Vida Sefaradi: A Century of Sephardic Life in Portland

June 11, 2014-October 19, 2014


May 2014 Media Release
For more information contact Palma Corral at 503-226-3600 ext. 101 or email
Multimedia exhibit explores one hundred years of the Portland Sephardic experience 
The Oregon Jewish Museum (OJM) at 1953 NW Kearney St. in Portland, Oregon, presents Vida Sefaradi: A Century of Sephardic Life in Portland, which reveals the dramatic story of Portland's Sephardic Jews - a story of exile, emigration, family, faith, and community. OJM will host an opening reception on Wednesday, June 11, 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.
Vida Sefaradi: A Century of Sephardic Life in Portland, produced in cooperation with Congregation Ahavath Achim, opens on June 11 at OJM. It tells the story of “the Jews from Spain” who found a new home in the Pacific Northwest and contributed immeasurably to the rich tapestry of Oregon Jewish life. 
“Sephardic Judaism has been a vitally important element in Jewish life,” says Rabbi Joshua Stampfer, Rabbi Emeritus of Congregation Neveh Shalom and an authority on Sephardic history. “The story of the Sephardic Diaspora is the best example in all of Jewish history of the Jewish courage and desire to live.”
Sephardic Jews are descended from Jews who were expelled from Spain during the Spanish Inquisition. Many of them settled in Jewish communities throughout the Ottoman Empire and along the Mediterranean Sea. They lived peaceably there for centuries, until the lure of better opportunities brought some Sephardic Jews to the United States.
Portland's Sephardic community traces its origins to a small group of young men who immigrated first to Seattle from the Isle of Rhodes and Turkey and came to Portland around 1910. The stories of these first arrivals form a backdrop in which to explore the history and culture of Sephardic Jewry as it relates to Portland’s Jewish community. The exhibit explores the historical, cultural, social and spiritual traditions of this small but fascinating community and examines its place as an integral part of the larger Jewish and general communities. 
Vida Sefaradi: A Century of Sephardic Life in Portland runs from June 11 – October 19, 2014. The Museum will host an opening reception on Wednesday, June 11, from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m

* Sephardic Walking Tours of South Portland (dates TBA)
Follow in the footsteps of South Portland's Sephardic beginnings during a special summer evening tour. This walk will be lead by docents from the Oregon Jewish Museum, who will offer highlights from the last 100 years of Sephardic life in the neighborhood and surrounding areas. We will stop at select locations and hear from guest speakers along the way, on topics such as early life in the neighborhood and the challenges of urban renewal. Check with the Oregon Jewish Museum as more information becomes available.
Film: The Longest Journey – The Last Days of the Jews of Rhodes, a powerful cinematic tribute to a lost world. On July 23, 1944, the Nazis deported nearly the entire Jewish population of Rhodes, while the Italian authorities who had governed the island from 1912 until 1943 idly stood by. (Italy, 2012, 70 min., Italian with English subtitles.)Wednesday, July 9, 7:00 p.m. Ticket Info: General Public: $10, Members: $8, Students: $5. Click here for additional details. 

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.
Ahavath Achim Member Dinner, 1949, Gift of Rochelle Stilwell OJM 07317

Albert and Nessim Menashe in Fezes, n.d., Gift of Rochelle Menashe Stilwell and Albert Menashe OJM 07375
Sue and Sam Sadis at the lunch buffet aftertheir wedding, 1949, Gift of Sue Sadis OJM 07572