synagogue is the perfect place to raise the questions and reflect together on the moral, ethical, and practical choices our longer lives and changed living circumstances warrant. There will be thoughtful dialogues on three successive Wednesdays at 7:00 PM, all of which will be moderated by David Sarasohn, led by professionals in their fields, and guided by a committee of CBI members.


Longevity Revolution Participants:

David Sarasohn is a columnist for The Oregonian and was a longtime member of the editorial board. He has written three books on ludicrously diverse topics and won the National Headliner Award and the Casey Medal for Distinguished Journalism.

Debbie Durham is the PCC Community Education Program Coordinator for Life by Design NW, helping adults who are 50+ define themselves and find their roles in life after retirement. An advocate for international education, Debbie has taught school in Senegal, led a worker-owned craft cooperative in DR Congo, and counseled Egyptian graduate students in the US. She serves on the planning committee for the Healthy Aging Conference for Boomers.

Beth Giles, the owner of NW Organizing Solutions, is a professional organizer who became a Senior Move Manager after discovering her passion for working with people for whom downsizing or moving was an overwhelming task. Much traveled and trained as a teacher, Beth has taught both overseas and stateside and has lived in the East, Midwest and California before settling in Portland more than a decade ago.

David Fuks has been CEO of Cedar Sinai Park for 17 years. He has been a leader in Oregon's Human Services field for more than 40 years, focusing on local and state policy in the public sector, and managing organizations providing services to children, youth, families and elders in the not-for-profit sector. David writes and publishes short fiction and receives instruction from his wife DeAnn.

Steve Kantor, JD and CPA, is a native Portlander who started his career in accounting 40 years ago. In 1979, he joined the local law firm, now Samuels Yoelin Kantor LLP, where he specializes in estate planning, trusts and related issues of law. Throughout his career Steve has placed a strong emphasis on participating fully in his professional organizations and serving in leadership roles with a broad range of community organizations.

Rabbi Abby Cohen is the Director of Spiritual Life at Cedar Sinai Park. She was ordained in 2012 from New York's Jewish Theological Seminary. Rabbi Cohen has also been trained in community organizing. In her “former life” she studied art and music, fashion design and landscape architecture, played a number of small parts in soap operas and sang several roles in New York City productions of Gilbert and Sullivan operettas.

Jason Renaud is a veteran social justice campaigner, public educator, and award-winning film producer. For over a decade he has worked in various capacities with Compassion & Choices -a national non-profit committed to improving end-of-life choices and care- most recently as Oregon's Executive Director and, currently, as Assistant to the President. Jason is also a board officer with the Mental Health Association of Portland.

Rabbi Michael Cahana has served as the senior Rabbi at Congregation Beth Israel in Portland, OR since 2006. Born in Houston, TX, Rabbi Cahana was ordained in 1994 and served several congregations on the East Coast prior to relocating to Oregon with his wife, Cantor Ida Rae, and their four children. Rabbi Cahana’s academic interests are the interface of religion and science with a particular emphasis on medical ethics.


The Social Action Committee and Brotherhood present:

Gun Control Advocacy In Oregon
A talk by Ginny Burdick, State Senate President Pro Tempore, District 18

Sunday, Nov 2, 10:30am
Polin Chapel
Free and open to the public

Ginny Burdick was first elected to the Oregon Senate in 1996, and is currently serving in her fifth term.

Burdick was elected by her peers as Senate President Pro Tempore in 2011. She is Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance and Revenue, an appointment she received in 2008. In 2011, Senator Burdick was also appointed to Co-Chair the newly created Joint Tax Credit Committee. Additionally, she serves on the Senate Committee on Rules and the Senate Committee on Rural Communities and Economic Development. From 2004 to 2008, Senator Burdick was Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Over the past few years Burdick has championed common-sense gun legislation, enduring smear campaigns from gun rights extremists.

This summer she received death threats stemming from her public comments concerning the shootings at Reynolds High School in Troutdale. Burdick had said she believes the shooter’s parents should be held criminally responsible for the death of Emilio Hoffman, the 14-year-old freshman shot at his high school.





  • NW Tower Boot & Coat Drive


  • Sunday, November 2 – Ginny Burdick re Gun Violence Prevention (co-sponsor with Brotherhood)
  • Wednesday, November 5 – Aging Series
  • Sunday, November 23 – NW Tower Thanksgiving Dinner @ NW Tower


  • Wednesday, December 3 – Social Action Committee Meeting @ 7 pm
  • Sunday, December 14 – NW Tower Holiday Party @ NW Tower
  • NW Tower Christmas Gift Drive
  • Thursday, December 25 – Lift Urban Christmas Dinner @ CBI


  • Monday, January 19 – MLK, Jr. Day of Service


  • Wednesday, February 4 – Social Action Committee Meeting @ 7 pm
  • Wednesday, February 11 – Jewish Federation Interfaith Advocacy Day


  • Pots & Pans for Purim
  • Sunday, March 15 – NW Tower Lunch @ CBI


  • Wednesday, April 1 – Social Action Committee Meeting @ 7 pm


  • Friday, May 1 – Social Action Shabbat
  • Sunday, May 3 – Mitzvah Day


  • Wednesday, June 3 – Social Action Committee Meeting @ 7 pm
  • Gay Pride Parade – DTBD




Social Action News

You Stepped it up for Social Action!

Thanks to all who “Stepped it up for Social Action!” and to our hosts Dorota and Mike Sinclair for generously opening their warehouse with proceeds to benefit Social Action. A grand time was had by all and $2,000 was raised for CBI’s Social Action Fund.


MITZVAH DAY 2014 was a great success thanks to all of  you!

Mitzvah Day 2014 logoThanks to everyone who participated in Mitzvah Day - you were all so great - you even made the sun shine!

Special thanks go out to the folks who started our day on such a great note - our engaging sign-in folks and our wonderful breakfast mavens - the mighty CBI Brotherhood led by David Goldwyn, and Linda Harrison and Stephanie Siegel holding down the fort for Sisterhood as the other sisters worked to improve Janus House under the leadership of Daphna Stadig. Special thanks also to your breakfast servers, Deb and Lance Caldwell, Bonnie and Jonathan Barg, Bob Rosenbaum, Marc Birge and Jim Davidson.

We are grateful to Rob LaForte for providing us the opportunity to distribute 6,000 pounds of apples, as well as to our amazing Mitzvah Day Committee, Janet Morgan, Andy Olshin, Alexa Hasman, Julia Waldinger and Stephen Cassell.

And of course, none of the day could have happened without the support of our CBI team - Rabbi Joseph, Rabbi Cahana, Cantor Cahana, Sydney Baer, Dara Docherty, Tracy Alifanz, Ben Sandler, Mor Kenane, Vickie Grief, Jim Baldwin, Jen Feldman and Craig Paton.

Special thanks to Stephen Cassell for the design and production of the Mitzvah Day 365 t-shirts (as well as for countless other duties, which he performed flawlessly), which we will wear for our CBI events - if you don't already have one, please come by and pick one up to wear in the Gay Pride Parade on June 15 - see Rabbi Joseph's article in the June Bulletin for more information.

And last but not least, special thanks to Solomon Olshin who led both SoupSac and the dinner for NW Tower Dinners. Solomon defines mensch - we all have a lot to learn from this 13 year old.

Thanks to everyone who participated in our Good Deeds Day!

Many thanks to those of you who joined us to participate in our Soup Sac program as part of Good Deeds Day, sponsored by the Portland Mitzvah Network, a program of the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland. It was a great day as we made 400 meals to distribute to those in need.

To the soup makers, bakers, sandwich makers, packagers and delivery folks - you are the best! We thank Jewish Federation of Greater Portland for coordinating this event. Special thanks to Grand Central Bakery at 1444 NE Weidler Street for its very generous donation of bread and pastries. Please patronize this store to support its efforts to do such good for others.

Thanks for your commitment to Tikkun Olam.

We want and need your help on these projects. Please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  for more information and to volunteer.


In the spirit of Tikkun Olam, our last programming year was filled with CBI congregants participating in numerous acts of loving kindness - gemilut chasadim:

Our annual High Holiday Food Drive was a great success. Recognizing the benefit of providing funding to our recipient organizations, Lift Urban Portland and the Sunshine Pantry, we provided our congregants with the opportunity to make cash donations, as well as food donations. 

Implementing the vision of Solomon and Andrew Olshin, the Social Action Committee ran three successful SoupSac programs.

The Committee also continued its support of the NW Tower and Annex as part of the Lift Urban Portland Adopt-a-Highrise Program. With your generous contributions and the shopping expertise of Joanie Rosenbaum, we expanded the back to school supply drive for the children of the NW Tower Annex to purchase the items on the children’s class lists.

Lynn Tobias, Sarah Epstein, and Joanie Rosenbaum are working with Urban Gleaners seeking new food donors.

Committee members provided a Christmas Eve dinner and gifts for the residents of Stepping Stones and their children.

Daphna Stadig and Kate Royston organized the Pots and Pans for Purim for the Community Warehouse.

With the support of the Religious School, the Committee also provided gift bags for the guests at the Trinity Episcopal Church Easter dinner.

We ended the program year with a well-attended Mitzvah Day, led by James Anchell, Janet Morgan, Mary Scalone and Julia Waldinger.

Sherry Fishman coordinated activities as our representative to the JFGP Community Relations Committee. Members of the Committee agreed to form a team for the Village Support Network. The Allocations Subcommittee chaired by Lynn Tobias voted to provide contributions to: Janus Youth Programs in honor of Beth Israel Sisterhood’s receipt of the Gold Or Ami “Light of My People” Award, the Israel Religious Action Center’s Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism - Women of the Wall, the Lone Soldier Center in Memory of Michael Levin, Camp Rosenbaum, Jewish Family and Child Service, Community Warehouse, Lift Urban Portland for its annual Christmas Dinner and food programs (including $2,000 as the first contribution to the newly named Eve and Alan Rosenfeld Food Fund), the Meals on Wheels People, the Village Support Network, Sisters of the Road Cafe, Urban Gleaners, and programs for the residents of the NW Tower and Annex.

Our work would not be possible without the expert guidance from Rabbi Joseph, Rabbi Cahana, Cantor Cahana, and Sydney Baer and the unstinting support from Jemi Mansfield, Tracy Alifanz, Jim Baldwin, Vicki Greif, Dara Docherty, and Craig Paton and his team.


In addition to the projects sponsored by Congregational Beth Israel's Social Action Committee, we partner with the following 503(c) (1) nonprofit organizations:

Lift Urban Portland provides in Northwest and Downtown Portland. They help our neighbors through food programs (including in partnership with the Wheels on Meals People), the Neighbors Helping Neighbors program and the Adopt-A-Highrise program. Through the Adopt-A- Highrise program, CBI adopted the Northwest Tower, which is adjacent to CBI. Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you are interested in working with the residents of Northwest Tower.

Janus is licensed to provide group residential and shelter care and a certified drug and alcohol program. Janus' alternative education school is approved for learning disabled and emotionally disturbed students.

Community Warehouse collects donated household goods and furnishings and redistributes them to our neighbors in need.

The ReBuilding Center, a project of Our United Villages, provides resources that make home repairs affordable to everyone, with the goal of promoting the reuse of salvaged and reclaimed materials.

The Ronald McDonald House Charities provide a “home away from home” for families with seriously ill children and support initiatives to improve pediatric health.

Sunshine Pantry offers food, clothing, household items, toys and toiletries to families in need in Beaverton.

Urban Gleaners mission is to help alleviate hunger by collecting edible, surplus food that would be thrown away and distributing it to agencies that feed the hungry.

Questions about how you can get involved with the Social Action Committee?  
Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  to learn how you can make a difference!


Social Action Committee Meetings

Wednesday, December 3
7:00 pm
Semler Board Room 

Please join us for our next Social Action Committee meeting. We have a variety of activities that need your involvement and hope you will join us. Everyone is welcome!

Listen to the Longevity Revolution

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Social Action Links & More

Questions about Social Action?

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Seeking Peace, Pursuing Justice
The Reform movement's campaign to educate, encourage, and mobilize North American Jewry to support peace efforts and social justice causes in Israel.

Religious Action Center

Union for Reform Judaism

ARZA/World Union for Progressive Judaism

Basic Rights Oregon


Rabbi Rose Tikkun Olam Award Recipients:

2014: Jill Rubinstein

2013: Sanny Snell

2012: Women of Reform Judaism/Beth Israel Sisterhood

2010: Tracy Oseran and Dr. Gregg Coodley

2009: BINA

2007: Dr. Jill Ginsberg

2006: Rabbi Rose