Hanukkah in 2021 began Sunday Nov 28, and I decided it was an appropriate time to visit the Jewish museum and the Holocaust Memorial in Portland OR.
For us non-Jews, below are some interesting links:
"Hanukkah - Chanukah 2021 - Menorah, Dreidels, Latkes, Recipes, Games and more"
I attended the first ever lighting of the Menorah in Gresham OR, the first night of Chanukah in 2021, the year of the opening of Chabad Jewish Center of Gresham / East County. The event was at the Gresham Center for the Arts, a nice plaza on 2nd St between NE Kelly Ave and NE Hood Ave where they have a Farmers Market, restrooms, and a splash pad in summer, a drop box for letters to Santa during the season. I went early so I wouldn't have to try to find the place and van-accessible parking in the dark. I got the perfect easy parallel parking on the curb. After all week fretting that it would be a cold, dark, rainy night, the weather turned out nice, though breezy enough that the huge inflatable dreidel kept blowing over.
The Rabbi and the City Councilwoman both gave touching/inspiring messages for the evening. My notes (taken on scraps in the dark) are imperfect, so I beg pardon for that. The Rabbi spoke of how physical symbols remind us of spiritual things like wisdom, friendship, love. We must “use” those spiritual aspects of life or lose them. Hanukkah flames are lights that shine in the darkness, reveal evils—the erosion of time-honored values—give light to those who walk in darkness, and benefit us all. The Councilwoman spoke of the inspiration of Hanukkah celebrating the victory of Right over Might. We must have courage to stand against the tyranny of the powerful. She spoke of the appropriateness in the proximity of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah, both celebrations of blessings we’ve received. She praised the “Melting Pot” of America [where race, ancestry, differences of experience and heritage all season the medley, or add various strengths to the alloy]. We are all Americans.
I wished I could have attended the 2021 Community Chanukah Celebration in Esther Short Park (605 Esther St.) in Vancouver USA, with “live music, hot cocoa, doughnuts and a giant ice menorah carving,” (which sounded cool) but I had attended their 2019 lighting, and wanted to spread my wings, so to speak. I couldn't be in both places at the same time. For 2019 “Festivals of Light”, including Hanukkah at Esther Short Park, scroll down at
The weekend of Hanukkah I went to Portland Friday for the tour at the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education, and to visit the Oregon Holocaust Memorial. I stopped at Ben & Esther's Vegan Jewish Deli for lunch, hoping as well to get latkes and jelly donuts for my Hanukkah feast at home. I had tried to call ahead all week to make sure, but got no connection—as it turns out, they were closed 10 days for renovations. But I drove that way anyway, and it was the very day they reopened, unfortunately for me they didn’t have latkes or donuts yet (nor the next day). They have very limited street parking, but Safeway across the street has van-accessible parking, and the street crossing is not bad except for water pooled on a rainy day at bottom of the crossing ramp. There’s a handy bus stop as well.
Ben & Esther's Vegan Jewish Deli--6912 NE Sandy Blvd., Portland OR
Friday night after the Museum and Memorial I drove to Sweet Lorraine’s Latkes and More, to try to get latkes and jelly donuts, but it was dark, the limited street parking was full, I was tired, and again, I got only a recorded message when I tried to call. So when I had to pick up my main dinner from Zuppan’s Market on Saturday, I stopped at Sweet Lorraine’s (Killingsworth Station Food Carts) for lunch, where I was fortunate enough to get a good spot to park along the curb. The ramp up to the food carts is too steep for a manual wheelchair, but my new electric one was able to make it without tipping over. Lorraine suggested I order online and include a note about needing curbside delivery, park in the back momentarily and call, and they would bring the food out. She did have latkes, and a delicious kale salad, but no jelly donuts yet.
Sweet Lorraine’s Latkes and More—1331 Killingsworth, Portland OR
Saturday was rainy, but when I called earlier in the week to order my main Hanukkah meal from Zuppan’s Market (Burnside), the person taking my order said just to park and call, and they’d bring my food out to accommodate my handicap. There’s a longer story . . . I had hoped to pick up the food on the way home from the Holocaust Memorial in Washington Square (Portland OR) on Friday, because it is so close and I wouldn’t have to make an extra trip. But as it turned out, I had to make that extra trip, and once again, I only got a recording when I called. Again, I was so very fortunate that the handicapped parking was roomy for a van with a ramp, was right at the doorway, and was unoccupied. I went in and asked about my order, and eventually they got it together while I explored the store, décor and delights, and took photos. I had ordered a meal for 4, but the dishes were generous enough for at least 6. The ad for their Hanukkah meal was really very enticing, and the food was not disappointing. I could have ordered my latkes and jelly donuts from them as well, but I had wanted to try the other places. I wasn’t sorry I tried the others, but I was sorry I didn’t just include the latkes and donuts in my Zuppan’s order. It is an investment.
Zuppan's Market-- 2340 W Burnside
As always, the first time going somewhere there is considerable anxiety about finding appropriate parking. The online map did show that there was parking around the block from the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education. I worried about the time it would take to park and pay and get around to the entrance, that I might miss starting with the tour. But just across from the Museum is the historic old US Customs House (had been sold for shared office space), that had a van accessible handicapped parking spot of which I availed myself. Very handy. I made it to the tour just as they were starting, and they welcomed me in. After the tour I noted the pleasant park along several blocks between 8th and Park Avenues.
Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education--724 NW Davis St, Portland OR
Construction was still going on in the area of Washington Park where I wanted to go but wasn’t blocking my way. The online maps and physical street signs leave something to be desired, so I had to go the rounds to try to find the Oregon Holocaust Memorial. At last, I parked by the Coming of the White Man statue (which I take is meant to also be the Memorial parking), and got out for some pathfinding. I rolled the compacted gravel path by the statue, and followed the signs toward the memorial, which didn’t have good follow-up for the way to go. Both ways became steep inclines, and I didn’t have a companion in case I got into a fix. Nevertheless, I continued with trepidation. Partway down I tried to turn back, but my wheels spun, so I continued cautiously toward the bump barrier at the edge of the road, and on my way there caught a glimpse of the memorial down through the brush. I took some pics just in case that was the best I could do. Once I got on the road, I decided to try the crossing, and sure enough, that’s where the inadequately marked paved path to the memorial is. So, to distill all that--drive up and park by the "Coming of the White Man" statue (picnic tables near; costed me $2 for an hour at the pay post, which takes coins and card), stroll/roll back down the paved road to the pedestrian crossing to get to the Holocaust Memorial, as well as restrooms and park map. It’s not suitable for a solo person in a manual wheelchair, but my new electric chair was able to manage the steep incline back up to my van, even as I kind of held my breath.
Oregon Holocaust Memorial-- 240 SW Wright Ave, Washington Park, Portland OR
Main telephone: 202.488.0400
I've been in a wheelchair for 30+ years. It poses some challenges for traveling. Maybe others can benefit from my experiences.