Despite the incessant rain, Portland, the City of Roses, is one of America’s most charming cities. The city is home to weekend markets and microbreweries, a great science center and zoo (part of Washington Park, which also includes the city’s Holocaust memorial), funky neighborhoods like Hawthorne, Multnomah Village and the Pearl District.
Portland, the setting for the highly acclaimed sketch comedy show “Portlandia,” is also home to an active and fast growing Jewish community that includes 17 congregations, a bustling JCC, a Holocaust center and Jewish museum, a variety of Jewish educational institutions, and Everything Jewish, the Pacific Northwest’s only standalone Judaica store. But Everything Jewish is much more than just a Judaica store.
Located on SW Capitol Highway in the heart of Portland’s Jewish community, across the street from the Mittleman Jewish Community Center, and next to Jewish Federation of Greater Portland’s offices and Beit Yosef, one of the city’s two Sephardic congregations, Everything Jewish is a Chabad-run store that offers an incredible array of not only Judaica like kippot, candles, challah and Shabbat covers, menorahs, books and music, but unique locally made products like kosher granola bars and Portland Trailblazer winter hats (which feature the team’s name inscribed in Hebrew).
In addition, the store has a wide selection of kosher food that includes gefilte fish and kosher grape juice, mouth-watering kosher goodies and snacks, and well-stocked refrigerators with kosher dairy products (like cheese and yogurt) and kosher meats. With Passover just around the corner, you will find plenty of kosher-for-Pesach items as well. And this being Oregon, all of the products are of course tax free.
According to Chayim Mishulovin, the Los Angeles-born rabbi who manages Everything Jewish, Chabad of Portland opened the store seven years ago to complement its efforts to make Judaism easily accessible to Jews of all backgrounds and to help them to connect with their roots. By creating a welcoming environment in the store, Mishulovin hopes to attract Jews who might not connect with their Judaism in any other way.
“Everything Jewish,” he said, “is more than just a Judaica store — it is a resource for anyone who wants to learn more about Judaism.”
Everything Jewish ships products all over the world and attracts Jews (most of whom are not affiliated with Chabad) from as close as Washington State and as far away as Montana, Idaho, Alaska, British Columbia and even Alberta. The store acts as a low-key meeting place that even has a “prayer corner” for those who feel inspired to use it.
I met a mish-mash of Jews while visiting the store late last year. There was the couple from Coos Bay, on the Oregon coast, looking for menorahs and candles, a woman who recently emigrated to Portland from Poland who was trying to connect with her Jewish roots (and came to the store in search of challah covers), a former Oregon Public Broadcating reporter who has since become an artist, and a local doctor who spontaneously decided to put on tefillin in the prayer corner.
Linda Binder, one half of the Coos Bay couple, said Everything Jewish is one of their most important stops when they come to Portland to visit their grandchildren. Not only did she and her husband stock up on Judaica while they visited the store, but Mishulovin also answered their questions relating to Jewish traditions and customs. Binder, who came to Oregon from the East Coast, belongs to a Havurah in Coos Bay but sees the store as a way of keeping connected with her Judaism.
As for me, I left the store with a delicious and nutritious made-in-Oregon granola bar, a beautiful kippah, and some great spiritual advice from Mishulovin. Everything Jewish, I had happily discovered, provides one stop shopping for the Jewish body, mind and soul.
For more information about the store, visit www.EverythingJewish.biz or contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org or 503-246-5437. For information about Jewish Portland, visit www.shalomoregon.com, and for info about traveling in and to Portland, visit www.travelportland.com, www.boltbus.com and www.amtrak.com.