Discoveries in the OJM Archives
The JCC’s First 100 Years

January 13-May 8, 2014 | Past Exhibit

The individuals who formed the first Jewish Community Center in Portland represented a mix of Portland’s German and Eastern European Jews. In 1910 sixty such men met in the vestry room at Beth Israel and formed the B’nai B’rith Building Association, with the specific purpose of “purchasing a site and erecting a building to be the center of Jewish communal activities.” These men shared a Jewish faith, which brought them inescapable forms of discrimination. Whatever level of success Portland Jews had achieved by the first decade of the twentieth century, they were denied entrance to country and business clubs and their children were excluded from high school social clubs. Their response – to create internal philanthropic and social networks – was never more evident than in the ideals put forth in the creation of the Jewish Community Center. The first building opened in 1914 on SW 13th Avenue between Market and Mill streets.

The Mittleman Jewish Community Center, now located on Capitol Highway, celebrates 100 years of community life this year. We invite you to glimpse into its rich history through the photographs, documents and artifacts in the collection of the Oregon Jewish Museum.