Margie Rosenthal (b. 1947)

Margie Rosenthal was born Margie Kieffer in 1947 in Waterloo, Iowa. Her father was in the clothing business and ran several stores in Iowa and Minneapolis before moving the family to Southern California, where Margie and her brother Max (Mac) spent their childhoods. Margie became interested in Jewish music at Reform Camp Saratoga (later named Camp Swig) and in the Reform movement’s youth organization National Federation of Temple Youth. She attended college at UCLA, finishing her degree in English at Berkely and then graduate school in special education at San Francisco State. Throughout high school and college, Margie worked at Jewish camps. It was at Camp Chai, in northern California where she met her husband Elden in the summer of 1964. They married in 1969 and lived at Stanford until Elden finished law school in 1972 before moving to Oregon, where Elden had an aunt and uncle, Edith and Paul Lavender.

Margie began teaching music at the religious school at Congregation Beth Israel and later taught visually impaired children in the Portland public schools. They had two daughters, Rachel in 1975 and Debra in 1978. Margie continued to work with children with special educational needs. She co-founded the Portland Reading Foundation, which provides professionally trained special education tutors. She also continued singing and recording Jewish music in Portland and throughout the county. She has won numerous national awards for her CDs of lullabies and Jewish children’s songs recorded with Ilene Safyan.

In 1978 Margie attended the first meeting of the newly forming congregation Havurah Shalom and she and Elden immediately became involved in the growth of that community. Each served as president of the congregation. Margie organized and led the first High Holiday services the congregation offered in 1979 and went on to be the musical director, and, along with Ilene Safyan, continued teaching children and leading adults in song for 30+ years.

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