current stories

This summer the Shalom Park Freedom School (SPFS) will be opening its doors for the 9th summer to serve 75 students from Huntingtowne Farms and Sterling Elementary schools that are from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds. The goals of the SPFS are to provide a six-week program to facilitate literacy and character-building for these scholars. Preliminary research suggests these efforts are making a difference for participants in the Freedom School. Without summer programs like the SPFS, 75% of students from low income homes are estimated to lose 2-3 months of learning over the summer. In contrast, 90% of Freedom School scholars gained or maintained their reading ability.

Want to know three super simple – and fre – ways to support SPFS?

  1. Welcome our Shalom Park scholars – they are our guests.

Our scholars are excited, and it is summer. Smile and wave when passing them in the hallways.

Yes, it can be… Continue reading

By Ruhi Sophia Motzkin Rubenstein

Eugene, OR (JTA) — A destitute widowed immigrant does what it takes to scrape by so she and her aging mother-in-law can survive. She deals with invisibility; she deals with unwanted attention; she performs manual labor; and she eventually marries up, has a child and escapes the grind. Presumably, this is the happy ending she was hoping for.

Where have we heard this story before?

Every year for millennia, Jews read the Book of Ruth during Shavuot — beginning this year at sundown on June 8. It is often read as a story of unwavering loyalty, of the rewards for kindness, or as a model for conversion. It is a microcosm of all of Torah of which the rabbinic sage Ben Bag-Bag wrote, “Turn it and turn it, for everything is in it.”

Ruth is also, vitally, the story of a poor immigrant woman. Every… Continue reading

Part one of five

By Cantor Elias Roochvarg

I cannot think of a nicer retirement gift than the one Temple Israel gave Linda and me: a trip to Israel. I had heard from friends that the experience they had as volunteers there was very worthwhile, so I applied for and was accepted into a three-week program with the organization SAR-EL, which recruits volunteers from all over the world to do civilian jobs on Israeli army bases.

Linda is still working, so she could not take as much time off as I, so she joined me after the three weeks. We spent most of Passover in Jerusalem and a few days in Tel Aviv before returning home. I planned the trip so that I would have a couple of days in Israel with family to overcome jet lag before I started my volunteer work.

I was “stationed” at Anatot (birthplace of… Continue reading