Regarding the Coronavirus and Congregation Neveh Shalom

Note that almost all in-person classes, events & services are virtual or cancelled through the end of July, and could continue past that time.

Dear Friends,

As you all know, COVID-19 is spreading throughout the country, and our community is no exception. We have seen communications yesterday and today from synagogues, government and medical officials, businesses, organizations and so many others.

At this time, there are no known cases of COVID-19 in our Neveh Shalom community. That said, there is little doubt we will be directly affected, whether in coming hours, days or weeks. Our two primary priorities are the health and safety of all our members and guests, and our commitment to continuing to be a Kehilla Kedosha offering spiritual, educational, and communal support as robustly as possible during this challenging period.

We continue to carefully monitor guidance, directions and recommendations from the Oregon Health Authority, the Center for Disease Control, World Health Organization our state and local officials and other medical professionals. We appreciate Dr. Lynne Strasfeld agreeing to serve as a continuing consultant in our decision making here at Neveh Shalom.

Please make good decisions for your own health and safety, and know that your synagogue community is here to support you as best we can.

Glen Coblens, President
David Kosak, Senior Rabbi
Fred Rothstein, Executive Director

Please note the following

Shabbat Services

Friday evening and Shabbat morning services will be offered via live-stream. No congregants will be in our building. We have a dedicated web-page with all of the information need to join us for services from home. Click here for that page.

Morning Minyan

Will be a virtual / online experience. We are hearing reports that it is a deeply meaningful experience for many people. Click here to learn how to join.

Life Emergencies

Please call or email clergy or Fred Rothstein, Executive Director:; 503.475.2934.

Regarding Funeral Attendance

We are seeing a rapid restriction on gatherings both on the state and federal level. While we can’t guarantee how those restrictions will evolve, it is safe to assume that all upcoming funerals will be limited to a 10 person maximum, including clergy participation. It is possible that at some point, even that size gathering may be deemed a public health risk.

We understand the hardship and heartache this causes, and are distressed by the impact this may cause to mourners. To minimize this disruption and provide the greatest communal support possible, a family member with a smart phone or tablet is invited to stream the funeral service so others can participate remotely. If necessary, CNS can provide one of our Zoom accounts for families to use during the funeral service.

You have our deepest sympathies on your loss, and our appreciation for the challenge that social distancing adds to your mourning process.

Rabbi David Kosak
Rabbi Eve Posen
Cantor Eyal Bitton


Long time congregants may be able to recall a brit milah over which Rabbi Isaak presided during Yom Kippur! The Bible clearly mandates that every boy be circumcized on the 8th day, assuming no conditions, such as jaundice, pose a concern. Even Yom Kippur doesn’t take precedence. Given that, I have been in contact with the two active mohelim (ritual circumcizers) in town, Dr. Bruce Birke and Rabbi Tzvi Fischer. Each of them are stilll performing a bris, but in each case, Rabbis and non-family members are invited to participate by Zoom or other web-based platform. Please check our COVID-19 page for updates.

The naming of a Jewish baby girl historically happened during an aliyah to the Torah. It was a short and sweet moment. In recent decades, the Simchat Bat, or baby naming has increasingly captured the spiritual imagination of Jews as we have desired to enhance the welcome we give to all new babies, regardless of gender. While I consider this celebration as compelling as a bris, it is not Biblically mandated; as a result, no set time-frame has yet been established. What that means is that we can offer a web-based Simchat Bat close to birth. Alternatively, those families who would prefer an in-person celebration can choose to delay until the Coronavirus restrictions are lifted. Because of so many unknowns, we are not able to schedule out such a naming at this point.


Our history is well-acquainted with different times and places when people were married quickly and when delay was avoided. Sometimes that was because the non-Jewish authorities would sometimes forbid our weddings and families often wanted to get in under the wire. Regardless of the reason, there are few moments more joyous than a Jewish wedding.

Barring further changes in state or federal law, those with weddings can either reschedule them or choose to have a small group of ten people, including clergy, present at your currently slated time. While the weddings I know of are still scheduled some time out, we at least want to acknowledge that no one knows when our AC (after Coronavirus) life will resemble our BC (before Coronavirus) life, and it’s good to consider options.

We will be updating our calendar with virtual options and cancellations. Please be patient and forgiving if the information on our calendar isn’t 100% accurate. Things are moving quickly and we are doing our best to update information in all the various ways we communicate. Click here for the calendar.

Foundation School

Foundation school is following guidance from the Governor of Oregon, the ELD, the CDC, and is also receiving guidance from our reopening task force and medical experts. We are open for summer camp for four weeks (July 13- Aug 7) in a limited capacity in order to meet and/or exceed all health and safety guidelines. We plan on opening in the fall for reduced hours (8:30-4) daily with a smaller capacity and with all health and safety measures in place. Please contact Director Leah Conley with questions.


Come find out about the robust and creative programs that ALIYAH (K-6th Grades) and Tichon (7th-12th grades) are offering this year!  Head over to the education pages of our website for more details, or contact Mel Berwin.

Adult Education

Most of our Adult Education programs, including Beginning Hebrew and Machon Ivrit  Modern Hebrew classes are being held as virtual meetings.  We will soon be updating our Lifelong Learning page with our offerings. You can also be in touch with Mel Berwin for more information.

If you feel a need for additional emotional / spiritual support and/or counsel, please do let our clergy know.

Rabbi David Kosak:
Rabbi Eve Posen:

I have an important reminder: I am here for you, the CNS community is here for you. I am always available to all of you and here ready to listen, lend support, and a virtual hug. Please be in touch with me: is the fastest way for me to respond. Please include your phone number as I don’t have access to our database at home.
The thought of not being able to see all of you and your children throughout this makes me feel very sad. So, we’re going to see each other virtually. How are we going to do that? Through our Tot Shabbats, 4th Fridays, and Flashlight Havdallah. Learn more at our Virtual Services webpage, or contact me to be included on our email list:

As we spend more time at home, some people will face additional struggles with issues that might normally be under control or well-managed. Please know that your clergy team is available to speak with you. Simultaneously, our training in many areas of need only goes so far. We want to ensure that you have some resources to help you navigate this trying time.


Dialing 211 has been a good switchboard for a wide range of social services. At this time, they are experiencing heavy call volume, and it is more difficult to reach a live person. To streamline that, here is there website with their database of resources. The first link is their home page, the second lists areas of resources


AA/Substance Abuse

Alcoholics Anonymous’s website is:

An online option for AA groups is:

For early morning AA folks, you can find 6am virtual meetings at:

Oregon SUD Resources Collaborative:


Domestic Violence

If you or someone you know needs help or just want to talk with someone, all of these sites below are available. Each offer chat and text options as well, which can be crucial if the abusive person is in the home and the survivor might be overheard, especially right now.

Call to Safety (formerly known as The Portland Woman’s Hotline), Local: 503.235.5333, Everywhere else: 1.888.235.5333

The National Domestic Violence Hotline, 1−800−799−7233

The Child Abuse Hotline, 1-800-422-4453

The Sexual Assault Hotline, 1-800-656-4673

Suicide Prevention Resource Center

SPRC has compiled a selection of web pages and information sheets on mental health and coping with the effects of COVID-19.
This link takes you there.

Other Resources?

If you are aware of on-line resources for substance abuse and feel comfortable, please forward those to Rabbi Kosak ( and he will make sure those get posted. We want to provide a wide range of resources to help our congregational family be our best selves during this period.

Interest-Free Loans Available via Jewish Free Loan Program of the Jewish Federation

In recognition of the sudden change of circumstances faced by many individuals and families in our community due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Jewish Free Loan Program of the Jewish Federation has expanded its offerings. Individuals who have been impacted by the COVID-19 virus and require a loan, may be eligible for an up to $1,000 no interest loan with no additional co-signers. The number of these types of loans is limited. Loan repayments will begin after 120 days and will be divided into equal payments of $28/month for 36 months. For more information, call 503-892-7417 or click here.

Portland Jewish Community COVID-19 Volunteer Match-Up
The Jewish Federation of Greater Portland has responded to the urgent need for mutual support and developed this community-wide resource to match volunteers with those in need of assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you need assistance — options range from telephone reassurance calls to seniors to picking up groceries, prescriptions, and other basic needs — they will triage your requests and help connect you with the proper resources.
If you are a healthy adult with low-risk factors for getting COVID-19, sign up today to be paired with an elder or immunocompromised member of our community who could use your assistance.
Click HERE for those who are requesting help AND for those wishing to volunteer.
Since this is a constantly developing situation, everything is subject to change. We understand that people’s daily lives will be evolving, so please be flexible as we work to help you. Questions? Email us at or call 503-245-6219.
Oregon Unemployment Insurance related to COVID-19
Click below to go to a resource page about what to do if you lose your employment in Oregon, even temporarily, due to COVID-19:


Comcast to provide free internet

Xfinity wifi will be free for everyone: Xfinity WiFi hotspots across the country will be available to anyone who needs them for free, including non-Xfinity internet subscribers. For a map of Xfinity wifi hotspots, visit Once at a hotspot, consumers should select the “xfinitywifi” network name in the list of available hotspots, and then launch a browser.


As appropriate, we will be updating our policy as new information comes to us. Facebook and email will be the best method for quick information. We will do our best to update this website as well. If you are not on our weekly email list, and would like to be, click here.


Most staff will be working remotely. There will be very limited staff on site. We will do our best to answer phone calls during this time, though we ask that you please be patient and forgiving with delays. The best way to reach staff is by email. Please click here for the full staff directory.

For more information

Fred Rothstein, Executive Director, 503.246.8831

Glen Coblens, President

Rabbi David Kosak

Rabbi Eve Posen

Michelle Caplan, Membership and Engagement Director, 503.293.7313

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