Artifacts

OJM holds the largest collection of Jewish artifacts in the Pacific Northwest. The collection documents Jewish life in Oregon through both everyday and ceremonial objects. With the exception of our impressive Berger Collection of Ceremonial Judaica, all the artifacts were created by or for the Oregon Jewish community. One recent focus of our collecting has been the Jewish Business Collection, with items from nearly 200 businesses throughout the state. Another growing collection highlights items from Oregon synagogues.

Me’irah Illinsky, Miriam Cup

1999

The tradition of placing a cup of water on the Seder table beside the cup of wine for the prophet Elijah emerged to honor Miriam, Moses’ sister, who is reported to have led the Hebrews to sources of water during their journey through the desert.

This is one of 20 Miriam Cups commissioned from local women artisits by the Women’s Division of Portland Jewish Federation for its first annual all-women’s Seder in 1999 and subsequently donated to the Oregon Jewish Museum


Gift of Women’s Division of Portland Jewish Federation, 1999.002.011

Sidonie Caron, Miriam Cup

1999

The tradition of placing a cup of water on the Seder table beside the cup of wine for the prophet Elijah emerged to honor Miriam, Moses’ sister, who is reported to have led the Hebrews to sources of water during their journey through the desert.

This is one of 20 Miriam Cups commissioned by the Women’s Division of Portland Jewish Federation for its first annual all-women’s Seder in 1999 and subsequently donated to the Oregon Jewish Museum. The words “Ma nishtanah ha laila ha zeh” (What makes tonight different?”) are painted in Hebrew around rim.


Gift of Women’s Division of Portland Jewish Federation. 1999.002.014

Seder Plate

1880

This porcelain place was made in London at the end of the 19th century. it has illustrations around the rim describing the six ritual foods used during the Seder ceremony. The center of the plate is reserved for matza, the ritual, cracker-like bread eaten throughout the week-long holiday.


Gift of Mira and Gustav Berger, 2000.004.001

Dana Schwartz, Matzah Cover

2001

This cloth cover matzah was made of woven silk ribbon on muslin. It is part of a set of 14 cloths commissioned from local women artists by the Women’s Division of Portland Jewish Federation in 2001 for its all-women’s Seder and subsequently donated to the Oregon Jewish Museum collection.


Gift of the Women’s Division of the Portland Jewish Federation, 2001.008.001

Deborah Barany, Matzah Cover

2001

This beaded and embellished cloth cover matzah is part of a set of 14 cloths commissioned from local women artists by the Women’s Division of Portland Jewish Federation in 2001 for its all-women’s Seder and subsequently donated to the Oregon Jewish Museum collection.


Gift of the Women’s Division of the Portland Jewish Federation, 2001.008.002

Barbara Atlas, Matzah Cover

2001

This beaded and painted cloth cover matzah is part of a set of 14 cloths commissioned from local women artists by the Women’s Division of Portland Jewish Federation in 2001 for its all-women’s Seder and subsequently donated to the Oregon Jewish Museum collection.



Gift of the Women’s Division of the Portland Jewish Federation, 2001.008.008

Jan Rabinowitch, Matzah Cover

2001

This cutwork cloth cover matzah is made of Hebrew letters cut from ultrasued and appliquéd on muslin. It is part of a set of 14 cloths commissioned from local women artists by the Women’s Division of Portland Jewish Federation in 2001 for its all-women’s Seder and subsequently donated to the Oregon Jewish Museum collection.


Gift of the Women’s Division of the Portland Jewish Federation, 2001.008.009

Kiddush Cup

19th century

This lovely example of silverwork was made in Russia in the mid-19th century. There was originally engraving done in the central space that has been rubbed away, possibly to protect its owners from anti-Semitic attacks.


Gift of Mira and Gustav Berger, 2003.003.003

Wedding Shoes

1880

These are the shoes that Matilda “Tillie” Selling wore for her marriage to respected businessman and philanthropist Ben Selling. Tillie came from San Francisco and once here, quickly became an important part of the Jewish community. A founding member of the National Council of Jewish Women, Portland Section she presided over its Sewing School for thirty two years.

1995.003.004

Darning Egg

c. 1870

This household item was passed down through the generations of the Bories family. Ida Bories was born in Sacramento, CA. around 1857. She was the first of her family to be born in the United States. The family soon moved to Portland, where Ida’s father Herman Bories was the rabbi of Congregation Beth Israel for several years. At age 18 Ida married Samuel Frauenthal and the couple moved to Astoria, Oregon. Ida's daughter was the last in the family to use the egg before it was donated to the museum.

1995.003.025

Hanukkah Lamp

late 19th century

This rustic, wall-mounted menorah is made of hammered tin. It hangs on a wall and has eight small, glass dishes suspended from holders where the oil for the Hanukkah lights is held.

1995.003.031

Al Kader Shriner Fez

c. 1950

Nudelman Brothers were known throughout the Pacific Northwest for providing working clothes and uniforms. They supplied streetcar conductors, police and firefighters, postal workers and, the U.S. Forestry Service. During World War II they stocked replacement uniforms for seamen who would dock in Portland. They also produced these embroidered wool felt fezes for the Shriners, where many early Portland Jews were members.

1995.003.034

Spice Box

c. 1790, Poland

This whimsical silver sunflower stands almost 10 inches tall. The head of flower is detachable for filling with spices and is pierced with holes so that the smell of the spices can be part of the Havdalah ceremony at the end of the Sabbath.

Gift of Mira and Gustav Berger, 1997.004.001

Synagogue Window, Portland

20th Century

This plaster cast window with wooden framing was discovered by the donor in South Portland not long after Urban Renewal razed five of the city’s synagogues to make way for Portland State University and the building of I-405. It is not known which synagogue this window was rescued from before demolition.

Gift of Charlotte and Joseph Uris, 2005.006.001

Torah Wimpel, 1895, France

1895, France

As is traditional, this embroidered linen cloth for binding the Torah was donated to the synagogue by the father of a newborn son. The inscription in Hebrew reads, “Naftali son of Yaakov Weinberg born to a good sign on Wednesday, the 20th of Av, 655 [1895], may God raise him to the Torah, to the marriage canopy and to good deeds, Amen, Selah.” ,

Gift of Mira and Gustav Berger, 1996.001.004