Blog Stories The Sunnyside Mezuzahs

The Sunnyside Mezuzahs

By Alyssa Isenstein Krueger, March 19, 2018

Congratulations to my buyers Judy, Nelson and Bridgett on their purchase of a swanky condo in Sunnyside! Judy is currently in California finishing up a work contract, so unfortunately she was not able to make it to the closing. So as to not be left out of the getting house keys for the first time photo, Judy is represented by the duck and can be seen here on the phone screen.

After decades living in California, the trio recently made the move up to Portland to live the good life and be closer to their daughter and grandchildren- who just happen to be dear friends and neighbors of  my family. When they moved to Portland last summer, they settled into a rental in the Sunnyside neighborhood. Back in California, they lived far from anything worth walking to, and when they landed in the Sunnyside neighborhood, the oyster revealed her pearl. Laurelhurst Park, bars, restaurants, coffee shops, grocery stores and funky shops- all within an easy walking distance. Once their house in California finally sold, we began the house search in earnest with the goal of finding a detached home with early 20th century charm. After looking at houses that were not quite right- too depressing, too small, too expensive, not close enough to the action, a townhouse style condo came on the market in the heart of the Sunnyside neighborhood. While a modern condo wasn’t what they originally pictured themselves in, the location was so ideal that we went to see it within a few hours of it being listed. Once inside, it was love at first sight. The space, layout, kitchen set up and bedroom/bathroom count were perfect and having fallen in love with Sunnyside, the location outweighed their desire for a detached home. We wrote the full price offer up that evening and thankfully no other offers came in so it was an easy choice for the sellers.

As a sign (actually three signs) that it was meant to be, each door to the exterior has a mezuzah hanging on the doorpost. For those who don’t know what a mezuzah is, it’s a small container containing a scroll in Hebrew affixed to the doorpost that symbolizes the home is a Jewish household. When one moves from a home, it is customary to leave the mezuzah in place in case the next occupants are also Jewish. Judy and Nelson are Jewish, while Bridgett goes along for the ride, and seeing the mezuzahs confirmed to them that this home was theirs. Of course the sellers would have no way of knowing if the buyers of their home would be Jewish, but I always trust that when it comes to finding the right house, it mysteriously almost always works out the way it was supposed to, and little signs like the mezuzahs for my Jewish buyers always reassure me that in fact, my buyers have made the perfect choice.

Alyssa Isenstein Krueger



I am living the dream. Working as a real estate broker in my home town brings this native Portland gal joy beyond measure. I took the round-about-road towards this career. After graduating from Sarah Lawrence College in NY two decades ago with a degree in liberal arts/creative writing, I returned to my hometown of PDX and got a job in a legendary record store of days gone by, worked as a music and culture writer for Portland’s oldest weekly publication while pursuing a graduate degree in Urban and Regional Planning at Portland State University. Armed with my masters degree, I moved into the realm of affordable housing, community development, and urban planning, and then rounded the corner with a long stay in arts management then back around the bend when I got my real estate license and went to work for a non-profit housing builder at the cusp of the market crash in 2007. In the time between that market crash and the ensuing madness, I’ve stayed on top of the market like a dog guarding a bone. Using a magical combination of experience, instinct, and market data, I know what homes are worth, I know how to write a terrific offer, and I know how to help a seller market a home and receive and accept a great offer. Mutual trust and tender relationship building is the basis and foundation of my real estate practice. I use my skills as an active listener, creative solution finder and ace negotiator to get my clients the best price on a home, win the multiple offer roulette, and have as smooth and easy transaction as possible. Timely and responsive communication is the most important aspect of building trust and I don’t take that part lightly.  I am a stickler for details and nothing pleases me more than guiding a client through the home buying or selling process (and sometimes both at the same time). My role is one of advocate, advisor, partner, transaction organizer, and counselor. I am a partner broker with Portland Housing Center and relish the opportunity to work with eager first time home buyers. I have a knack for seeing the potential in almost any home and love to help clients see past what is and help them envision what can be. I have a decade of first-hand experience renovating and caressing my bungalow in Ladd’s Addition and had the honor of having my own home featured in a story in the Oregonian’s Homes and Gardens section. I can feel the love for any and almost all homes, but my heart goes all aflutter when entering a museum quality time capsule house -- the solid mid-century ones with the original pink or green tiled bathrooms, those charming early 1900’s farmhouses with the original kitchen cabinets and fir countertops, the cozy bungalows with the built-ins still intact. When I’m not working with clients, you’ll find me hanging with my two boys, Kalman and Saul, and my husband Robert, a Fine Art Conservator with his own business, Cascadia Art Conservation Center.  Retired racing greyhounds have been my constant companions since 1997, and our family includes Peanut the greyhound, Pinto the South Korean Italian greyhound, and our chickens, Rosie, Lola, Squishy, Duck and Prince. I am an obsessive gardener/plant fiend and love that we live in a climate where I can grow eucalyptus trees (I have 5 in my yard including a couple I started from seed) alongside blueberry bushes (6 in my yard). Given some free time, you’ll find me junking at an estate sale, dreaming of high brow junk, low brow art, making things, sewing, reading and dreaming of tropical locales.
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