Jews in the News: April 2019

Top row, from left: Rick Abrams, Michael Iskiwitch, Simone Bernstein, Cindy Lander Wallach and Dr. Ryan Fields.  SECOND ROW, FROM LEFT: Shira Kraft, Beth Feldman, Debra Klevens, Amy Fenster Brown. THIRD ROW: Helene J. Sherman, Lisa Mandel, Max Margulis, Keith Grosz and Helen Friedman. FOURTH ROW: Darien and Stephen Arnstein, Cary Mogerman, Jake Mann and the late Morton Deutch. 

Lynn and Dr. Carl Lyss and Rick Abrams will be honored at the 2019 JCRC Tzedek Award Celebration on May 28. The Lysses will receive the Batya Abramson-Goldstein Legacy Award, which recognizes those whose exceptional leadership and vision and have had an enduring impact on the Jewish Community Relations Council and its mission. According to the JCRC, the Lysses, who attend Congregation Shaare Emeth, are a constant presence, not only at JCRC events but within the whole of the community. Abrams, an attorney in private practice, will receive the Michael and Barbara Newmark Emerging Leader Award. He has served on the JCRC’s board of directors for the past four years. Abrams attends Congregation B’nai Amoona.

MERS Goodwill has named Michael Iskiwitch as the chairperson of the 2019 Board of Directors. Iskiwitch has served on the organization’s board since 2009, most recently as First Vice Chairperson. He has taken over the position from Darryl Jones. As chairman, Iskiwitch is responsible for chairing the full board meetings and executive committee meetings; serving as an ex officio member of all board committees; and providing oversight of development and implementation of agency policies. Iskiwitch is a member of Temple Emanuel. 

Simone Bernstein (Youth Empowerment) and Cindy Lander Wallach (Youth & Family) have been named as two of the 2019 Women of Achievement. They will be honored May 14 at the Ritz-Carlton in Clayton. Bernstein has demonstrated advocacy efforts for youth and families with young children since age 12. She is the co-founder and president of VolunTEEN Nation, a national non-profit organization she launched at the age of 17. More than one million youth have found volunteer opportunities through the site and service projects. Bernstein will graduate from George Washington University School of Medicine in May and will start a psychiatry residency at Washington University in July. Wallach is the founder of Birthday Joy, a non-profit organization that provides birthday presents to children in need. A former Jewish Light Unsung Hero, she also works with schools and organizations to teach children about empathy through Birthday Joy’s interactive presentations. Wallach is the president of SAGE Marketing and a member of Central Reform Congregation.

Dr. Ryan Fields was named chief of the Section of Surgical Oncology at Washington University School of Medicine. He is a general surgeon and a member of Temple Israel.

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Shira Kraft, director of Nishmah at the Jewish Community Center, will become the senior director of communications and development at the Jewish Women’s Archive (JWA) based in Brookline, Mass. JWA is a national organization dedicated to collecting and promoting the stories of Jewish women. Kraft will be leaving mid-April.  

“The Dream Stitcher” is a new book by Deborah Silverberg Gaal, formerly of St. Louis. It explores love, war, mystery and magic while examining the history of The Bayeux Tapestry and the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Gaal will be at the St. Louis County Library in Frontenac at 7 p.m. April 8 to discuss her book, which was named as a finalist in the category of Debut Fiction for the 2018 National Jewish Book Awards. 

Beth Feldman was one of six honored with a Pillar of Parkway award for her leadership and commitment to the welfare of the Parkway students. A member of United Hebrew Congregation, she is a former Parkway School District board president and volunteer. Feldman is a development associate, Professional Society, with the St. Louis Jewish Federation. 

Debra Klevens, yearbook and online news adviser at Parkway West High School, was one of four honored with the Columbia Scholastic Press Association’s Gold Key Distinguished Advisor. She was selected for her support for excellence in teaching journalism and in advising student media. Klevens attends United Hebrew.

Amy Fenster Brown has been promoted to regional manager of hospitality, distribution and events for Morris Visitor Publications. She will focus on hotel partnerships, efficient distribution and consistent branding for the St. Louis and New Orleans publications. Those locally are WHERE Magazine, WHERE Dining Guide, WHERE Maps and Saint Louis Bride Magazine. Fenster Brown attends Congregation Temple Israel. 

Helene J. Sherman co-authored the book, “Teaching Learners Who Struggle with Mathematics, Responding with Systematic Intervention and Remediation,” Fourth Edition, published by Waveland Press. It is geared towards teachers, families and tutors of students in K-8th grade who may struggle to understand and retain mathematics. Sherman, who holds a doctorate in education, is member of United Hebrew and a Jewish Light board trustee. 

Maddy Pass received a Silver Key from the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards and Greater Kansas City Writing Project for her poem “The Definition.” She competed against 900 other students in grades 7-12. Maddy is the daughter of Dr. Randy and Kristin Pass of Carbondale, Ill. and is in eighth grade at John Burroughs School. She and her family attend Temple Emanuel. Read her poem online at

Lisa Mandel has joined Tower Real Estate Group as a commercial broker specializing in working with investors. She is a member of Central Reform Congregation. 

Max Margulis is one of five attorneys being honored by Washington University with the Distinguished Law Alumni Award. Managing attorney with Margulis Law Group, he has been pursuing cases involved with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act for over 25 years.  

Keith Grosz recently opened Expense Recovery Group in Chesterfield. His company specializes in saving companies of all sizes money by reducing their overhead expenses, improving their bottom line and finding lost profits. Grosz is a member of United Hebrew.  

Helen Friedman is the new president of the St. Louis Psychological Association. She is a clinical psychologist in private practice, with specialties in sexual and relationship issues, dissociative disorders, posttraumatic stress, and gender identity. Friedman is an associate clinical professor in the Department of Community and Family Medicine, St. Louis University School of Medicine.

At the FOCUS St. Louis What’s Right with the Region Awards, Bob Fox will receive the 2019 FOCUS Leadership Award. This award is presented to individuals who demonstrate innovative leadership, generate a meaningful impact in the community and encourage strong community leadership in others. Fox is an entrepreneur, philanthropist and founder of NewSpace, Inc.

On May 5, Saul Mirowitz Jewish Community School will honor  Darien and Stephen Arnstein with the Community Service Award. The Arnsteins, who are members of Kol Rinah, have been active with Mirowitz for many years; first as parents and then as board members and volunteers. The Silk Foundation, administered by Susan Godwin Kofkoff, Richard Kofkoff and Gary Godwin, of blessed memory, will receive the Meyer and Marcelle Kranzberg Visionary Award. Prior to his death in 2016, Martin Silk directed that his estate establish a foundation to support organizations that enhance Jewish life. Among the beneficiaries are Saul Mirowitz Jewish Community School, the Jewish Light and WashU Hillel.

Family law attorney Cary Mogerman has joined Carmody MacDonald PC as a shareholder. He focuses his practice on complex matrimonial cases for business owners, professional practices, trusts and executive compensation in both privately held and publicly traded corporations and others. Mogerman is a member of Temple Israel. 

Jake Mann, a sophomore at Ladue Horton Watkins High School, won the Class 3, (120 lb weight) by finishing the wrestling state champion championship with a perfect 4-0. He is the first Ladue wrestler to win a state championship in 53 years. Jake is the son of Caroline and Eric Mann and attends Temple Israel.

The Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis has received a $3.8 million gift from the estate of Morton Deutch. The bequest is the largest gift from an individual in the Foundation’s nearly 100-year history. Deutch, who passed away last year, was a longtime supporter of the Foundation. His gift will help sustain the Foundation’s student programs for years to come.