The first Oregon Jews, who came from Germany in the mid-1850s, often lived in other places in America before finding their way out West. Many of them were merchants who helped build a strong Jewish community – founding synagogues, schools, social and charitable organizations and welcoming waves of other immigrants, refugees and survivors who would come to call Oregon their home. Those later arrivals made their own contributions to Oregon Jewish life.
The first Jewish organization in Oregon, Portland’s Mt. Sinai Cemetery Association, was incorporated in 1856. The Portland chapter of the National Council of Jewish Women organized in 1896, remaining active for nearly 120 years. The B’nai B’rith Building, later to become the Jewish Community Center, opened in 1914; in 1971 the center moved to its present location in Southwest Portland. In 1920 The Jewish Women’s Endeavor joined forces with the Old Men’s Hebrew Fraternal Organization to create “The Jewish Old Peoples Home.” The Federated Jewish Societies, the precursor of today’s Jewish Federation of Greater Portland, organized in 1920 to raise money for a variety of Jewish institutions.
Beneficiaries included the B’nai B’rith Building, the First Hebrew Benevolent Society, Jewish Relief Society, Jewish Women’s Benevolent Society, Jewish Women’s Sewing Society, National Jewish Hospital for Consumptives, Neighborhood House, the Committee on Jewish Orphans, Portland Hebrew Free School, Sisters of Israel Benevolent Society and the South Portland Benevolent Society.
As community and individual needs shifted in subsequent decades, some organizations faded while others evolved, and new groups arose to meet the needs of 21st century America. Following are the organizations that today meet the needs of Jews living in Oregon and Southwest Washington.
GIFT (GIVING IT FORWARD TOGETHER)
9604 NE 126th Ave.
HADASSAH, PACIFIC NORTHWEST REGION
Women’s Zionist Organization of
140 Lakeside Ave., Suite A #36
HADASSAH, PORTLAND CHAPTER
PO Box 19205
Portland, OR 97280
HADASSAH, SHALOM CHAPTER
(Vancouver and SW Washington)
Maxine Silverman, Membership Vice-President
JEWISH BUSINESS NETWORK
9604 NE 126th Ave., Ste. 2340
JEWISH COMMUNITY RELATIONS COUNCIL
Bob Horenstein, Director
6680 SW Capitol Hwy.
With representation from a cross-section of the Greater Portland and Southwest Washington Jewish community, the JCRC develops consensus positions to: protect the social safety net, safeguard civil rights, combat anti-Semitism and other forms of discrimination, and strengthen local ties to Israel. The JCRC is affiliated with the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the planning and coordinating body for the national organized Jewish community in public affairs advocacy.
JEWISH EVENTS WILLAMETTE VALLEY
2531 Chula Vista Blvd.
JEWISH FAMILY & CHILD SERVICE
Lee Cordova, Board Chair
Ruth Scott, Interim Executive
1221 SW Yamhill St., Ste. 301
JFCS provides social services to adults, families and children in the Jewish and general community. Our Counseling team offers sliding scale counseling for individuals, couples and families. People with intellectual, developmental and other disabilities are able to receive supportive training and resources through our Disability Support Services. Our Emergency Aid program provides help with short-term crisis situations. And our Holocaust Survivor Services program offers a variety of specialized services for Jewish Nazi victims.
JEWISH FAMILY SERVICES OF LANE COUNTY
PO Box 5924
Eugene, OR 97405
JEWISH FEDERATION OF GREATER PORTLAND
Marc N. Blattner, President and CEO
6680 SW Capitol Hwy.
Since 1920, the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland assures the building and strengthening of the Jewish community locally, nationally, overseas and in Israel, in accordance with Jewish values.
JEWISH FEDERATION OF LANE COUNTY
PO Box 5924
Eugene, OR 97405
JEWISH GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY OF OREGON
JEWISH GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY OF WILLAMETTE VALLEY
JEWISH WOMEN’S ROUND TABLE
MAZON: A JEWISH RESPONSE TO HUNGER
10850 Wilshire Blvd., Ste. 400
Los Angeles, CA
MITTLEMAN JEWISH COMMUNITY CENTER
Steve Albert, Executive Director
Kelsey Kaplan, Membership + Customer Service Manager
Beth Germain, Chief Financial Officer
6651 SW Capitol Hwy.
The MJCC has been a vital part of the greater Portland community for over 100 years. We provide a gathering place for the Jewish community while warmly embracing people of all faiths. We offer a variety of recreational programming for all ages, wonderful fitness facilities, a 25-yard lap pool, a warm water pool, a flexible space for your next meeting or event, and of course, much loved community celebrations and social and cultural events.
OREGON BOARD OF RABBIS
Rabbi Rachel Joseph, Chair
2900 SW Peaceful Lane,
OREGON JEWISH COMMUNITY FOUNDATION
Julie Diamond, President & CEO
Gail Mandel, Director of Philanthropy
Tara Siegman, Director of Donor Relations & Grants
1618 SW First Ave., Ste. 210
OJCF’s mission is to build and promote a culture of giving in Oregon and Southwest Washington that supports a thriving Jewish community now and for generations to come. The foundation promotes strategic philanthropy offering charitable individuals philanthropic tools including donor advised funds, charitable gift annuities, planned gifts and trusts. In partnership with the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, OJCF directs the LIFE & LEGACY initiative in Oregon to promote after-lifetime giving to build endowments and strengthen Jewish organizations for the future.
OREGON JEWISH MUSEUM AND CENTER FOR HOLOCAUST EDUCATION
Judy Margles, Director
Anne LeVant Prahl, Curator of Collections
April Slabosheski, Manager of Museum and Holocaust Education
724 NW Davis St.
OJMCHE has galleries for national and international exhibitions and core exhibitions: Discrimination and Resistance, An Oregon Primer, which identifies discrimination as a tool affecting varied groups of people over the history of this region; The Holocaust, An Oregon Perspective, a history of the Holocaust using stories of Oregon survivors; and Oregon Jewish Stories, which examines Oregon Jewish life. The museum also includes an auditorium, museum shop, and Lefty’s Café with Jewish inspired fare.
OREGON JEWISH LIFE
Cindy Saltzman, Publisher
ORJewishLife.com is the online arm of Oregon Jewish Life magazine. The website features engaging content that celebrates the vitality, diversity, challenges and accomplishments of our community. In addition to feature stories and columns, we provide a resource for local organizations to share their news. Jewish organizations in Oregon and SW Washington are invited to post their events and programs on our online calendar, creating an up-todate resource for the community. Advertising options are available on the website and in our free weekly e-newsletters, as well as the magazine. For home delivery, subscribe online at orjewishlife. com/magazine-subscription. To receive any of our themed e-newsletters, sign up at orjewishlife.com/ newsletter-sign-me-up/