Joseph Nudelman (1844-1935), the eldest of 12 children, was born near Odessa, Russia. He came to the US in 1882 as the head of a group of 25 families intent on starting a Jewish farming community under the auspices of the Baron Hirsch Foundation. They settled first in Winnipeg, Canada and a year later near Bismark, North Dakota, where they suffered terribly to make ends meet as unskilled farmers in a very hostile environment. In 1892, Joseph briefly gave up farming and moved his family to Portland. But the urge to go “back to the soil” remained strong, and in 18 ...read more
CollectionsThe artifact and archives collections at the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education document the experiences of Oregon Jews from our earliest history through today. We are the community repository for family, business, and institutional history, documenting Jewish life in Oregon through photographs, oral history interviews, artifacts, music, and written records.
By merging with two other collecting institutions over the past 20 years, OJMCHE has acquired a collection that is far older than the Museum itself. The holdings of the Jewish Historical Society of Oregon, including 150 oral history interviews of some of Oregon’s first Jews, came into the Museum’s care in 1995. In 2014, the Oregon Jewish Museum merged with the Oregon Holocaust Resource Center, taking on the care of those records, artifacts, and oral history interviews of Holocaust survivors and liberators. The OJMCHE collection continues to grow as Jewish agencies, institutions, and individuals throughout the state choose to deposit items here.
OJMCHE is uniquely positioned to tell the rich story of our shared history and ongoing experience.
Portland-born Ida Loewenberg (1872 - 1949) grew up in a life of privilege as provided by her Bavarian immigrant father Julius, a founder of Merchants National Bank and Northwest Fire and Marine Insurance. She attended private schools both abroad and in New York. She received a degree in social work and developed a passion to serve the immigrant community in her hometown. Loewenberg was among the first Oregon Jewish women of immigrant parents to pursue a professional degree. In 1912, she joined the staff of Neighborhood House and in 1914 became its executive director, a position she held ...read more
One of Oregon Jewish Museum’s most significant holdings is the collection of Jewish ceremonial objects donated by Gustav and Mira Berger. Gustav Berger was born in Vienna in 1920, where his father and grandfather were dealers of art and antiques. Mira came from Vilna, which was Poland at the time of her birth and is in Lithuania today. After meeting in Italy following the war, the Bergers moved to New York in 1954, where Gustav began his illustrious career as a painting conservator, opening his own studio in 1967. He was an inventive conservator and developed BEVA, an adhesive for pa ...read more
This is a story of when two documents meet again after a long separation. The first is a photograph from the collection of the National Council of Jewish Women, Portland Section, which ran the Neighborhood House in South Portland. As a settlement house for new immigrants at the beginning of the 20th century, Neighborhood House had among its services a free clinic for the local residents. In this photo, a doctor (possibly Dr. Gordeau), stands in the center of a room crowded with onlookers. Some of them are mothers with infants in need of check-ups; others appear to be doctors, nurses, and ...read more