OREGON JEWISH MUSEUM INC

Rating: 5 stars   32 reviews

Issues: Arts & Culture

Location: 310 NW Davis St Moving December 2009 to 1953 NW Kearney St, Portland OR 97209 USA

Mission: The Oregon Jewish Museum is the Pacific Northwest’s only Jewish museum, located in the region’s second largest metropolitan area. The Oregon Jewish Museum’s mission is dedicated to the preservation, research and exhibition of art, archival materials and artifacts of the Jewish people. It is the repository for archival documents, artifacts, and photographs concerning the history of the Jews in Oregon and endeavors to discover and collect all materials that may help to illuminate this history. Furthering its mission, the Museum brings innovative exhibitions about the history, culture and art of the Jewish people to this region—cultural enrichments that would be totally absent without its efforts. We aim to provide educational opportunities to a broad range of audiences, from youth to senior citizens, and those from all backgrounds.
2009 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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EIN 94-3113745
503.226.3600
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

This wonderful organization has always done remarkable work on a small budget because of the strength of passionate, hard-working volunteers and passionate, highly competent staff. I have volunteered in many capacities -on committees, on the board, on the executive board as President - and enjoyed working with this organization because of the obvious dedication and hard work of volunteers and staff. Everyone involved, and there are A LOT of us, seems clear about the mission of the organization: preserving and presenting the history of the Jews in Oregon to our own community and to the wider community. The organization brilliantly combines exhibit presentation with archival preservation. I feel great pride and satisfaction from my involvement with this young (21 years old), vibrant, growing, gem of an organization.

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

working with a large group of dedicated individuals.

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

highly competent and always, always amazingly hard working.

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

hire more staff, strengthen an endowment fund, save for the purchase of permanent home, and continue to preserve the memories and history of an important ethnic community, and to present that history in a way that engages and educates the entire community

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-10-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

In September of 2008 I was named the Sara Glasgow Cogan Scholarship recipient and began an internship with the Oregon Jewish Museum. Through my internship I have been given the opportunity to grow and tackle new challenges. My major task has been to research and assist in the development of an upcoming exhibit on Jewish professionals. My internship ended in January but I continue with the museum on a volunteer basis. I have been working with OJM for a little over a year now and what keeps me coming back is every day I learn something new. As a non native Portlander OJM has been an invaluble resource for me in getting to know about, not only the Portland Jewish community but about Portland itself. It is, in no small part, through the comittment and dedication of the director, the entire staff and fellow volunteers of OJM that this is possible.

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

my continued work with staff and in the achives.

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

Learning about my community and working with staff.

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

Dedicated and friendly.

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

Buy a building and grow, grow, grow.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-10-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

The OJM fulfills an essential role in the local Jewish community by acquiring and exhibiting material related to the Jewish experience in Oregon over the last 150 years and by providing a venue to discuss contemporary local and national issues. When it moves to larger quarters in a few months, these activities will only increase and expand. As a new-to-Portland volunteer working with the archives and interviewing interesting natives, I have become immersed in the community's history and its people, much to my enjoyment and enlightenment. The OJM is a wonderful place run by a dedicated staff and engaging interns and volunteers. It can only get better in its new space.

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

become a major player in the world of US Jewish museums with its own building and enlarged collections and more important exhibits. Even today it is the primary Jewish historical resource for the Northwest.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-10-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

I am pleased to share my experience with OJM over the past many years and highly recommend it. OJM plays a unique and important role in the Portland/Oregon Jewish and non-Jewish communities. It serves those who are looking to understand the Jewish experience, both locally and nationally; to experience an art museum show in an intimate setting; and to use valuable research resources. Those who work and volunteer at OJM bring a high level of enthusiasm and commitment -- and the upcoming move to a new space will only enhance the many things OJM provides to the community.

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

Intimate environment with unique/one-of-a-kind art exhibits

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

Inviting; gracious; knowledgeable

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-10-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

Portland has a rich and varied Jewish history and presence. Temple Beth Israel just celebrated its 150th birthday, having had noted Rabbis including Stephen and Jonah Wise. South Portland was a thriving ethnic community with Jews, Greeks, Italians and other immigrants who enriched this older German Jewish community. All of this is diligently being recorded and revitalized by the Oregon Jewish Museum which has an incredible education and outreach, as well as archival program. On top of this it has initiated art exhibits of national significance, such as a nationally traveling Arnold Mesches exhibit. This small museum is the glue which holds this vibrant Oregon Jewish community together. Now that it is moving into a wonderful new facility - four times the size of its present facility - it will play an increasingly important part in the lives, not only of the Jews of Oregon, but for all Oregonians!

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

Visiting virtually every exhibit since its founding as a museum without walls. I have attended its wonderful art auctions and participated in its oral history project.

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

that it is a secular Jewish organization with deep connection with all the area's Jewish Congregations and their members. Furthermore, its outreach to the non-Jewish community is extremely effective, as is its education program for all children

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

in one word, INCREDIBLE. The staff is underpaid, overworked and competent beyond belief! The volunteers have made the organization by countless hours of energetic work in all aspects of the Museum's work.

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

Own its own building (which it will one day), and match the New York Jewish Museum - well, maybe not quite - but getting closer.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-9-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

3 people found this review helpful

I am a writer and I have been blessed to use the human and archival resources of the Oregon Jewish Museum for a range of projects including a book, "The Spark and the Light: The Leo Adler Story" (which led to the Oregon Public Broadcasting Oregon Experience Program "Leo Adler"). I continue to use their resources for a variety of other research projects on Jewish families in Oregon. I could not do my work without them. When I started work on the Leo Adler project, I was unsure about what resources might be available in Portland. Leo Adler (1895-1993) lived all of his 98 years in Baker City in the eastern part of our state. When I went to the Museum and told the Director Judy Margles what I was doing, she smiled and said "Yes, we have a few things" and introduced me to Anne Levant-Prahl. Scrapbooks were pulled out, oral history transcripts were presented to me and boxes and photograph came down from shelves. Broad pieces of the Adler family history could be found from a range of sources, but the resources of the Oregon Jewish Museum allowed me to weave those pieces together. I had the thrill of looking at family letters from Jacob Adler (Leo’s grandfather) to his son and daughters in Oregon (who emigrated from Germany in the 1870s) telling them when they should observe the anniversary of their mother’s death. Many of the letters were written in German and the folks at the Oregon Jewish Museum put me in touch with translation services that allowed me to dig deeper. There are other museums in Oregon with larger archives, bigger facilities, and more staff, but for me the Oregon Jewish Museum has always been the best “connector” museum. It opens up questions for me and helps me blaze a trail toward answering those questions. I always feel welcome when I come to do research and I value the interest of the staff in my work. Since I am not Jewish, I appreciate the staff’s willingness to answer my questions about areas that I am unfamiliar with. I truly value the ways that the Oregon Jewish Museum has helped me to connect with a range of different worlds and I hope your assistance will help them connect with even more.

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

ongoing research that I do for a variety of projects. I'm almost always surprised by what I find there and the way it helps me put the pieces together.

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

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

the balance they strike between enthusiastic interest in what you are doing and letting you go about your work.

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

curious and interested in my work. I often learned alot just through chatting with volunteers who have a longer history in Portland than I do.

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

tell a wider audience about the importance, vitality, shortfalls and accomplishments of Jews in Oregon and in the Northwest.

Ways to make it better...

the volunteers and staff weren't so easy to talk to while I am doing research. On the other hand, Its great to be able to bounce questions off of them.

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

how the move to larger facilities will affect them. This is a momentous step, but I imagine there will be some growing pains.

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

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-7-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

3 people found this review helpful

The Oregon Jewish Museum is one of the most dynamic museums--if not the most dynamic one-in this community. It consistently does more with less to serve its constituency and the larger community by its innovative and imaginative exhibits and outreach programs. Some years ago the staff and board realized that it could do more to enrich the local culture by telling the story of the Jewish community in exhibits of its own history than by a constant stream of costly traveling exhibits. It has now achieved a great balance between telling our Oregon stories and exposing us to the glories of Jewish culture from the wider world. At the same time, OJM has created a dedicated cadre of future OJM members by curating an annual exhibit of objects and documents from the families of students at the Portland Jewish Academy with stories told by the students themselves. The enthusiasm and energy this event generates every year belies the staid images of the usual museum experience. Finally, the enormous work the staff and board have put in to secure a new and exciting building for the museum, which came to fruition this month, will leverage previously undreamed of opportunities to better serve the Oregon Jedwish community.

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

The staff is highly professional and dedicated. The director is a world-class professional. Perhaps one of the most telling aspects of their work has been their ability to attract, motivate, and retain dedicated volunteers who return over and over to OJM

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-10-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

6 people found this review helpful

The Oregon Jewish Museum is the "little engine that could" - and is - and will! Its current space, ableit limited, is a remarkable beehive of activity out of which come originally curated art exhibits hanging, alternatively,with traveling shows and cutting-edge artists whose work is not otherwise available to see in the Pacific Northwest. It is thus an educator to its viewing public as well as to the many school children who regularly visit. In the Oregon spirit, OJM works as a local pioneer in the field of preserving Jewish memory while embracing the future, as it moves to triple its size and expand its outreach opportunities to even more graphically tell the story of Oregon Jews - those who came early, those who are here now and those yet to come. Founded on a shoestring as a museum without walls, 21 years ago next spring, its volunteers continue to do the heavy lifting supported by an extraordinarily dedicated staff and by partnerships with local institutions both small and large.

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

Seeing its growth from an idea to being a vibrant part of the local community.

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

Raise the money to expand its budget exponentially in order for it to fulfill its unique and extraordinary mission in this community.

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

The people I have met and worked with.

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

Dedicated, dedicated, dedicated!

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

do everything it wants and needs to do NOW!

Ways to make it better...

All potential funders had dreamed the dream along with us!

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

Getting into its new space, as promised, by the fifth night of Chanukkah!

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

Even entering this contest shows the kind of dedication and cooperation there is within, and between, staff and laypeople.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-10-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

4 people found this review helpful

I'm a board member of the Oregon Jewish Museum for the past year. The Museum has been a part of my life since if was founded as a visitor to its many exhibits, lectures, and the growing archives. The Museum is housed in a 1,800 square foot space. After many years of searching it will move into newly renovated space this Dcember of 6,500 square feet. The Museum will now be able to correctly house its growing archives, show multiple exhibits simultaneously and also house it's staff in offices. Along with the Museum, OJM will house the Oregon Holacaust Resource Center in the same building. A show of true collaboration. This is an exciting time for the Oregon Jewish Museum and the Oregon Holacaust Resource Center.

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

being a Board Member and visiting the exhibits and lectures at the Museum.

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

the relationship between the professional staff and the Board.

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

buy the new building it is leasing and moving into plus renovate the building for the present and into the future for many years to come.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-10-01

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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

4 people found this review helpful

As an historian researching western Jewish communities, the OJM has provided an invaluable resource through its archival collections. The curator/archivist has been incredibly helpful, knowledgeable, and accommodating. While they are limited in space (a problem soon to be rectified), they have created interesting and very professional exhibits on local Jewish history.

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

Become the premiere Jewish archive and museum in the region.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-8-01

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