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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Museums

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.

Programs: Third annual sukkah pdx juried design-build exhibit, inviting designers,artist and makers of all backgrounds to propose contemporary responses to the traditional challenges of sukkah design (a sukkah is a temporary dwelling, traditionally erected each fall in observance of sukkot). Awardees of this juried competition create and install their winning sukkahs on the grounds of the oregon jewish museum. The structures are on exhibit for the week of sukkot, where they serve as the focal point for a weeklong series of events that a create contemporary context and connection to the themes of this ancient tradition,such as food and housing security.

three major exhibits launched this year include: ""settling in" ", "bat mitzvah comes of age" and "illuminated letters: threads of connection". "settling in" examined the experience and acculturation of immigrants to oregon through the lens of jewish experience. The exhibit focused on two groups: eastern european and russian jewish immigrants who were "americanized" through the neighborhood house, the settlement house founded in south portland in 1905 and later immigrants served through the immigrant and refugee community organization (irco). The struggles and triumphs of the early 20th century immigrants are compared with challenges and achievements of a contemporary and diverse group of immigrants from burma, cambodia, congo, cuba, eritrea, and somalia. Through their compelling and sometimes astonishing stories, the exhibit highlighted the old and new realities of the immigrant experience. "bat mitzvah comes of age" featuring the remarkable story of how, in less than a century, individual girls, their parents and their rabbis challenged and changed communal values and practice to institute this now widely practiced jewish ritual. "illuminated letters: threads of connection" artist sara harwin's long-time fascination with the intersection between language and art. Her work draws on the ancient tradition of illuminated manuscripts and encompasses large panels and hanging mobiles that use strong jolts of color, sacred imagery, pattern, and movement to achieve an innovative blend of visual and textual commentary on jewish life and thought.

our vibrant public programs include film screenings, concerts, lectures and discussions. Included were a film screening of shalom ireland, which included a theatrical reading from james joyce's ulysses, in partnership with corrib, portland's irish theatre; sunday music concerts, which bring the best of oregon's jewish musical talent, such as nationally recognized artist alicia jo rabins. Our programs and exhibitions reflect a variety of disciplines, including history, visual and bookmaking arts, art history, archival and collection management, music and other performing arts, film, literature, oral history, and the humanities.

other smaller exhibitions, music events, and lectures.

Community Stories

6 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

15

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As a Portland area Jewish professional I often am in need of Jewish historical "stuff" - stories, facts, pictures, etc to keep my materials alive. OJM always has what I need, no muss, no fuss.

5

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

When I brought my 6th grade class to the museum's "Yes We Can" exhibit this past winter I was amazed at how much they learned about the history of discrimination and the status of minorities in Oregon. The Oregon Jewish Museum did an expert job in making this available to the public and with the teaching their staff provided to us. Thank you OJM.

5

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.

4

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.

4

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have been exposed to the Oregon Jewish Museum through my work as a history professional in Portland, Oregon, and I have been impressed by the quality and quantity of programming, exhibits, and collections initiatives they provide the community -- especially with such a small staff. The museum's director works to make all members of the community welcome and to broaden understanding of the depth and complexity of Jewish experience in the Pacific Northwest, echoing broader trends in the historical community that seek to extend study throughout the twentieth century. I am particularly impressed by the substantial oral history program, a vital aspect of historical documentation that would not be accmomplished otherwise.

4

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Museum team of professionals and volunteers works miracles with a very tight budget and very small space. The exhibitions that have been created over the years are absolutely first class. The Museum could not do what it does without the energy and creativity of an incredible group of volunteers. Thanks to them and the supporters in the community, the Museum will move to a new, larger location in December 2009. The Museum plays a vital role in both the Jewish and secular communities as a resource and collaborator for cultural and educational programming.