Oregon Jewish Museum Inc

Rating: 5 stars   32 reviews


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


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.


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.

2009 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Reviews for Oregon Jewish Museum Inc

Rating: 5 stars  

5 people found this review helpful

Here's what I love about the Oregon Jewish Museum: it is truly open to all, Jews and non-Jews alike! As someone who is married to a Non-Jew, and one who has a Jewish cultural (but not spiritual) identity, my spouse and I both feel comfortable and fully welcomed at the Museum! We've taken advantage of the Museum's varied offerings by attending stellar exhibits, compelling book discussions, scholarly lectures, astounding theatre productions, and moving musical events. The Oregon Jewish Museum reaches out to the entire community with a message of diversity, tolerance, and acceptance. We love it!

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

its effort to collaborate with the German-American Society to sponsor the Charlotte Salomon exhibit and musical presentation.

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

The openness and inclusive spirit of its professional staff.

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

Fantastic and professional!

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

Buy a permanent new home with larger exhibit/gallery space, more room for programming, and a larger archives/library. It could expand its staff to include more full-time staff, including a Curator of Exhibits!

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?


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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?


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