Gayle Breslow Marger (b. 1944)

Gayle Breslow Marger was born on April 4, 1944 in Portland, Oregon to Max and Gertie Levin Breslow. Max was a professional jazz musician, who came to Portland from Lincoln, Nebraska. He died when Gayle was quite young. Because both of her aunts married Sephardic men, Gayle grew up with both Ashkenazic and Sephardic traditions. Her mother was born in Colorado and that family came from Russia.

Gayle started out life on Portland’s east side. When she was 13 the family moved to Beaverton, where she attended Beaverton High School. The family belonged to Congregation Beth Israel, where she attended Sunday school, and she would also spend time at Shaarie Torah in South Portland, where her extended family belonged. She participated in the Jewish sororities that were popular at that time, and that led her to choose a college experience that would not have sororities. She went across the country to Douglas College of Rutgers University, where she majored in theater.

Gayle met her husband Jerry Marger while at Rutgers. They moved to Louisville immediately after marrying, where Jerry began law school while also working for BF Goodrich as an engineer. Gayle started a drop-in preschool program at the Louisville Jewish Community Center and also taught religious school. After taking her Civil Service exam, she began working at the Office for Economic Opportunity as a social worker. The couple moved to Akron, Ohio after Jerry finished his law degree. They had their two sons in Ohio: Matt in 1967 and Brian in 1969.

They returned to Portland in 1970, where they settled down and raised their family. Gayle began teaching preschool again, and then worked for Jerry when he opened a law office. She became very active in the National Council of Jewish Women, the Religious Coalition for Abortion Rights, and on the board of the Oregon Jewish Museum, where she continues to serve.