Rising from the ashes, the store reopens early to light up Jewish people in the dark of winter

After Everything Jewish, a place where people of the Jewish faith could come to buy religious items, burned down last year, leaders decided to move Operation Chabad of Oregon from southwest Portland to a building they owned. bought in the Pearl District.

The new site was due to be gutted, and the plan was to complete the renovation and open in February 2022.

But believing the world is in a dark place, executives opened a pop-up store this week in the middle of the construction site in time for Chanukah.

“The pandemic has disrupted the comfort and standards of our systems and our lives,” said Rabbi Chayim E. Mishulovin. “It seemed necessary that we opened up now because we are all thinking about why we are here and thinking about what life is.”

Light is the symbolic message of Chanukah, which begins on November 28 and ends on the evening of December 6.

Known as the Jewish Festival of Lights, the eight days of Hanukkah are marked each evening by the lighting of a candle on a menorah until, on the last night, nine candles – including the candle to light them. others – shine.

Mishulovin said the act, which is part of a Jewish ritual commemorating a holy miracle millennia ago, gives hope and allows those who participate in it to offer thanks and praise miracles. Menorahs, candles and other religious items used during Hanukkah will be sold in the hull corner of the new store at 1218 NW Glisan St. The store will close on November 30 to allow crews to complete construction of the space.

Rabbi Chayim E. Mishulovin in a corner of the new center, currently under construction in the Pearl District, with some of the items for sale.

The operation is under the organizational aegis of the Oregon Chabad. Chabad is not affiliated with any particular synagogue in the metropolitan area, but serves as a spiritual home for those of the Jewish faith or those who wish to learn more about Judaism

Years ago James Arroyo of Tigard came across Everything Jewish, who had been in the Hillsdale area for over 15 years.

“I grew up a Catholic on the Lower East Side of Manhattan,” he said. “I moved here 40 years ago. Six years ago, I wanted to learn Torah. I checked with a few synagogues and no one was interested. I was driving and saw all that was Jewish, walked in and told the rabbi what I wanted to do. I ended up reading the Five Books of Moses, and the Rabbi and I became great friends.

Arroyo, 72, said he no longer considered himself a Catholic or a Jew.

“I’m interested in faith and connections,” he said. “This is not a division.

Mishulovin believes that people of faith, not of different faiths or of different faith experiences are looking for ways to bridge the differences. When the Everything Jewish building was demolished in the summer of 2020, leaders decided to relocate to downtown Portland, in a bustling Pearl District. The goal is to create what Mishulovin has described as a “Jewish oasis” with the feel of a living room where people can talk casually and intimately and create a spiritual community.

“If you have a relationship with a rabbi or a synagogue, that’s fine,” Mishulovin said. “But we want to be a place where the person doesn’t have that relationship. Getting off the streets, so to speak, feeling uplifted and inspired in life.

His wife, Simi Mishulovin, is part of the organization and everyone feels the desire to find meaning in life in these tumultuous times. She thinks the new location will help on this journey.

Hannukah, she said, highlights two miracles: a small army that stood up for what is right defeated a larger army, and the miracle of a small vial of oil, just enough to burn for a single day. , lasted eight days.

“Maybe some of us feel like we’re on our last bottle of oil,” she said. “We have been through challenges which, in the long term, will make us stronger. No one is here by accident. We all have a light within us.

– Tom Hallman Jr; [email protected]; 503-221-8224; @thallmanjr

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