Spotlight on OJMCHE

The Jewish Review is featuring a profile of each of the 18 local beneficiary agencies of the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland’s 2022 Annual Campaign.

AREA OF SERVICE: Museum, Holocaust education, archives and collections, public programming, stewards of the Holocaust Memorial
2022 Allocation: $57,750
MISSION: OJMCHE explores the legacy of the Jewish experence in Oregon, teaches the enduring and universal relevance of the Holocaust, and provides opportunities for intercultural conversations.
OJMCHE recently was named as a finalist for the Institute of Museum and Library Service National Medal, the nation’s highest honor for institutions that make significant and exceptional contributions to their communities.  
From its humble start as a “museum without walls,” OJMCHE has become a vital part of Portland’s cultural landscape. Within our permanent home, our exhibitions and programs celebrate and explore, in the broadest terms, Jewish contributions to world culture and ideas, issues of identity and the forces of prejudice.
On June 11, OJMCHE hosts a grand reopening from noon to 3 pm featuring a free street-wide cultural exchange. The museum reopens with an expanded footprint that includes a new core exhibition, Human Rights After the Holocaust.
As stewards of the Oregon Holocaust Memorial in Portland’s Washington Park, OJMCHE brings thousands of school children to both the memorial and the museum. OJMCHE believes the Holocaust provides one of the most effective subjects for examining basic moral concerns. It simultaneously addresses universal issues of intolerance and the dangers of denying diversity. For many young Oregonians, an OJMCHE program has been their first encounter with the history of the Holocaust.
The 2019 Oregon Senate Bill 664 directed schools to provide instruction about the Holocaust and genocide. Since the passage of the bill, OJMCHE Director of Education Amanda Coven has been reaching out to school districts across the state to prepare them to integrate the teaching of the Holocaust and genocide into their curriculums. The mandate includes nine learning concepts that will then be integrated into the revised Social Sciences Standards when they are released in 2026. Coven views the upcoming several years as a “piloting phase,” during which the museum can work with teachers and districts to share the history and determine how to best design lessons for various grades.
OJMCHE has been an affiliate of the Jewish Federation for most of its existence. “Financial support through the allocations process has always been most appreciated,” says Executive Director Judy Margles. “But we are also grateful for JFGP leadership and the institutional support that we receive through program partnerships, agency council meetings and ongoing conversation about the challenges and opportunities that Jewish communal organizations face today.”
OJMCHE has more than 100 volunteers who work in many areas of the museum from front desk and event support (contact Heather Brunner, to volunteering in archives and collections (contact archivist Alisha Babbstein,


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