PSU mourns the loss of Rabbi Joshua Stampfer
Author: Portland State University
Posted: December 27, 2019
 Portland State University mourns the loss of Rabbi Joshua Stampfer. 

Stampfer was a pioneer in Portland’s Jewish community and helped inspire the creation of PSU’s degree in Judaic Studies. He believed a university campus is the best venue for debate, learning and understanding. Stampfer taught PSU’s first class in Jewish studies in 1961. In the 1980s, he worked with PSU and other Oregon universities to establish the Institute for Judaic Studies. Finally, in 2010, the university created the Rabbi Stampfer Professor of Israel Studies, which led to the major’s formalization. 

“The Judaic Studies community mourns the passing of Rabbi Joshua Stampfer of blessing memory together with his family, his congregation, and the Portland Jewish community. As in so many fields of intellectual, communal, and religious endeavor in Portland, Rabbi Stampfer blazed a trail in Judaic Studies, teaching Hebrew and other courses for decades and laying a firm foundation for the establishment of the Harold Schnitzer Family Program in Judaic Studies, of which he was deeply proud,” said Natan Meir, chair of the Harold Schnitzer Family Program in Judaic Studies. “To his family and all those who grieve his passing, we respond with words of comfort from the Jewish tradition: Min hashamayim tenuhamu — may you be comforted from Heaven.”

The loss of Rabbi Stampfer will be felt across campus. Our thoughts are with his family, congregation and the Portland Jewish community.

A service will be held at 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 29, at Congregation Neveh Shalom. The service will also be live-streamed at


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