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A passion to tell the story of Oregon Judaism
A passion to tell the story of Oregon Judaism

Gloria Lohman Feves '72 is working with OPB's Jeff Douglas to get her documentary, "The Three Rabbis," produced.

It started with a speech-which, if you know Gloria Lohman Feves '72, will come as no surprise. Since her salad days winning speech tournaments at West Linn High School, this natural-born reporter has been investigating the world around her. And telling others about it.

"I've always wanted to ask a question, get an answer and discuss it," says Lohman Feves, "and I couldn't get enough of getting a message across. I want to shout to everybody."

Fast forward through a career as a learning specialist and raising a family to the mid-1990s. With a desire to keep contributing, Lohman Feves enrolled in a community service workshop offered by the Women's Division of the Jewish Federation of Portland. For their final, participants presented an idea for a community project.

Naturally, Lohman Feves decided to tell a story.

In her speech, she proposed a documentary telling the history of Oregon's Jews-why they came, what they found, how they changed through the years. Her twist was that she wanted to present the story through the eyes of three prominent and long-serving Oregon rabbis-an orthodox, conservative, and reform.

"This is an opportunity to tell Judaism from three completely different views," says Lohman Feves. "For the past 40 years, these rabbis married, divorced, bristed, and buried members of the Jewish community. I thought the story would be great to be told through their eyes."

For anyone else, the idea might have ended with a speech. But naturally, Lohman Feves couldn't stop telling the story. Eventually her enthusiasm stirred others. Some served as mentors. Others contributed seed money. Oregon Public Broadcasting signed on to provide technical expertise and to air the finished piece. That left just one hurdle-raising $80,000 to shoot, edit, and produce the documentary.

Lohman Feves intensified her efforts, telling the story of her documentary to acquaintances, potential funders, anyone, in fact, who would listen. For her birthday, she even asked friends to skip presents and instead donate to OPB, which holds in trust any contributions earmarked to "The Three Rabbis" project.

Her efforts have raised more than half the amount needed. And Lohman Feves has no intention of slowing down until the project is done, no matter how long it takes. But why commit to such an arduous undertaking?

"The answer's not too deep," says Lohman Feves. "I see life as stories, and I wanted to tell this one. It's fascinating." –Melissa Steineger