Awards, shingles, and passionate readers

‘Light’ Editor Ellen Futterman accepts the Press Club President’s Award for Meritorious Achievement in Journalism, which was awarded by Richard Weiss (right) to the Light, Futterman, and Publisher/CEO Larry Levin. Photo: William Greenblatt

Lois Caplan

Earlier this month, at its annual meeting, the Press Club of Metropolitan St. Louis presented several awards to outstanding journalists and publications. The “President’s Award for Meritorious Achievement in Journalism” went to the St. Louis Jewish Light, which under the creative leadership of Editor Ellen Futterman and the business acumen of Publisher/CEO Larry Levin, has become an attractive, informative and very readable newspaper. More and more people tell me that they find the paper very interesting and that they would not miss an issue.  Am I kvelling?  You bet since I have spent the best part of my life being a part of the Light.

But that is not all I want to tell you about the Press Club annual meeting.  The club’s highest honor, the Catfish Award, was presented to Aisha Sultan, family editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch who writes the “Dirty Laundry” parenting column.  Aisha is bright, lovely woman and a Muslim.  At the Press Club meeting she made the remark about the Press Club being an organization of so many Jews and Muslims working together in concert. Immediate past president is Richard Weiss and before him, Alice Handelman. And the board is a mixture of all sorts of media people.

In her Sunday, Dec. 19 column entitled “Having a Very Muslim Christmas” Aisha explains how isolating the Christmas season can be for her children. The same is true of Jewish children who are probably asked the very same question as Aisha’s kids – “What did you ask Santa for Christmas?” I loved her comment that “I’ve never felt that the festivities of another culture or religion threaten my own.  Our children should feel at ease appreciating difference and comfort in what they recognize as their own traditions.”  At this time of the year when we hear endless renditions of “Peace on Earth” we should believe that such a peace between Jews and Muslims is possible.


CRAIG NEWMAN, president of JProStl, the professional association for staff who work at Jewish organizations in St. Louis, recently an-nounced the 2010 honorees from the St. Louis Jewish community.

Jean Cavender of the Holocaust Museum and Learning Center will receive JProStl’s Visionary Award.  The other honorees inlclude Lou Albert, Marci Diamond, Ron Douglas, Cantor Ron Eichaker, Rabbi Shmuel Greenwald, Beth Brown and Joey Boime.  

JPro’s Emerging Leader award is going to Mike Sherwin, the tireless Managing Editor of the Jewish Light. Mike is always there for me and I am sure for you. Since he started at the Jewish Light in 2007, Mike has written stories, taken very good photographs, designed pages and kept the website updated. He is a wonderful editor and probably the most helpful newsman I have ever known. He’s even good looking.  If you get the idea that I am mad for Mike, you are right.

Stay tuned for more information on the 6th Annual JProStl luncheon on Thursday, Jan. 27 at the Staenberg Family Complex at 11:30 a.m. Information about the honorees and registration is available at

IF YOU HAVE EVER HAD SHINGLES you know what a miserable, debilitating disease it is.  The vaccine for it has been out of production, but thankfully production has begun again, and the vaccine is now available for those 60 or older at the Visiting Nurse Association (VNA), 11440 Olive Boulevard.  VNA also has whooping cough vaccine for children 10 and older and also for their parents and grandparents. Nearly 125 cases of whooping cough, a contagious illness caused by bacteria, have been reported in St. Louis.  For more information on the vaccines call 314-513-9922.  Hours at VNA are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.  No appointment is necessary. 

PASSIONATE, AVID READERS seem to seek out and prefer National Book Award-Winning books.  “The Year of Magical Thinking” by Joan Didion was one of those.  It won the award in November 2005.  In March 2007, Didion adapted it for the stage and the play opened on Broadway starring Vanessa Redgrave. Now you can see it presented by the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis in the Emerson Studio Theatre at Loretto-Hilton Center for the Performing Arts, 130 Edgar Road January 13 through January 30. Fontaine Syer, a local favorite and artistic director of St. Louis’ erstwhile Theatre Project Company, will portray Joan Didion in this one-woman play. For a complete schedule of the play and tickets visit the Rep Box Office located inside the Loretto Hilton Center, charge by phone by calling 314-968-4925, or visit the Rep’s online Box office at