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November 5, 2009

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November 5, 2009

I was working on an essay about minorities in Oregon and called Oregon Jewish Museum. The curator and one of the interns helped me find exactly what I needed both within and outside the museum. I can't thank them enough.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

The people are so helpful

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

More feedback...

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Helpful, friendly, knowledgable

Ways to make it better...

I had planned better and could have spent more time with them.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

More space to spread out when doing research.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2007

October 31, 2009

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October 31, 2009

In 1966 I joined the faculty of Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon - quite a transition for one born, raised, educated, and employed on the east coast. I retired at age 65, following a 5-year reduced load phase out. My family and I affiliated with the Portland Jewish community immediately after arriving in Oregon, and have participated in many Jewish events over the years. Driving time from our home to Congregation Neveh Shalom, our present affiliation, is 45-60 minutes, depending on traffic, which has somewhat limited our involvement. During my retirement phase-out I had more free time and began to do more volunteer work in Portland. Rabbi emeritus Joshua Stampfer of Congregation Neveh Shalom , provided leadership in creating the Oregon Holocaust Resource Center (OHRC), the Institute of Judaic Studies, and the Oregon Jewish Museum (OJM). We joined all three organizations as they were established and have maintained our membership through the years. I donated a desktop computer, which I had built and used in my teaching and research, to OHRC in response to an appeal in their newsletter. Then I began to volunteer there on a weekly basis, initially to set up the computer and install software. Next I became involved with their ongoing Oral History project, making duplicates of their collection of audio and video cassette tapes, then transcribing them. Following retirement and the relocation of OHRC to Pacific University, I was able to volunteer on a daily basis and expand my activities. Before long, I created and managed the OHRC website, edited and published 2 quarterly newsletters, and created and maintained membership and mailing list databases. I continued this full-time volunteering for another 3 years, but following a change in Board of Trustees membership, appointment of a new Executive Director, and a shift of priorities, I was no longer comfortable with working conditions and ended my stint at OHRC. In a few months an ad appeared in Art and Artifacts, newsletter of the Oregon Jewish Museum, seeking a volunteer to assume management of the Museum's website (www.ojm.org). The timing was perfect: I applied, was accepted, and served as webmaster for over 10 years. I received instructions from the Museum Director, from the Curator, and from the Office Manager for updates and changes to the website. Given limitations of time and resources (from its inception the Museum has been seriously underfunded), I was limited to one afternoon per week. The Museum lacked suitable computer hardware and software, I carried my instructions home and did the webmastering there, often working well past midnight. In time I began receiving my instructions more and more via email and doing all the work at home. One of the Museum's deficiencies was a working flatbed scanner. Having had some experience with such a tool, I could recommend to the Director a specific make and model that would serve our needs, and she was able to find a donor to purchase that very tool. I was able to "show the ropes" about using the scanner to the three ladies who formed the permanent staff, all of whom quickly learned and became expert. This has proved a godsend to the Museum, which takes pride in its vast photographic archive, which documents the Jewish experience in Oregon from earliest times to the present. With the new scanner, and a great deal of time, this entire archive has been scanned and digitial images stored to hard drive. Over the years I used many of these digital images on our website. By a stroke of luck, the Curator's father is a professional photographer. When he visits his daughter in Portland (from Chicago) he brings along his bag of cameras, lenses, and lights, He generously donates his time to photographing all the items in the Museum's collection. So our photographic collection now includes digital images of all objects in the archive. During my tenure as webmaster, I uploaded the entire collection of archive images to the website. Another ongoing OJM activity in which I play a significant role is an oral history project. Beginning in the early 1970's and extending into the early 1980's, long before the birth of OJM, some perspicacious Jewish women began recording, on audio cassettes, personal memories of elderly Jewish Oregonians. An effort was made to have these tapes transcribed and safeguarded. After OJM was created these old tapes and transcriptions came into its possession, and the oral history project was resumed. Many of the old tapes showed signs of neglect and appeared fragile. I learned of this oral history project when I began at OJM, and how anxious the director was to duplicate as many of these old tapes as possible and to preserve them in a carefully controlled enviornment. When the Director approached me about doing the duplicating, I researched the matter and became convinced that since newly minted cassette tapes deteriorate with each playing and have a limited shelf life, even if unused, a better approach would be to digitize the recordings, do some sound editing, and then burn them to CD's. I was able to pursuade the Director and I obtained (out of pocket) a dubbing audio cassette player, and on eBay (also out of pocket) 200 Kodak gold and silver recordable blank CD's (with a projected shelf life of more than 100 years). During my volunteer days at the Museum, I carefully duplicated old tapes. At the end of my shift I took the duplicate tapes home with me. At home I played the cassettes with my home stereo player coupling the line out jack to the audio in jack of my desktop computer, and digitizing and recording the audio using the open source sound recorder/editor, Audacity. I used Audacity to improve sound quality, then saved the edited file in .WAV format to my hard drive. Next I used the Nero Burning ROM suite to burn the file(s) to the Kodak CD's. On my next trip to the Museum I returned the duplicate cassette tapes and delivered the CD's of the interviews. This first phase of the oral history project generated nearly 200 CD's. I am now involved with phase 2, having learned much about sound recording and editing, and about burning CD's. The current phase involves use of inkjet recordable CD's and my home Epson direct CD printer. Within the past year the Director found the resources to obtain a couple of digital voice recorders, which the Curator and I have been promoting for several years. Now our interviewers can generate high quality digital audio on the recorder's memory, which I can then download onto my computer hard drive, edit, and burn to CD, avoiding the need to make cassette duplicate tapes and try to record from them. I have already made nearly 200 more CD's from this second phase, and there are many more subjects to be interviewed.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

learning much more about the Jewish experiences, good and bad, in Oregon, and I have enjoyed and profited from the numerous exhibits, both traveling and locally produced, about Judaism, art, and poetry.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Find it a larger home, better equipped with computer hardware and software, private offices for professional staff, and I would provide funding adequate to its personnel and missions.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

meeting and interacting with the professional staff, and learning more about Jewish values and culture.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

courteous, intelligent, well-trained, helpful, seeking to learn and teach. Not least, with a good sense of humor.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Provide its professional staff with compensation commensurate with their expertise, skills, and dedication; relocate to spacious new quarters with adequate work and exhibit space; increase its budget for tools, library holdings, and more staff positions.

Ways to make it better...

the Museum had a larger budget to upgrade its computer hardware and software, to acquire digital voice recorders, and inkjet direct CD printers; and if the Museum had much more space in the work and exhibit areas

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

money and time

One thing I'd also say is that...

OJM does not get the appreciation, publicity, or community support it has earned and deserves.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 31, 2009

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October 31, 2009

I brought my class to an exhibit at Oregon Jewish Museum. It was a super way to get my kids engaged in the issue of tolerance and to examine the Oregon's history of diversity and intolerance. The conversations extended for days after our visit, thanks to the great presentation by the director, Judy Margles, and the thorough exhibit. It was presented in an attractive, accessible manner that the kids could understand and appreciate - and I could too!

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

seeing what a great effect the exhibits have had on the kids in my class.

More feedback...

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

knowledgeable and helpful, eager to answer any and all questions.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 31, 2009

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October 31, 2009

When I was doing research on Portland history in the early 1900s, Oregon Jewish Museum provided me with many excellent first-hand accounts and photos - they really rounded out my knowledge of the period.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the knowledge and helpfulness of the staff, Judith Margles and Anne prahl, as well as the treasure trove of interviews, documents and photos available in the archives.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

move to a better location.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

all the great stuff they have! Plus the generosity of the staff in providing help and support in my research.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

helpful and knowledgeable. I even got to meet some volunteers who told me stories about the period I was researching.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

acquire a better location.

Ways to make it better...

the museum had a bigger spae.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

location!

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 31, 2009

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October 31, 2009

I cannot say enough about the Oregon Jewish Museum. I first became involved with OJM as a volunteer when I was in college, helping to catalog and prepare archival material, and doing research for exhibits. The wealth of primary resources, in the form of interview transcripts, ephemera, primary documents and artifacts makes OJM an invaluable resource for anyone doing research on Jewish life in the Pacific Northwest. Exhibits at OJM are consistently thoughtful, as well as well presented and well-researched. Their presence is especially important in the relatively young town of Portland, with its youthful population and rapid development. Alas, my present schedule prevents me from volunteering at OJM, but I continue to benefit from the excellent exhibits and from their fine work with the schools in the Portland metro area.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

discovering the Jewish past of Oregon and the Pacific Northwest

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

give it 10 million bucks (if I had it!)

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the many things I've learned about the Jewish community of Portland.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

friendly, excited to share, talented and each had their own field of expertise which they were willing to share.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

buy a bigger, climate controlled space that would serve as outreach to all kinds of people, helping them and encouraging them to discover the lessons - and riches - of the past.

Ways to make it better...

OJM had 10 million bucks - with that bigger space!

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

budgetary. They could really use a bigger, better space.

One thing I'd also say is that...

I'm a great fan of OJM - the director and curator have been working tirelessly at their mission for years, and doing a really fabulous job!

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 30, 2009

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October 30, 2009

I am a new member of the Board of Directors. In my short time on the board, I am very impressed with all aspects of the museum. The entire staff is very dedicated and has great vision as to what the museum is and can be to the community. They are currently in the process of moving locations and all programs, events and exhibits have been carefully planned to provide the best space for the museum. They are continually working on new programs to involve and benefit the community. The board is also very involved and enthusiastic about every aspect of the museum - from fundraising, exhibits and communtiy outreach. All in all, I am happy to be involved and look forward to my future experiences with Oregon Jewish Museum.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Exhibits and events.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

n/a

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Working wtih the staff and board.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Professional, smart, enthusiastic, good planners.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Provide an enormous amount of community outreach and programming! It would be wonderful!

Ways to make it better...

n/a

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

n/a

One thing I'd also say is that...

n/a

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 30, 2009

more

October 30, 2009

The Oregon Jewish Museum is exceptional in everyway: innovative programming and community events, thought provoking exhibitions, dedicated resource to the greater Northwest, and unsurpassed staff. I had the privilege of interning with OJM a few years ago, and I saw the great lengths that the staff and board members go to make this institution accessible, relevant, and inviting. The evidence of this is their brand new building that they will be moving into this winter. I cannot say enough good things about OJM, their board, staff, volunteers, and the work that they produce. Any community would be lucky to have an institution like the Oregon Jewish Museum.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

...the relationships that I have made there, the work that I helped to produce, and the amount that I learned.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Absolutely amazing! Every single person there, paid or volunteer, was dedicated and devoted to making this organization the amazing institution that it is.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2007

October 30, 2009

more

October 30, 2009

I am a new resident in the Portland area and am not familiar with local Jewish history. My volunteer experience in the archive department has been extremely informative and interesting. I work in a very amiable atmosphere which certainly has a bearing on my continuing involvement in the museum for many years to come.

More feedback...

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Buy the building in our soon to be location!

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 30, 2009

more

October 30, 2009

This organization produces creative and stimulating exhibitions on a shoestring budget. I know the staff to be talented and dedicated and I've always enjoyed working with them.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

working on various exhibit projects. Over the years that I have been involved, I'm continually impressed by the range of community based exhibits produced by OJM.

More feedback...

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

knowledgeable, creative and talented.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2000

October 29, 2009

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October 29, 2009

The Oregon Jewish Museum, with its exhibits and archives, has enabled me, and others like me, to connect with the lives, experiences, struggles and contributions to the greater society of Jews during the last 150 years, not in some far off places but right here in our own state. Much of the material the Museum has gathered and displayed was previously unknown to most of us. It has provided me, my family, and other families, among them non-Jews, with a greater understading of "our" role in Oregon's history.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Its exhibits displaying aspects of Jewish life in Oregon that were either unknown to me and/or in which my forbearers played a tangential role. It is "real" history education.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Own or lease premises substantially larger than the cramped space it presently occupies. Besides making its full array of artifacts and documents available to the public, it would be able to reach out to the growing Jewish communities outside Portland.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

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