Connecting the Jewish community with new Gresham Chabad Center
A new center for Jewish worship and community has been established in East Multnomah County.
Rabbi Avrohom Moshe Dyce and his family moved out east to the Kelly Creek neighborhood to create the Gresham Chabad Jewish Center, and already have a busy slate of events and activities planned.
"Everyone told us Gresham was a great fit because people out here had to schlep 45 minutes into Portland, which wasn't feasible with families and children," Dyce said. "A lot of people fell out from having those connections to the Jewish community."
"We want to bring light, spirituality and goodness," he added.
The Dyce family is part of the Chabad movement, which was transformed in the 1950s by Menachem Mendel Schneerson, known by many as the Rebbe, into one of the most widespread Jewish groups in the world. Schneerson established a large network of institutions to satisfy religious, social and humanitarian needs across the world by establishing Jewish centers in communities with a dearth of places to gather.
Today the Chabad movement is in 100 countries around the globe, and the newly formed Gresham location is the 14th in Oregon. The eventual goal is to open a Synagogue and Jewish bookstore in East County.
"We are trying to help people and make a better world in general," Dyce said.
The Gresham Chabad Jewish Center is planning to host celebrations for Jewish holidays, classes on Jewish theology, prayer services and programs for children and youths. Last fall the group hosted Gresham's first public menorah lighting for Chanukah, and the Dyce family will be hosting a Passover Seder (feast) next week.
"Passover is really about our own personal liberation — physically, emotionally and spiritually — to break through whatever could be holding us back from fulfilling our true potential," Dyce said.
This is the first community Seder to be held in Gresham, and the Dyces have been distributing a hundred boxes of hand-baked Matzah, traditional Passover crackers, as a gift for celebrating families.
"Many have told us they haven't been to a Seder in 20 or 30 years," Dyce said.
"By our Seder as we eat this Matzah we will make a special prayer for the end of all bloodshed and a better, kinder world for all," added Cheina Dyce, referencing that the Matzah had been shipped from Ukraine before the invasion began.
And the newly formed center isn't just serving the Jewish community.
In honor of what would have been the Rebbe's 120th birthday, Gresham Chabad is aiming to distributed 1,200 charity boxes to foster "goodness and kindness in the community." The idea is placing a small amount of money into the box, referred to as arks, every morning. The practice helps train people to give, especially kids, and in the end creates a donation that can be given to a worthy nonprofit organization.
"Giving daily becomes a part of our DNA," Dyce said. "Kindness and caring for others."
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