With seeds planted over the last four years, a Jewish community blossoms in the Tigard area. With a diverse range of programming for all ages, the Tigard Chabad Jewish Center gathered with over 30 women to launch Tigard’s Jewish Women’s Circle.
For many, this was their first time meeting other local Jewish women. Co-director of Tigard Chabad Jewish Center, Chaya Orenstein, founder of the Jewish Women’s Circle (JWC), explained the impetus for the event. “We opened Chabad in Tigard in 2019 and immediately began meeting Jews in the area. It surprised many to learn there were other Jews in Tigard. Over the last two years, it has been challenging to gather as a community. But we continued meeting people, holding outdoor events, and building connections. Now, thank G-d, we can gather in person, and I knew we needed a space to nurture the women of our community. I’m really excited to create opportunities for women to come together, connect, learn, and encourage their creativity and spirituality.”
The response to the launch of JWC was beyond Orenstein’s expectations. “I was hoping for a group of 15 or 20 women, but when I saw the RSVPs, I realized how needed this was.” Orenstein shared. From the over 30 women gathered, the response was enthusiastic. “It’s so nice to get together!” Sue enthused.
The event took place at the beautiful U&I Cafe on Wednesday, July 20th. This event-style cafe’s mission is to provide a meeting space and a platform for cultural dialogue, professional innovation, and artistic expression, perfectly aligned with the JWC event. Participants enjoyed a buffet of delicious, fully Kosher salads. They created their own custom fused glass mezuzah cover designed by glass artist Ilanit Shalev. Laughter and conversation filled the room as women crafted, connected, and enjoyed a fabulous evening out with friends, family, and strangers who became friends by the evening’s end.
For some, this was their first experience like this. “This is my first event at Chabad, and I had such a great time!” enthused Caren Masem. For others, Judaism was previously something experienced only in the structure and formality of services in synagogue, often with the solemnity of the High Holidays. “It was lovely being able to connect with other local women in this way, and my granddaughter Maddie really enjoyed the evening”, Linda Franklin explained why she enjoys the various events at Chabad.
Tigard Jewish Women’s Circle is a space for all Jewish women, regardless of age, affiliation, or level of knowledge, to come together and create, learn, and connect. “This is just the beginning of the JWC,” Chaya Orenstein shared. “We have an impressive lineup of events planned for the year ahead.”
Tigard Jewish Women’s Circle will host various gatherings and events throughout the year, kicking off with a Challah bake in September and a book club in October.