July 24 cabaret is a mitzvah
By Deborah Moon Seldner
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A cabaret of Yiddish Tangos, Episcopal Fandangos and Methodist Mambos on July 24 will help Northwest Portland Ministries meet the growing demand for accessible transportation among elderly or low-income residents in Northwest Portland. NWPM is a consortium of three synagogues (Beth Israel, Havurah Shalom and Shaarie Torah) and 14 churches or service organizations in Northwest Portland. Under the leadership of President Carole Barkley, a member of Congregation Beth Israel, NWPM has focused on two major programs—Ride Connection, a transportation service for seniors and people with disabilities, and the Faith in Action program, which matches volunteers with resident needs.
Last November and December, the transportation program averaged 1,000 rides per month, according to Barkley. In April and May, that rose to 1,400 rides with about 50 people a month being turned away.
Barkley said the board and staff attribute the surge to NWPM's success in raising its profile and making people more aware of its services. In the fiscal year that began July 1, NWPM projects a shortfall of $57,500 between existing funding sources and projected expenses, said Barkley.
So NWPM executive committee member Gerson Robboy, a member of Havurah Shalom, decided to organize a fundraiser featuring local musicians, comedians, and other performers in a cabaret performance at the Mississippi Pizza Pub, 3552 N. Mississippi Ave.
For a suggested donation of $12, attendees will hear Uncle Yascha (a.k.a. Robboy) perform tangos, fandangos and mambos on the accordion, along with singer songwriter Beth Hamon and klezmer band Vermisht Nussen, among other musical acts. Stand-up comedian David Fuks, who spends his daylight hours as the CEO of Cedar Sinai Park, has agreed to provide a humorous interlude for the event.
Pizza and beverages will be available for purchase during the event.
Continuous cabaret-style entertainment will keep things hopping from 3 to 6 p.m. People are welcome to come for the whole afternoon or just drop in for a few performances, said Barkley. Children are welcome.
Barkley said the fundraiser will enable NWPM to recruit and train volunteers, reimburse their mileage, hire more paid drivers and pay for vehicle maintenance and gasoline for the vans the agency operates.
NWPM also needs more volunteer drivers. Volunteers can drive either their own cars or NWPM's Ride Connection vans.
"The more volunteers we have, the fewer people we have to turn down," said Barkley.
For information on volunteering, call the NWPM office at 503-413-5529. To join the roster of performers at the fundraiser, call Robboy at 503-284-2661.