Portland, widely known as the “City of Roses” for its many rose gardens, is the largest city in the state of Oregon with a population of approximately 2,314,554 people, out of which 47,500 are Jewish. Out of this expanding population stemmed the Portland Jewish Festival, which is the largest annual cultural event in the Portland Jewish Community.
A Community with a Big Dream
The Portland Jewish Film Festival was first founded by Rabbi Joshua Stampfer in 1993 as a small-scale event hosted on a weekend which was attended by local film critics,eventually expanding after 5 years, due to audience demand. The Portland Jewish Film Festival is now one of the oldest festivals held in the country and it happens every year in mid-June, in the Portland Art Museum, to teach people and to celebrate the Jewish heritage and culture with the help of their collaborators, Institute for Judaic Studies in the Pacific Northwest and Northwest Film Centre.
A Proud Heritage
The festival screens around twelve to fifteen films every year from several different countries and in different languages in order to attract a wider audience. The films are also of diverse genres, and not only are movies relating to the Jewish history screened, but recently the festival has also begun to screen films which are purely for entertainment. The festival screens a wide variety of films as such as:
- Shoah (The Holocaust)
The screening of films related to the Jewish culture is not the only attraction that this festival has to offer to its guests. Events such as lectures on the Jewish culture, receptions, discussion groups, visits from film directors, and more are intended not only to celebrate Jewish identity, but also to confront issues that affect humanity.
With the help of their collaborators and the support of the Jewish community, the dream which began in 1993 has expanded to become the largest cultural event in the Portland Jewish Community. The festival has succeeded in educating people on Jewish history and culture for the past 22 years and will proudly continue to do so for generations to come.