What is TischPDX?
TischPDX is an emerging Jewish leadership incubator.
We identify up and coming leaders in the Portland Jewish community who are primarily leading or innovating Jewish programs on the east side. We invite them to participate in our 16-month leadership development cohort program. Cohort members meet monthly on a Shabbat afternoon for a 4 hour session that includes Torah study, leadership training and relationship building. Cohort members also receive a stipend for their participation.
TischPDX provides financial support, mentorship and Torah that grounds these emerging local leaders in wisdom and roots them in the ancient so they can meaningfully explore the new and renewed.
TischPDX seeks out Jewish “start-ups” on Portland’s east side and offers Jewish learning and professional mentoring to help our community's emergent expressions of Judaism thrive.
In 2016, TischPDX founders Rabbi Ariel Stone, Kalyn Culler Cohen and Eleyna Fugman, all long time residents of the Portland’s east side, met to discuss the fact that much of the creative Jewish leadership being taken in their community took place outside the framework of the organized Jewish community. Without mentorship, resources and other forms of institutional support, they noticed that many of these creative upstarts can not sustain themselves.
To remedy this situation and bolster Jewish community building efforts on the east side, TischPDX launched its first cohort in August 2018, Elul 5779.
Individuals who have already demonstrated the commitment and ability to create and implement new and innovative secular or spiritual Jewish programs on Portland’s east side were invited to join the inaugural TischPDX Jewish Leaders Cohort in August 2018. You can read more about our cohort below.
our national work
Since launching TischPDX, the program has created ripple effects outside of the Portland area. After beginning the first TischPDX cohort, Rabbi Ariel Stone was invited to serve as a Rabbinic mentor of the Clergy Leadership Incubator based in New York City.
In 2020, TischPDX was invited to join Upstart’s 2020 National Entrepreneurial Sprint Cohort. Read more about it here.
In 2019, TischPDX was invited to attend the Kenissa Network Annual Gathering. Kenissa is a national Jewish organization led by Rabbi Sid Schwarz that connects individuals from around the US who are leading contemporary efforts to re-imagine Jewish life and community. TischPDX was asked to present at the conference.
Co-founder Eleyna Fugman has also been invited to join The Conversation: Jewish in America, sponsored by the Jewish Week. This national gathering brings together 55 American Jews yearly who are leaders or potential leaders in their respective fields to talk about the future of Jewish life in this country and what it means to be Jewish in the 21st century.
Our Leadership team
TischPDX’s fiscal sponsor is Jumpstart Labs. Jumpstart’s unique combination of original research, crafted convenings, strategic thinking, and direct support enables creative change makers to realize their own visions and advance the common good.
Rabbi Ariel Stone, Co-Founder & Spiritual Leadership
Rabbi Ariel Stone (she/they) has been the spiritual leader of Congregation Shir Tikvah for almost two decades. A caring and vibrant leader, she is an exceptionally knowledgeable teacher of Torah and a recognized scholar of Jewish mysticism.
A native of Orlando Florida, Rabbi Stone studied at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Jerusalem and New York (1986-1991). While there she was a CLAL Rabbinical Fellow, taught first year Hebrew, and helped to establish the HUC-JIR student-run soup kitchen. After two years at Temple Beth Israel in Miami Florida, in 1993 she accepted the invitation of the World Union for Progressive Judaism to teach and organize in Ukraine. She guided Congregation HaTikvah of Kiev and assisted in the establishment of progressive congregations throughout Ukraine that continue to flourish today. Between1996-2001, she was associate rabbi at Congregation Beth Israel in Portland. In 2001 she was awarded a two-year fellowship at the Mandel School for Educational and Social Leadership. From 2003 to the present, she has served as the independent Portland east side Congregation Shir Tikvah’s Rabbi. She found the Reform movement to no longer be a good fit, and considers herself post-denominational. In 2010, she completed her doctorate at the (non-denominational) Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies under the direction of Dr. Byron Sherwin.
Rabbi Stone served as Oregon Board of Rabbi’s President from 2007-2009 and 2015-2017. In that capacity she co-founded Oregon’s Jewish indigent burial society Hesed Shel Emet, contributed to the recreation of the Portland Jewish Free Loan, helped to lead the creation of Portland’s new community mikveh Rachel’s Well, and led in the creation and filling of a new position of Portland Jewish Community Chaplain. In 2017 she became the convener of the Portland Interfaith Clergy Resistance, which focuses upon supporting efforts for police reform in the city of Portland and seeks to bear moral witness in the streets during protests. In 2018 she led the creation of an innovative outreach to unaffiliated Jews called TischPDX. She has served as adjunct faculty at Portland State University and Willamette University of Salem, Oregon. In 2018 she was honored to be the recipient of the City of Portland Human Rights Commission’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
Eleyna Fugman, Co-Founder and Executive Director
Eleyna Fugman (she/her) is a Jewish community organizer in Portland, OR. Before launching TischPDX, Eleyna worked extensively with Jewish young adults. From 2016-2019, she served as the Membership, Engagement and Outreach Coordinator at Congregation Shaarie Torah. There, she worked to create Jewish programming for young adults and young families. Over the past 12 years, Eleyna has also served as lay leader and community organizer for several small Jewish “pop-up” groups and organizations in Portland, OR, including The Alberta Shul, SURJ Jews, Rosh Hashana in the Woods, and The Shemas Shabbat group.
Eleyna’s work centers around creating spaces where Jewish people can feel a vibrant connection to their history, culture, spirituality and memory as Jews. She is committed to grassroots organizing: bringing all voices to the table and taking time to slowly and intentionally build organizations. She also believes that recognizing systems of oppression in our work is essential to our effectiveness and sustainability as community builders.
Derekh Travers, Co-directrix + Rogue Agent
Derekh (she/him) enjoys flexing facilitator skills for various efforts, including trans liberation, Jewish gatherings, queer sexual wholeness, and racial and gender justice. Gardening and eating sustain him, alongside bicycling everywhere, reading voraciously, raising whole and rowdy kids, and time with beloveds. Derekh is grateful to ancestors and family – blood and chosen, living and passed on – for connection and survival and a possibility of thriving. She loves living in this beautiful landscape, the unceded traditional homelands of Chinook, Multnomah, Kathlamet, Clackamas, Tualatin and related tribes, and has called Portland ‘home’ since grade school.
Kalyn Culler Cohen
Co-Founder and Board Chair
Kalyn (she/her) is nationally known for her work on the start-up and growth of social-purpose businesses focused on creating quality jobs in low-wage sectors including health care, childcare, landscaping and eco-cleaning. She also assists nonprofits with increasing leadership capacity, fund development and disseminating effective programs.
Kalyn holds a doctorate in Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and has been adjunct faculty at Bainbridge Graduate Institute, where she has taught courses on Business and Social Justice. As a member of Congregation Shir Tikvah’s leadership, she was part of a small team leading its growth effort, which resulted in a 45% increase in the congregation’s membership.
Artist in Residence
Shoshana Gugenheim (she/her) is an artist, Torah scribe, essayist, and educator crossing disciplines to bring diverse groups of people together in intimate and unexpected ways. A social agitator, immersed in Jewish tradition and ritual, inspired by craft and beauty, her studio and collaborative works invite participants into borderlands. She is among the first of contemporary Jewish women to work as a traditional Torah scribe and is the founding director of Women of the Book which premiered at the Jerusalem Biennale 2015. Shoshana’s diverse works address the place of women in traditional Jewish practice, contemplations and conversations on death and dying and other loss, ethical parchment making and place-based knowledge. Shoshana spent 20 years living in Israel where she worked with Jewish and Arab communities to bridge communication and create dialogue through art making. Today she resides with her family in Portland, OR where she is an MFA candidate in Contemporary Art Practice at Portland State University.
Shoshana’s work has been supported by Targum Shlishi, The Hadassah Brandeis Institute, The Eugene and Estelle Ferkauf Foundation, The Eicholz Foundation, The Simon Benson Foundation and many other private donors and institutions.
Artist, Educator, Mentor
David Shratter (he/him) has worked as a professional artist for the past 38 years. His work is about creating intimacy with the world around through direct observation. His oil paintings and pen and ink drawings include still life, interiors, streetscapes, portraits and figure drawings. Alongside his artistic life, he has worked as a librarian at Lewis & Clark College for 27 years. During those years, he served as a supervisor and mentor to many students, and is delighted to be in that role again with TischPDX cohort members.
He is a devoted student of Torah which has given him a lens through which he can look at and question life’s meaning.
Organizer Cascadia Shabbat, Legal Advisor
Katherine Wolff (they/them) is a dedicated parent to their children (six, ranging in age from 2 to 23) and a believer in the power of small organizations run by passionate people. They are a co-founder of Shalom Cascadia Jewish Minyan, Sukkat Shalom Spiritual Retreat, Springville Farms, Move School, Gan Shalom Preschool, the Community Law Project, and the Village Free School, as well as an advisory committee member at TischPDX. Katherine has been active in the Reed College Alumni Association and is a past President of Tryon Life Community Farm. To help keep it all balanced, Katherine is a dedicated yoga student, avid bread-baker, and sometime-observer of Shabbat.