Portland, ME Manifesto with Ted Fleischaker

Today’s special episode is hosted by Gideon the Free-quent Flyer.

[Cold open] Harraseeket Inn holiday buffets: https://www.harraseeketinn.com/dine-1

Hello, and welcome to The Manifesto with Gideon, the Free-quent Flyer, on the Milenomics Podcast Network. I’m Gideon, the Free-quent Flyer, and I’m joined today by Ted Fleischaker, board member of Portland, Maine’s Etz Chaim Synagogue and publisher of the Up Portland newspaper. Ted, welcome to the Manifesto.

[0:20] Plugs

[1:30] Jewish Community in Maine

  • Etz Chaim: India and Congress ST, Portland, ME.
  • Services, Torah Study, Museum.
  • Fire during COVID
    • What kind of renovations were required? Discovered original (1921) wiring.
    • How was the community served while the synagogue was closed?
  • History of the building
    • Location of a boarding house for Irish and Italian immigrants that burned down in the fire of 1866
  • History of the Jewish community in Maine
    • Nearby 1904 Synagogue split in 1920’s over whether to use Yiddish or English during services.
    • English speakers spent $50k remodeling present Etz Chaim building.
    • Mid-1970’s, only 15 members left in congregation. Sell the building, hang on, or merge with another congregation?
    • Museum foundation took over the building, congregation rents sanctuary back for services
    • Etz Chaim changes from orthodox to egalitarian. 3 services per week: Monday Orthodox minyan, Friday night reform service, Saturday morning Orthodox service.
  • What do Jewish traditions look like today in Portland: how can people find seders, sukkahs, etc if they’re in Portland or Maine for the Holidays?
    • Four working synagogues in Portland: Chabad House, Bet Ha’am, Temple Beth El, Etz Chaim
    • Surrounding areas: Lewiston, Old Orchard Beach, Biddeford-Saco, Bath
    • Center for Small Town Jewish Life: https://jewishlife.colby.edu/

[20:10] Publishing a local newspaper

  • Washington Post Magazine on local journalism: https://www.washingtonpost.com/magazine/interactive/2021/local-news-deserts-expanding/
  • How does Maine support so many local newspapers?
    • Up Portland
    • Island papers
    • Lobster boat papers
  • What goes into publishing a daily/weekly/monthly paper? How many printers remain, do papers get shipped in from out of town, USPS, “paper boxes” on the streets? What does it take to manage a dead-tree media distribution company these days?

[36:40] Visiting Portland/Visiting Maine

[41:54] Quar Question of the Week

  • For folks who are thinking of taking a socially-distanced winter getaway in Maine this New Years, what’s your go-to romantic nook in the state?

Thanks again to Ted Fleischaker for joining me today. You’ve been listening to The Manifesto with Gideon, the Free-quent Flyer, on the Milenomics Podcast Network. Goodbye, and good luck.

About the author

- Written by Sam Simon. All ideas are my own, but I encourage you to see my point of view and I promise I'll try to do the same. Connect with me on Twitter @Milenomics.

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