The OJMCHE document collection represents families, clubs, synagogues, businesses, and philanthropic organizations. It is the largest collection of the documented and visual history of the Jewish people of Oregon. The Document Collection encompasses a broad range of formats including books, journals, manuscripts, papers and records, maps, and ephemera. It includes materials dating from the mid 1800s to the present day.

Basketball Team Roster


The B’nai B’rith Cardinals played both basketball and baseball against teams from all over Portland for several decades under the coaching of Harry “Polly” Policar, who was the athletic director for the B’nai B’rith Center (which later became the Jewish Community Center).

Gift of Jerrie Roth, 2014.011.001

Invitation to Building Dedication


In 1889 Congregation Beth Israel moved into its second building, having outgrown the small, wooden structure that was the first home for Oregon’s oldest congregation. The impressive, tiered building stood for just 34 years before burning to the ground in 1923.

Gift of Congregation Beth Israel, 2011.019.001

Newspaper page announcing Synagogue Fire


News that the magestic synagogue building had burned due to arson in 1923 brought out the best in the congregation’s neighbors. Area churches pitched in to help after the fire and offered the congregation temporary space for services and Sunday School classes.

Gift of Congregation Beth Israel, 2011.019.002

Citizenship Application Affidavit


David Weinberg had the sponsorship of his great uncle Philip Feldman when he immigrated in 1934 from Germany. Feldman submitted this affidavit for citizenship attesting to the fact that his nephew would not be a burden on society.

Gift of Barbara Wirtschafter and Nancy Krebs, 2011.058.001

Letter on Herman’s Men’s Store letterhead


This brief note, written on his store’s letterhead demonstrates Herman and Rae Horenstein’s pleasure that their son Earl is enjoying himself at B’nai B’rith summer camp that summer. It is part of a collection of correspondence and other items from local, Jewish-owned businesses in the Oregon Jewish Museum Archives.

ORG16 Jewish Business Collection, 1995.003.092

B'nai B'rith Subscription Pledge Form


With this form, Milt Margulis committed to a 5 year pledge in support of the B’nai B’rith Building Association, the building that later became the Jewish Community Center.

B’nai B’rith Collection, ORG1 1995.003.090

Wedding Invitation


Simon Baum’s wedding to Mariana Bettman was among the first wedding ceremonies performed in the new State of Oregon. The State was only 7 months old at the time of this wedding.

Congregation Beth Israel Collection, 2004.046.002

Russian Traveling Papers


This sealed letter granted Moses Ail, age 15, permission to travel to the United States. The document is signed by the American Consulate General in Yokohama, Japan, 1917, includes small photograph of Moses Ail.

Dora Ail Collection, IND 147

Page from the Congregation Beth Israel’s Golden Book


The congregation prepared a hand-lettered history of in honor of its 30th anniversary in 1889. This treasured history was missing for decades beginning in the 1920s, when the congregation moved to its current location. The efforts of current and past rabbis were unable to locate it. It now resides safely in the Congregation’s collection at the Oregon Jewish Museum where it is available to scholars, congregants, and all interested researchers.

Congregation Beth Israel Records, ORG 23