Our Selection of The Best Free Online Courses For Digital Marketers

We Have Reviewed The Top Online Courses For Digital Marketers – Here Is our Selection Of The Top 5


Digital marketing is an essential skill not only for those who work in the field but to the entrepreneurs and business owners who hope to turn profit in the online markets. Even after the initial startup phase has been completed, having a solid understanding of all aspects of your business and its progression will allow you to apply perspective and know how to produce the most finely tuned digital marketing campaigns in the future.


The following is our personal selection of the top 5 email and digital marketing courses from our review:


1. Google Online Marketing Challenge

In almost a decade, over 100,000 people in over 100 countries participated in the Google Online Marketing Challenge. This exciting opportunity is a first-hand educational experience from the search engine giant themselves covering topics like search advertising, search engine marketing, introductory digital marketing, social, analytics, display advertising, mobile marketing and more.

It is also unique in that participants will receive $250 in Adwords that can be budgeted over a three week period. This will allow the participant to set up a practice ad campaign for their own business or a non-profit organization. Google offeers some very impressive prizes for succesful particpants. IF you are looking for a free crash and hands on experience with digital marketing this will be the place to go.



2. WordStream’s PPC University


PPC University is learning company created by my very own company, WordStream, and offered to entrepreneurs like yourself completely free. In this one of a kind digital marketing course you will see first hand how the experience we have in PPC advertising can be applied to a small to medium size business that is struggling to balance their campaigns and expenses while raising their profits. There are three streams offered to beginner and advanced digital marketers with additional streams on the topics of social media marketing and more.


There are also resources that can enhance your learning experience such as white papers and webinars. Furthermore, the whole thing is 100% Mobile friendly so you can get in your studies whenever you find yourself with a few minutes to spare.


3. Social Media Quickstarter Digital Marketing Course


Constant Contact’s Social Media Quickstarter approaches digital marketing from the social media and email marketing side and shows the user how to maximize the benefits of both of these important tools. In the course you will find a well-appointed series of studies that cover the best tactics for Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, Google+, LinkedIn, blogging,reviews sites and listings. The way these lessons have been organized makes them the perfect choice for the beginner user. Extra resources include how-tos, guides and practical examples of the case studies at hand.


4. Inbound Digital Marketing Course Plus Official Certification


HubSpot Academy offers a highly popular course in Digital Marketing and has over 3,000 students participating in their Udemy workshop. There are 4.5 hours of instruction available and the 38 lectures are still offered at the competitive price of absolutely free.

Participants will enjoy an intuitive guide to mastering the basics of blogging,

lead nurturing, mobile marketing, increasing conversions and assembling a solid digital marketing strategy. On completion students will receive a badge of recognition on their LinkedIn profile.



5. Anik Singal’s Inbox Blueprint 


Annie Signals Inbox Blueprint is a learning community for email marketing with over 6,000,000 registered participants online. The courses and standard based results are all offered completely free of charge. The was the very massive online open course (MOOC) provider and was established on 2007 by founder Anik Singal. What you will basically learn from Inbox Blueprint 2 is:


    • how to start building your own email list
    • how to get the best conversions from your email list
    • best ways to build opt-in and landing pages
    • the best email marketing responders and platforms



As you can see there is a wealth of resources to help the up and coming digital marketer and business owner improve their skills and value. Finally, if you want to increase your value to yourself and any notable marketing campaign you will want to understand the basics of coding and a working knowledge wouldn’t hinder your future either.

Top 5 eCommerce Courses and Platforms in Review



Which is the Best Ecommerce Platform for You? We Review The top 5!

There will be many different considerations when choosing the best ecommerce platform to set up your online store.

I work in an e-commerce advertising agency, AdFicient, and we have had much success with our ecommerce clients. The information you will find in our review will be taken from the platforms with which I have most experience.

Different Categories of E-Commerce Platforms

You will find e-commerce platforms separated into two different categories: the hosted and self-hosted varieties. Hosted platforms are offered by a company that will host your store, self-hosted platforms provide the user with a software store, but you will have to select your own web host.

For reasons of stability, this article will center around the options provided by hosted platforms. The two major advantages of this are the dedicated support of qualified technicians in the case anything goes wrong, and the fact that downtime will be reduced to a mere minimum. The biggest problem with the hosted option is that the monthly fees can be quite steep.

Shopify has rapidly risen to the top of the e-commerce platforms and is my very top pick. The admin page interface has been intuitively crafted to be as easy to navigate as possible, which is a great thing for those setting up shop for the first time.

The greatest downsides to the Shopify platform would be the checkout page. Although there is some control over how this page can be appointed there are limited options for the specific needs of your company.

If the checkout page is a crucial point on your campaign, you may want more options than you can find here. As a matter of fact, very few of the following hosted options allow much flexibility in their home pages, so you may want to skip to the self-hosted options.

But there are some areas where Shopify leaves the others in the dust. The Add-on Apps section is a good example. Shopify has some very effective apps that can be downloaded from the site and set up in your store to introduce new functionality to your analytics and shopper experiences.

A Shopify E-Commerce Setup will run you about $29. Each month. If you would like to include the credit card processor to this figure that will increase to the standard 2.9 percent + 30 cent rate. Higher plans will have certain reduced costs for credit card transactions.

  • 2. Volusion Ecommerce platforms

You can imagine Volusion as Shopify’s cousin with about half the customization features. It is simple and the entire program has a cookie-cutter feel and taste to it. For instance, the entire platform is operated under a single template type. If this sounds lazy, imagine my surprise when I discovered that much of the information on products, categories and cart details are not retrievable. This info is essential for remarketing tracking scripts.

There do have a decent customer support in place, the only problem is that they aren’t extremely helpful. This could also be due to the fact that the questions I had for them were simply not answered by this particular platform.

One advantage is that Volusion is priced at half the cost of Shopify. While it is considerably cheaper, the amount you can’t do is staggering. I would not recommend this for the serious e-commerce capitalist.


Another close relative to Shopify and Volusion in both functionality and performance, is BigCommerce. Although in versatility it is alto closer to Volusion than to Shopify. While this option does allow the implementation of Product Feed and Google Trusted Feed as part of their supported functionalities, any attempts to add a different option would likely be frustrated by the limited capacity of this platform.

One place where Bigcommerce would take the second place from volusion would be the admin page that has been cleaned-up nicely and is easier to navigate.

Bigcommerce will cost the same as Shopify per month with the addition of a 1.5% transaction fee for all. Then you will also see the same processing fees applied to credit card transactions. What this means to you and me is that even when you are making money you will find yourself being charged for it.

  • 4. The Winner

Of the three leading hosted e-commerce platforms mentioned here, I believe that Shopify provides thest all round user experience and most viable step so I am gonna pronounce it as the winner of my top 5 eCommerce platforms review


  • 5. Self-Hosted Magento

This is a platform that has been around for ages and should have their process down to a fine science by now. It may be this age and lack of experience on the part of a “professional” that justifies the scathing remarks about to made.

While this lumbering e-commerce website is one of the largest online, it is a platform that i advise my clients and acquaintances against. The faults to be found are plentiful, but the most egregious of them all is the lack of customization features.

This behemoth of the online market is like a beast that won’t go extinct already. Sure it has some strengths, but the leviathan is as user “unfriendly” interface that was designed by engineers with no clue of how to market to an online customer.

Furthermore, as time goes on the many issues that spring up in the platform have to be jimmy-rigged back together by their customer service. It’s nice that they usually have a solution, but why are they having so many problems?

Magento can be considered the lumbering juggernaut of the online world that could soon implode if not radically updated.

Leadership Institute Convenes in Portland

Future leaders of Portland’s Jewish community, agencies and synagogues gathered Dec. 12 at the inaugural meeting of the Portland Jewish Leadership Institute to learn the personal, leadership and analytic skills they will need in the 21st century.

Convened and funded by the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland, the PJLI is designed to strengthen the Jewish community’s leadership base for all of the agencies, congregations and organizations. The 30 participants come from across the spectrum of experience, but all are “leaders who show the promise of creating a stronger future for our community,” according to PJLI Chair Susan Abravanel.

PJLI facilitator Dr. David Elcott—an author, lecturer and organizational consultant who developed the curriculum for the program—said that the world is radically different from even one generation ago. He said when he was a child, people believed that their rabbi had the answers.

“Today when we hear a rabbi speak, if we’re interested we go home and Google and see all the alternative views,” he said. “Global connections have transformed us. No Jewish leader has the authority leaders once had—no president does.”

Elcott, who has headed such institutes around the country for nearly 20 years, said that the eight-session PJLI program will deal with many topics all designed to provide deep, meaningful answers to the core question: “What does it mean to be a leader?”

Abravanel said all the work in the program was designed to be educational, meaningful, sacred and fun, because “to be sustained that has to be part of it.”

Elcott said participants in the leadership institute represent the full gamut of Portland’s Jewish community, ranging from those who wake up every morning and wash and pray to those for whom attending a meeting at the JCC is a Jewish commitment. Yet all are bound together by that sense of connection, he said.

The PJLI curriculum draws on equally diverse sources for learning, said Elcott. From contemporary texts on leadership to the Torah and Maimonides, participants will find wisdom to help them become leaders in the community. Especially in today’s world, Elcott said, there is no blueprint with concrete steps to follow as a leader.

“Leadership is not a skill, it is an art form,” said Elcott. “But, I believe one can learn to be an artist.”

Portland Jewish Leadership Institute


Jodi Berris
Steve Bilow
Josh Blank
Rachael Duke
Levia Friedman
Lauren Goldstein
Beth Hamon
Daniel Kaplan
Jason Kaufman
Lee Kurnoff Lazarus
Kim Levy
Liz Lippoff
Ronnie Malka
Rich Meyer
Chayim Mishulovin
Simi Mishulovin
Lisa Morasch
Dani Nierenberg
Polina Olsen
Aaron Pearlman
Laura Rackner
Mary Rait
Debra Rosenthal
Dana Sacks
Elizabeth Schwartz
Rachel Shimshak
Eliana Temkin
Jeffrey Waite
Sharon Weil
Jeffrey Weitz

Task Force:

  • Susan Abravanel
  • Alan Blank
  • Priscilla Kostiner
  • Bob Liebman
  • Susie Marcus




2016 Super Sunday Raises $190,000+

This year’s Super Sunday raised more than $190,000 for the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland annual campaign to support Jewish life locally and globally.

Held Dec. 4 in Hoffmann Hall at Portland State University, more than 140 volunteers called some 2,300 donors. Callers surpassed last year’s total of $125,000.

“Everyone involved knew that this was the year that we needed to work towards increasing pledges by 15 percent,” said Super Sunday Chair Jason H. Kaufman. “Our needs are always increasing. And, as I have said in the past, we have great volunteers and terrific professional staff.”

This year’s card-for-card increase was 13 percent.

Kaufman attributed the success to five key components of the day. First, he said, the volunteers were trained to believe in the Federation’s and the agencies’ missions. Second, they made the easiest call of the day first – to themselves. Third, the volunteers executed perfectly. Fourth, everyone had a wonderful time at the event, allowing the event’s success to skyrocket. Fifth, the Oregon Jewish Community Youth Foundation were among the volunteers in the fourth shift.

“They really fired up the volunteers,” said Kaufman. “It was outstanding to see these teens come into Hoffmann Hall and go out and not be afraid to make these calls. For instance, Moriah Kaplan raised $300 on one call—and the donor had not given for two years. Others with this terrific group were able to double and triple their cards from last year.”

“Our future leaders in this community will no doubt take this positive experience and benefit our community for years to come,” added Kaufman.

Kaufman said that sponsors and in-kind donations allow the Federation to spend very little, thus allowing more funds to go directly to the allocations committee to meet the needs of the Jewish community locally and around the world.

The annual campaign raises funds for six local agencies—Jewish Family and Child Service, Robison Jewish Health Center, Portland Jewish Academy, Mittleman Jewish Community Center, Oregon Jewish Museum and Hillel at the University of Oregon. As part of the United Jewish Communities, the annual campaign supports humanitarian projects in Israel, Russia, Argentina and other countries through overseas agencies such as the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and the Jewish Agency for Israel.

When the totals were announced following the last shift, volunteers and staff sang Siman Tov U’Mazel Tov and listened to other Jewish and Israeli songs.

Those who missed the call on Super Sunday, but who want to contribute to Jewish life locally and around the world can make a contribution, by visiting  jewishreview.org

A family tradition of giving

Elaine Savinar doesn’t remember when she passed the torch of Jewish giving to her daughter, Sharon Weil. It happened almost imperceptibly.


Weil remembers her mother’s return from the first Women’s Division mission to Poland, Romania and Israel in 1974.


“That was when they were bringing Jews out of Russia and into Israel. She talked about the people she met and the things that happened,” Weil said.


Recalling that first mission, Savinar said, “I was in high school during World War II, so the Holocaust really didn’t touch me as much as it did people a few years older. It was very important for me to go to Auschwitz and see the remnants of Jews left in Lithuania and Poland and what our funds were doing.”


In Romania, she said, her group visited the elderly but couldn’t speak their language. She remembered hearing Yiddish, so she could communicate with some of them.


This year, Weil made her first mission to Israel and Tablisi, Georgia, in the former Soviet Union. She came back talking about how federation dollars are helping Ethiopian Jews in Israel.


“We met people in their 20s who are now giving back to their own community,” she said. “We went on a retreat where Ethiopian Jews try to deal with the loss of their children. Some had died on their way to Israel, or during suicide bombings, or serving in the army. We took Polaroids of each family; they really loved that.”


“I always told my children I felt they need to remember and honor their Judaism, and I wanted all of them to go to Israel,” said Savinar. “We are still sending a good portion of funds to Israel—for education, for older people—and Israel is always in need. Unfortunately, they have not had peace. … In some areas people said, ‘Please don’t forget us. Remember that we’re here, we need your help.’


Savinar remains vitally interested in sending aid to Israel.


Her memory of her own mother’s charity is linked to the lighting of the Shabbat candles.


“In those days they had a tzedakah box somewhere in the kitchen that she would fill. I think she put money in it Friday night when she lit the candles or at other times when she thought it was necessary,” she said. “My parents always said, ‘You have a good name. Always remember that your name is more important than anything. It follows your good deeds.'”


Savinar said she became very active in federation during the 1960s, and by the early ’70s she was serving on the local federation board. She chaired the Women’s Division and joined the national board in 1974. She said she greatly valued her 8 years on the JFCS board, which she chaired for two years.


Weil currently serves on federation’s newly formed campaign leadership team. For three years she worked on federation’s allocations committee and served on the board. As a new member of the Lions of Judah, for women whose annual gift to federation is $5,000 or more, Weil has become involved in solicitation.


“I never was afraid to ask, because the worst thing is someone is going to say no, and I don’t take no,” she said. “If you see everything as negative, then you don’t move forward. If you take a positive approach, I think you accomplish more. No one really wants to ask, but the opposite of not asking is no one gets anything. The poor little woman in Tablisi that I met doesn’t get anything; the agencies here in town don’t get the help they need. I always think it’s not so bad to ask if you realize what are the consequences if you don’t ask.”


When Savinar became a Ruby Lion, the designation for a higher level of giving at JFGP, Weil took her mother’s Lion of Judah pin to a jeweler and asked him to set the rubies and diamonds her mother had accumulated over 10 years of giving to federation. She invited family members to a ceremony where she would present the pin.


“I didn’t give it to my mom right away but said I want to make a challenge. I proposed that for every dollar they spend on themselves they take 20 percent and put it in a tzedakah box and decide what charity they want to give it to, so they don’t just think about ‘my new pair of shoes, my new video game,’ but they put money away for something else. My niece right away said she wants to save for breast cancer. My nephew chose to contribute to a food drive.”


And she gave her mother the pin, saying, “It’s not the pin so much, it’s the history, what your mother and grandmother have done.”


Sharon Weil and Elaine Savinar will co-chair the “Reach for the Ruby” national campaign this year.


“I figured that was a perfect venue to us to work together,” said Weil. “My mother agreed to come back and work on campaign with me.”


Savinar said, “Sharon always had a good sense for what needed to be done. She’s very giving, very kind and compassionate, and I’m really proud of her. It’s very hard for me to say no when she asks me to do anything, so I usually say yes.”


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PSU student paper prints then retracts anti-Semitic article


The Vanguard newspaper at Portland State University published an opinion article on Oct. 18 that has been widely criticized as anti-Semitic and highly uninformed about Judaism and the ongoing Palestinian conflict with Israel.


In response to the article ostensibly about Jerusalem’s divided status by student writer Caelan MacTavish, PSU students, faculty members and others from outside the PSU community have spoken out against MacTavish and the newpaper’s editors. (for related interview with MacTavish, see PSU Op-ed author says, ‘I didn’t know what I was doing’)


In response, Vanguard editors and PSU President Daniel Bernstine published statements in the paper on Oct. 28 in which they acknowledged what Bernstine characterized as views “totally inconsistent with the values that we support at Portland State University.”


The paper also published on Oct. 28 a response solicited from CAMERA, the Boston-based Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting.


Writing for CAMERA, Gilead Ini, the organization’s senior research analyst, called MacTavish’s statements “false and contemptible.”

The article in question appeared under the headlines “A city divided” and “Religious disputes over Jerusalem require diplomacy.”


In the article, MacTavish referred to the Holocaust as “the Great Burning.”


  • MacTavish said that Europe had “hated” the Jews for centuries “because of their exclusive religion.”
  • MacTavish said, “Nobody can really convert to Judaism—you are born Jewish or you are not.”
  • MacTavish said, “The Jews did not like to integrate with other peoples.”
  • MacTavish called Jewish settlers in the territories “crazy religious zealots” who “believe that the entire realm of Palestine is theirs, because an ancient book says an invisible being in the clouds gave it to them.”
  • MacTavish said, “?the Jews take all the water and resources.”
  • MacTavish said, “Leaving Palestinians in little more than cages is not an appropriate act for a race released from concentration camps. But monkey see, monkey do.”
  • MacTavish called Israel’s security barrier “the new apartheid wall.”
  • MacTavish said of Christians, “The Christians want Jerusalem because they have always wanted the Holy Land.”


MacTavish, who has written approximately 60 opinion and performance review articles for the Vanguard since 2004, according to the Vanguard’s online archive (the article in question was removed from the archive on Oct. 27), concluded his article by suggesting that jurisdiction over all of Jerusalem should be transferred to the United Nations and that U.N. headquarters should be moved to the Jerusalem.


Thirty-seven PSU faculty members signed a letter to the editor in which they deplored MacTavish’s article.


Among their comments, the faculty members called MacTavish’s article “a mix of crude and inflammatory caricatures, distortions and outright falsehoods concerning Jews, Judaism, Middle East politics and world history.”


The faculty members said MacTavish’s summary of Jewish history “makes one cringe in embarrassment for its historical and moral distortion” and that he ignores 2,000 years of Jewish history, except for the Holocaust, “which he perversely suggests the Jews brought upon themselves because of their ‘exclusive religion.'”


In announcing their public retraction of the problematic article, Vanguard editors said that MacTavish’s column “was riddled with factual inaccuracies and overbroad generalizations of the Jewish faith, people and history.”


The editors pointed to their goal of publishing “thoughtful, well-researched commentary that provides a unique or interesting analysis of complex situations” before they admitted that “the column failed gravely to meet that goal or to meet the editorial standards that we at the Vanguard aim to uphold.”


Vanguard Editor in Chief Matt Petrie told the Jewish Review that the MacTavish article failed to receive the editorial attention it should have because of the pressure of having to produce the next edition of the paper and a special supplement at the same time, a process that he said taxed the limited staff.


“The atmosphere was very high-pressure and in many ways very rushed. In this case, we simply did not coordinate well and the article was not read as closely as it should have and given as much critical consideration as it ordinarily would have before it went to print,” said Petrie.


He added, “In this isolated incident, this column unfortunately fell through the cracks, and had serious consequences for all of us and the Portland State community.”


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A Jew finds himself at a neo-Nazi forum

A Jew finds himself at a neo-Nazi forum

A letter from Eugene


It was a small announcement in the Dec. 11 calendar section of Eugene Weekly: “National Socialist Movement: An insider’s view of America’s radical right.” The venue was a meeting room in the student union of the University of Oregon campus, and the sponsor was Pacifica Forum, a free-speech group that meets weekly and is best known for its embrace of anti-Zionist speakers.

My somewhat naive assumption was that we’d be hearing from a former member of the NSM who had seen the error of his ways. That notion was quickly dispelled when speaker Jimmy Marr, dressed head to foot in full Scottish regalia, began reading a section from a book of Torah that detailed how the Jews became “the Chosen People.” His conclusion: “And what does that make the rest of us? Slaves to the Jews!”

Of the two dozen or so attendees, it soon became apparent that at least eight were NSM devotees scattered through the audience. The giveaway moment was when Marr, quiet-spoken until then, concluded his introduction by inviting everyone to join him in a “sieg heil” (hail victory). More than half a dozen arms were quickly raised to chests and thrust high—“Sieg heil! Sieg heil! Sieg heil!”

A lone voice in the back called out, “I strongly object to this,” while the rest sat in stunned silence. Comprehension of the true nature of this forum was hindered by a sense of disbelief… “Is this a tasteless joke? Can this seriously be happening in 2009?”

The outward appearance of several NSM members was not encouraging. Marr, sporting a two-pronged beard, formal black jacket and tartan kilt, seemed attired for a meeting of Scottish Nationalists. One chap in front wore a Hitler haircut. Another fellow could have been a stand-in for Col. Klink on the old “Hogan’s Heroes” TV show, minus the monacle.

Normally, such posturing in our proudly eccentric Eugene would not elicit so much as a second glance, but beneath the costumed surface the message being conveyed was disturbing.

We were shown a half hour or so of video footage from a recent NSM demonstration against illegal immigration in Phoenix, Ariz. A couple dozen brown-shirted men marched along a downtown street, separated by a cordon of police from a group of anti-fascist protestors. At a staging area, various NSM speakers took turns spouting their doctrine and haranguing the opposition, calling them “scum,” among other epithets, which the protestors returned in kind.

One on-screen speaker after another screamed a litany of accusations against the Jewish population at large, blaming them for basically every world ill, including the illegal immigration of “inferior races”—go figure. At one point, the man at the mike pointed to an opposition figure and shrieked, “You are a Jew. A traitor Jew.”

The NSM’s style—no surprise here—was confrontational. Smugly aware that their venom-laced words, swastika-embellished American flags, and Nazi-era uniforms are designed to arouse animosity, they clearly thrive on the negative attention. This also serves to “justify” their self-view as victims. “We, the white race, are the vast minority now,” bemoaned Marr.

After the film came slides under the title, “NSM Fights Back.” These were photos of another rally at which police did not succeed in keeping the two sides apart. Men in neo-Nazi apparel were shown swinging fists into opponents’ faces. NSM audience members shared grins during this part of the presentation, clearly elated.

When Marr opened the meeting to questions, the first to speak was the man who’d protested at the earlier “sieg heils,” Billy Rojas, a former comparative religion teacher and founder of The Swastika Club of America, which traces the roots of that once positive symbol of luck back to its ancient Hindu origins. Rojas stated that his group is diametrically opposed to the NSM’s positions and to Nazism, which transformed the swastika into a symbol of malevolence.

Other questions were mild until one person challenged the NSM position of racial superiority by bringing in the science of genetics. Marr snapped back a quick one-liner and then applauded his own wit.

As for Marr’s charge regarding “the chosen people,” I myself had brought that up with Eugene Chabad Rabbi Asi Spiegel several years back, suggesting that it sounded a little arrogant.

Rabbi Spiegel, a friend and mentor on all things Jewish, shook his head. “That’s because the term is so misunderstood. Chosen? Chosen for what? It doesn’t mean higher, better or superior. It means chosen to keep the word of Torah, the law, the commandments, and to endure keeping faith in God no matter how persecuted, despised or ridiculed we become. This is not chosen like winning a lottery. This is chosen as an obligation and sometimes a burden we must carry on, no matter what.”

The NSM lecture or forum was filled with one fallacious insinuation after another. Unable to continue listening, I stood up. “Mr. Marr,” I said as civilly as I could, “I’m glad we live in a country where you’re free to express your views. I don’t think you’re a bad person, and I even understand some of the reasons you believe what you do, but everything—everything about what was presented here today—is just so wrong on every level. I cannot stand to remain another minute.”

Some will disagree with my characterization of Marr as not a bad person, but my words were an homage to Anne Frank’s, written in her diary while in hiding from Nazi persecution: “In spite of everything, I still believe that people are truly good at heart.”

The problem comes when individuals gather in a collective that diminishes the better part of their humanity in favor of a group consciousness that exploits their fears and encourages their worst instincts. The whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts, and when that entity is devoted to malice toward others, their collective intent becomes sinister, pernicious and inevitably self-destructive. The members of NSM seem content to deliberately overlook how consistently fascism has been on the wrong side of history.

At what point, then, does free speech, an American right, cross over into hate speech designed to incite violence? Was the UO or even Pacifica Forum aware that this meeting would degenerate into “sieg heil” salutes? Could that have been predicted, and if so, would the UO still have legitimized the NSM by offering them this academic platform?

Outside the door, a half dozen campus security guards had gathered, but there were no protestors or opposition to be seen. Hardly anyone seemed to know of the event, or if they did, to think it worth attending. But ignoring evil—even a seemingly insignificant concentration of evil—will not make it go away.

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  Newsletter (coming soon)


Group backs Oregon Israel Business Ties

Republican challenger Scott Bruun and Democratic 5th District incumbent Kurt Schrader will appear at public candidate forum on Oct. 18 at the Mittlelman Jewish Community Center.

The free event is sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland, the Mittleman Jewish Community Center and the Oregon Area Jewish Committee.

Shrader is scheduled to appear from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m..

Bruun is scheduled to appear from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.

The MJCC is located at 6651 SW Capitol Hwy.

For more information, call Bob Horenstein at 503-245-6496 or visit jewish business and eCommerce world reviews

A reason to hope, if nothing else

A reason to hope, if nothing else


article created on:

Two days before the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to President Barak Obama, Reuters reporter Wojciech Moskwa filed a story in which he explained that the five men who comprise the Peace Prize selection committee in Oslo were attempting to re-emphasize the prize’s “activist roots.”

Moskwa began his story thusly: “Wanted—a peace maker or rights activist engaged in a current conflict whose influence would benefit greatly from winning the Nobel Peace Prize.”

He quoted Kristian Berg Harpviken, head of the International Peace Institute in Oslo. “It’s quite likely this committee will reward somebody who is engaged in current processes,” said Harpviken. “They want the prize to have an impact on things that are about to happen and want to affect events.”

That statement lent perspective to reminders by many on the morning of Oct. 9 when the prize was announced that Obama hadn’t achieved much yet that was tangible or measurable.

Blogs and media outlets everywhere were abuzz with the news and reactions hours before the president made his remarks about receiving the prize.

At 7:56 a.m. here in Portland on the day of the prize, an email arrived from David Bedein of the Israel Resource News Agency in Jerusalem. He said Israel “had reason to be concerned” about Obama receiving the prize.

Quoting Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, Bedein wrote, “‘Someone who gets a peace prize should not force-feed Israel with his version of peace,’ going on to say that he hoped that the peace prize would not inspire the president to ‘dictate a peace accord to Israel.’”

Bedein noted that Norway, home to the Nobel Committee,” remains almost the only European nation to recognize, aid and abet the Hamas regime in Gaza, at a time when Norway sanctions boycotts of some Israel companies, and at a time when Norway openly funds movements in Israel that advocate the expulsion of Jewish communities from Judea, Samaria, the Golan and Jerusalem.”

Bedein added, “…for many Israelis, the Norwegian endorsement of peace initiatives of President Obama reads like a kiss of death for Israel.”

Bedein’s and Rivlin’s are not the only perspectives from Israel.

In a letter of congratulation to Obama, Israeli President Shimon Peres said, “Very few leaders if (any) at all were able to change the mood of the entire world in such a short while with such a profound impact. You provided the entire humanity with fresh hope, with intellectual determination, and a feeling that there is a lord in heaven and believers on earth.”

Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas, speaking through negotiator Saeb Erakat, congratulated Obama.

A spokesman for the Hamas terrorist organization was less sanguine. Samir Abu Zuhri joined a worldwide chorus in calling the award premature and said Obama “did not do anything for the Palestinians except make promises (while) …at the same time, he is giving his absolute support for the (Israeli) occupation.”

The Islamic Jihad leader in Gaza was even more pointed. It “shows these prizes are political, not governed by the principles of credibility, values and morals,” said Khaled Al-Batsh in a Reuters report. “Why should Obama be given a peace prize while his country owns the largest nuclear arsenal on earth and his soldiers continue to shed innocent blood in Iraq and Afghanistan?”

When Obama spoke to reporters to acknowledge the prize, he found common ground with many observers who questioned the award. “I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who’ve been honored by this prize,” said the president.

In this country Republicans agreed with that assessment.

Michael Gerson, who was a speech writer for President George W. Bush, dismissed the award saying that the Nobel Committee “decided to give a ribbon before the race, a trophy for aspiration, a gold star for admirable sentiments.”

On the day of the announcement, Democrats were much less vocal and much of what they did say targeted the Republicans.

Democratic National Committee Communications Director Brad Woodhouse told The Washington Post, “The Republican Party has thrown in its lot with the terrorists—the Taliban and Hamas—this morning in criticizing the president for receiving the Nobel Peace Prize.”

The New York Times was out the gate early with a blog summarizing initial world response to the prize. They grouped the responses into four categories: “Couldn’t Have Been a Better Choice,” “That’s Great, But…,” “Deeper Skepticism” and “Absolutely Wrong.”

Times blogger Sharon Otterman kept things in balance by offering approximately equal numbers of perspectives in each category.

By 10:30 on the morning of the award there were about 500 comments posted on the blog and, while there were many that praised the Nobel Committee’s decision, a clear majority at that time questioned the wisdom of the choice.

“Ed of Connecticut” was typical of blog posters who questioned or opposed the choice. “An embarrassment. What on earth where they thinking? This strikes me as nothing more than post hoc Bush bashing.”

Many thought the choice so early in Obama’s administration diminished the prize, while others feared that the prize raised expectations for Obama to unrealistic levels in a difficult world and that however much he may eventually achieve, it will never measure up to the elevated expectations implicit in the prize.

Alfred Nobel stipulated that the prize should be awarded—in the words of his will—“to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.”

While Obama is short on success as a peace maker yet, I agree with President Peres that Obama’s young presidency has had a significant impact on the world and his leadership appears, at least to many, to offer hope for a better tomorrow.

Finland’s ex-president Maarti Ahtisaari  won the Peace Prize last year. He tied Obama’s award to Middle East peace.

“I think now when President Obama has made it clear that he looks for a solution on a two-state basis during his first two years in office, I think this has to be seen as an encouragement,” said Ahtisaari—a positive if not glowing assertion.

In awarding Ahtisaari the prize last year the Nobel Committee cited “his important efforts, on several continents and over more than three decades, to resolve international conflicts. These efforts have contributed to a more peaceful world and to ‘fraternity between nations’ in Alfred Nobel’s spirit.”

If a man of Ahtisaari’s achievements (Google this guy if you want to feel small and ineffectual) approves of Obama receiving the prize, who am I or we to disagree?

There is, however, a significant difference between Ahtisaari’s 30 years of work on behalf of all humanity and Obama’s nine months in office.

Perhaps, in its rekindled “activist” role, the Nobel Committee made its choice in the same hope that Shimon Peres cited in his letter of congratulation.

Now, we and Israel are left to hope that future history will confirm—in the interest of peace—the wisdom of the Nobel Committee, Mr. Obama and those with whom we seek to come to terms.

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Adopt a family this holiday season

Adopt a family this holiday season


article created on: 2010-12-15T00:00:00

Faced with requests for help which far surpassed the emergency aid funds they had to give out, in 2009 JFCS launched the Adopt-A-Family program to try to provide some holiday happiness for families in our community struggling to survive.

Thanks to community generosity, last year 138 individuals, couples and families were able to be receive all or part of their Adopt-a-Family holiday gift requests.

This year, JFCS is again faced with the same, extreme levels of need. And so, JFCS and the Mittleman Jewish Community Center have merged the Mitzvah Menorah and the Adopt-a-Family programs, and are joining forces to ask the community for help.

You can “adopt” a low income senior, an individual struggling with illness or disability, or a family in need this Hanukah. For a description of the first 18 families who need help, see the list below.

There are many ways to help.
Adopt a Family

Contact Maria at JFCS 503-226-7079 ext. 128 to let her know which family you would like to adopt and discuss what you could do to help meet some of their most critical needs.
Shop for a Wished-For Gift

Choose a gift (or gifts) you would like to purchase from a family’s story.  Contact Maria at JFCS 503-226-7079 ext. 128 to let her know which gift you want to buy and make sure no one else is already purchasing it. Then, buy the gift and drop it off at JFCS, 1130 SW Morrison, Suite 316, attn: Chana, so JFCS can deliver it to the family. Please do NOT drop off gifts at the MJCC.
Send a Donation and JFCS will Shop for You

Choose a gift (or gifts) you would like to purchase from a family’s gift wish list.  Contact Maria at 503-226-7079 ext. 128 to let her know which gift(s) you would like to give. Then, send a donation to cover the cost of the gift(s) to Adopt-a-Family Holiday Gifts, Attn: Chana, JFCS, 1130 SW Morrison, Suite 316, Portland, 97205. JFCS will buy the gift(s) and deliver it to the family.
Pick Up a Gift Card and Pop It in the Mail

All of the families on this holiday list—as well as all those who come to JFCS year-round for help—would greatly benefit from a gift card from a one-stop department store like Fred Meyer or Target. So an easy way to help is to pick up one the next time you’re at the store and mail it to Adopt-a-Family Holiday Gifts, Attn: Chana, JFCS, 1130 SW Morrison, Suite 316, Portland, 97205.
Volunteer to Shop for or Deliver Gifts

Have time to shop for and/or deliver gifts paid for by others? To offer your shopping or delivery services, contact Brian at 503-226-7079 ext. 158 or email brian@jfcs-portland.org with your contact info and availability.

“Working together, we can make the upcoming holidays brighter with compassion and hope,” said Chana Andler, JFCS director of marketing and development.

First 18 Individuals & Families Who Need Help

Family No. 1: Recently homeless, this family of Mom, her sister, and 11-year-old daughter are now are sharing a small apartment, but desperately need kitchen equipment–knives, pots, skillets, spatulas, spoons, casserole dishes—in order to be able to cook. Also wished for are gift certificates to Everything Jewish on Capitol Hwy., a blender, a mezuzah, a “Littlest Pet Shop” for the daughter and a Powell’s gift certificate for books.

Individual No. 2: This young Jewish woman has numerous medical problems that she manages with courage and grace. One thing she can still do is cook kosher, which she loves to do. Her Hanukah wishes are for a crock pot, a zester, a garlic press and a Target gift certificate to get new socks and underwear.

Individual No. 3: This Holocaust Survivor continues to work on an on-call basis to try to make ends meet. But what really keeps her going is her art. So she is hoping for art supplies: water color and acrylic paints, brushes, pads of watercolor and acrylics paper, and/or gift certificates for art supplies.

Individual No. 4: This single Jewish 70-year-old senior lives on SSI, but even on his very limited income, still scrimps to send money back to his relatives in Russia. He is hoping for a juice maker, an electric teapot or a blender or food processor.

Couple No. 5: Senior Jewish immigrants from the Ukraine, they recently lost all their belongings in a fire. They are hoping for an electric teapot and a microwave, a warm winter coat (size 1X or XL) for her and a winter jacket (size M) for him.

Couple No. 6: This senior Jewish couple lost their belongings in the same fire that affected Couple No. 5. So, they too are starting over from scratch. He would like a winter jacket (size L) and a queen-sized blanket. She would like a cotton robe (size L or XL), slippers (size 7.5-8) and a winter jacket (petite size 16-18).

Individual No. 7: This low-income Jewish senior is wheelchair-bound and a cancer survivor, but keeps on going. She would like a toaster, a Britta pitcher and water filter, a vacuum cleaner she can operate from her chair, and a gift card to Fred Meyer or Target for some winter clothes.

Individual No. 8: Seriously injured in a car accident, this Jewish 40-year-old squeaks by on disability, but has nothing left for anything extra. He hopes for some shirts (size XL), a gift certificate to Fred Meyer to get socks and shoes, and some cat toys and treats for his beloved cat.

Individual No. 9: After a year of unemployment this young Jewish woman finally found a half-time job. But it’s still a struggle to make ends meet. For Hanukah, she hopes to get a floor lamp, a toaster oven, a winter coat (size XS or S), or a gift card to buy some boots.

Family No. 10: Although Dad has finally found a job, Mom’s prolonged illness has resulted in extensive medical bills and their house is in pre-foreclosure. What they would like for Hanukah is help with her medical bills, gift cards for winter clothes, and socks, puzzles and Jewish books for their boys (ages 3 and 5).

Individual No. 11: This former teacher is legally blind, but still wants to read and learn. What she would like for Hanukah is contributions toward getting a “book sense” device (cost $499) and the e-books that go with it.

Family No. 12: Both parents in this Jewish family are dealing with serious health issues, so it’s been a tough year for their their children (ages 10, 8 and 5). What they would most like for Hanukah is books, art supplies (paint, clay, sketchbooks), science kits, stuffed animals and a telescope for the kids.

Family No. 13: This single parent family—with four kids (ages 18-5) and grandma all in residence—has had a terrible year, including layoffs and the loss of the grandfather. What they would like for Hanukah is Target or Walmart gift cards for clothes, winter coats, music and some DVDs.

Individual NO. 14: Unemployed and with no family to help him, this early 60s Jewish man is also struggling with serious chronic back pain. So what he desperately wants for Hanukah is help paying his utilities and phone bill, which he is behind on.

Family No. 15: This Jewish family with two children (ages 16 and 4) is struggling to make ends meet. Despite the fact that Dad works full-time at a low wage job, they barely get by and have nothing extra for holiday gifts. They would love to have some Target or Fred Meyer gift cards to buy clothes, socks and underwear for the kids.

Family No. 16: This Jewish single mother is hoping for a jackets and bookstore gift cards for her 8 year old son (size 12) and 12-year old daughter (size 14), as well as a Target or Fred Meyer gift card to buy them winter boots.

Family No. 17: Unable to find steady work, this Jewish family has moved around a lot and has only recently been able to get stable housing. Their Hanukah wish is for help to pay the rent and gift cards to Target or Fred Meyer to buy clothes for their 5-year-old, since nothing fits her any longer with the check jewish world review 

Individual No. 18: Over 10 years with severe chronic debilitating disease would take its toll on almost everyone. But despite this ongoing hardship, this Jewish woman keeps her spirits up by creating art. What she would like for Hanukah is a gift card to Michaels, a ukulele (new or used), some cookie sheets and, if possible, a George Foreman grill.








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Adults invited to fun night out

Adults invited to fun night out


article created on: 2010-12-15T00:00:00

Four Broads Entertainment presents Portland’s First Annual adults-only Hanukah Bash, featuring New York City’s critically acclaimed live musical act, “Good for the Jews.” The evening’s festivities begin at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 4, at The Blue Monk, Portland’s premier eastside jazz club.

Good for the Jews, a nationally renowned duo who sing about all aspects of modern Jewish life, have appeared on “The Today Show” and National Public Radio, and have played in rock clubs and synagogues across the U.S. They have an especially strong appeal with young Jews, though their following extends to anyone with an unorthodox sense of humor.

After the Good for the Jews’ performance, a live D.J. will cap-off the night by providing the soundtrack for dancing and additional fun and entertainment with the latest jewish review

Organizers hope attendees will support Jewish Family and Child Service of Portland’s Adopt-a-Family Holiday Gift Program by bringing a $10-$30 gift card to Fred Meyer, Target or any other Portland-area store, to help brighten the holidays for those in need.

Four Broads Entertainment consists of four Jewish women in the Portland community (Edie Rogoway Van Ness, Janet Unitan, Marisa Brown and Deborah Reynolds) who want to create a fun, casual evening for Jewish couples and singles in the community to socialize, meet new people and have fun.

“We are all such busy people and many of us rarely get the opportunity to just ‘hang out’ without the constraints of toddlers pulling at our pants, etc.,” said Van Ness. “We titled the event First Annual with the hope that it will be a big success and that people will want more of these social events in the future.”

Brown was contacted by Rob Tannenbaum of Good For the Jews about doing a show in Portland since the duo had planned to be on the West Coast in early December.

“I happen to know Rob and saw the band when they were here a few years back,” said Van Ness. “Marisa and I started talking an instantly knew that we should try to put something together.”

The event is open to all adults and organizers encourage people of all ages and backgrounds to attend. But the Four Broads said that they believe there is a lack of purely social events for the 30s and 40s crowd.

“Most events like this are geared towards 20somethings or singles and those of us a bit older, who love to socialize and dance, don’t get a lot of opportunities to do so with our friends in the community,” added Van Ness.

Good for the Jews were named one of “New York’s Best Emerging Jewish Artists” by the Museum of Jewish Heritage.

Samples of the duo’s music can be heard at GoodForTheJews.net or at MySpace.com/GoodForTheJews.

Tickets for the event are $10 at the door: The Blue Monk, 3341 SE Belmont, 503-595-0575. For more information about the party, contact Van Ness at 503-750-3480.








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