Settling In

May 8 – September 29, 2013

April 2013 Media Release

For more information contact: Palma Corral, 503-226-3600, ext. 101

or email


Multimedia exhibits explores waves of immigration to Oregon in the early 20th century and today

 (Portland, OR) – The Oregon Jewish Museum (OJM) at 1953 NW Kearney St. in Portland presents Settling In, an exhibit showcasing the immigrant experience in Oregon, from May 8 – September 29, 2013. The OJM will host an opening reception on Wednesday, May 8, from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Exhibition gallery hours are Tuesday through Thursday from 10:30 a.m. – 4 p.m., Friday from 10:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 12 p.m. – 4 p.m. The opening reception is free and open to the public. Museum admission is $6 for adults, $4 for students and seniors, and free for members and children under 12 accompanied by a parent or guardian.

 For almost two centuries, immigrants from all over the world have found haven in Oregon. Many arrive here fleeing economic hardship, political oppression or religious persecution. Settling in, they all contribute to our understanding of what it means to be an Oregonian. Produced in partnership with the Immigration Refugee Community Organization (IRCO), Settling In showcases the shared experiences of two waves of immigrants who arrived in Oregon a century apart: Russian and Eastern European Jews in the early 1900s, and contemporary immigrants from Burma, Cambodia, Congo, Cuba, Eritrea and Somalia.

 Through artifacts, photographs, audio and video, Settling In reveals the similarities and differences between the struggles and triumphs that have shaped these immigrant experiences. Says Sokhom Tauch, IRCO’s Executive Director, “Settling In provides an important look at the immigrant and refugee experience through two interconnected viewpoints, revealing truths about our shared experiences and promoting inter-cultural understanding. It also raises awareness about immigration and refugee issues, one of the most significant concerns facing our country today.”

 OJM will present numerous public programs throughout the exhibit’s run: on May 23, at 7 p.m., OJM Cinema presents 400 Miles to Freedom, which follows film director Avishai Mekonen's immigration story from Ethiopia to Israel and finally to New York, followed by a discussion led by Ethiopian born and local business owner Solomon Ezra who works tirelessly for the release of Jews from Ethiopia; on June 6, at 7 p.m., IRCO’s Sokhom Tauch and Ellen Eisenberg, Professor of History at Willamette University, present “Immigration Past and Present,” a lecture and discussion; on July 17, at 7 p.m., the OJM invites the community to share their family’s immigration stories with “Storytelling Circle: Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (and Ships)”; and on July 24, at 7 p.m. OJM presents Refuseniks, a film about the struggles of Soviet Jewish emigration, followed by a discussion led by Marat Grinberg, Assistant Professor of Russian and Humanities at Reed College.

 This exhibit was made possible with the generous support of an Oregon Heritage Grant from the Oregon Heritage Commission, Oregon Humanities, the Harold & Arlene Schnitzer CARE Foundation, and Wells Fargo.

The Oregon Jewish Museum (OJM), conveniently located in Northwest Portland, is the Pacific Northwest’s only Jewish museum. The OJM examines and preserves the rich cultural heritage of one of Oregon’s earliest immigrant groups. The OJM is a community-wide gathering place, an important repository of communal history, the narrator of the story of the Oregon Jewish experience and the host of innovative traveling exhibitions. The OJM seeks to stimulate dialogue about identity, culture and assimilation, and to provide opportunities for Jews and non-Jews alike to understand the Jewish experience.

Blackman/Rotenberg Family Sabbath, c. 1922, OJM04266

Ree Ma and Family, 2012, Photo by Christie Hazen, Pixel Light Studio

Student in IRCO computer lab, c. 2008, Photo by IRCO

Children in the Neighborhood House Library, 1925, OJM 00134

Well Baby Clinic Mothers with Ida Lowenberg and Dr. Moore, 1920, OJM 04717