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In Memorium: Emily Gottfried: bridgebuilder and interfaith leader

     With great sadness we have learned of the death yesterday of Emily Gottfried, Executive Director of the Oregon American Jewish Committee.  

     Emily was one of the world's relentlessly positive, engaged, warm spirited and thoughtful people.  Her presence in the circles of interfaith activism and dialogue stamped the Portland and Washington County interfaith world with a positive focus and deep friendliness. 

     She was deeply and joyously rooted in her Jewish faith.  She was as pragmatic as she was optimistic.  When things didn't go her way, she didn't allow a disappointment to slow her down.  She was a loyal friend to many and always honored the human dimension of professional relationships.

     When our congregation began hosting both the Interfaith Thanksgiving Worship Service and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Interfaith Celebration, Emily was always present to help plan, lead and widen the involvement by including new faces and communities.  When invited to participate in an interfaith event, Emily simply never said no.

     One of the things I remember coming several times from Emily's lips was a sentiment expressed in a Jewish saying which she enjoyed quoting.  I may not have this exactly correct in its original form, but this is what I remember:

     In our labors for justice, we are not required to finish the work ourselves but neither are we allowed to cease working toward the purposes we hold.

    Thank you, Emily, for all you have taught me.

     Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord, for they rest from their labors and their works do follow them.

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