Jews in the News: March 1, 2017

TOP ROW, FROM LEFT:  Sally Levy, Adam Ariel, Alex Ozar, Amanda Packman and Jill Schupp.SECOND ROW, From Left: Jeff Vines, Randy Vines, Will Kodner, Tali Katz, and Dr. Mauricio Lisker-Melman.THIRD ROW, From Left:Bob Kaiser, Eva Amelia Goodman, Gavriel Weiner, Lynne Prywitch and Debbie Manber Kupfer.

Sally Levy will be honored as a Major Contributor to the Arts at the St. Louis Visionary Awards on April 24. Levy and her late husband, John D. Levy, have been major supporters of Opera Theatre of St. Louis (OTSL) for more than 40 years. She is the namesake of OTSL’s Sally S. Levy Opera Center. Last year, she and her family provided a $1 million gift to create an OTSL endowment, the Sally S. Levy Family Fund for New Works. She is one of six local women who will be recognized for their contributions to the arts.

Adam Ariel and Alex Ozar of St. Louis will be ordained March 19 during a convocation at Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. Ariel is the son of Michael and Rose Ann Ariel; Alex is the son of Stuart and Betty Ozar. Ariel and Ozar will be among 130 musmachim (ordained rabbis) celebrated at the event, which will be presented as a live webcast to the public at

Fifth-grade teacher Amanda Packman has been voted Teacher of the Year at Koch Elementary School in the Riverview Gardens School District. Now in her sixth year of teaching, Packman is in her second year at Koch Elementary. She is a member of Congregation Temple Israel.

Democratic Missouri State Sen. Jill Schupp received the first Betty Sims Mental Health Advocacy Award for her recent legislation that mandates all Missouri school districts to provide suicide prevention/intervention training to administration and staff. This award was established by Provident, a mental health service organization, to honor Sen. Sims’ efforts to improve mental health services in Missouri. 

Sandy Jaffe, CEO of Booksource, recently donated $250,000 to the Alzheimer’s Association St. Louis Chapter. This gift will fund outreach to health care providers in rural and diverse communities as well as care consultants at various locations. Jaffe has served on the Alzheimer’s Association Board for more than 20 years.

Jeff and Randy Vines’ company, STL-Style, is  one of five North Star honorees selected by Metro Theatre Company. The honorees embody the North Star’s unique role as a constant guiding light, helping others find their way, a theme related to the theater company’s play “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane.” The Vines’ entrepreneurial spirit, civic pride for St. Louis and partnership with urban revitalization organizations have helped rejuvenate the Cherokee Street area and has benefited the St. Louis area as a whole. 

Will Kodner, a fourth-grade student at Spoede Elementary in the Ladue School District, won the school’s annual spelling bee. Twenty-three third- and fourth-graders participated. Will and his parents, Beth and Bob Kodner, attend Congregation Shaare Emeth.  

Attorney Tali Katz has joined Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale P. C. as an associate. She represents businesses in a variety of commercial disputes.

Dr. Mauricio Lisker-Melman has received the Washington University School of Medicine 2017 Distinguished Educator Award. Lisker-Melman, professor of medicine in the university’s division of gastroenterology, was honored for his devotion to teaching and his dedication to mentoring residents and clinical fellows. He attends Traditional Congregation. 

Bob Kaiser, litigation partner at Armstrong Teasdale, has been honored by Missouri/Kansas Super Lawyers as a Top 50 St. Louis area lawyer for the fourth consecutive year. He was also named Lawyer of the Year for the third year in a row for Labor and Employment Law by The Best Lawyers in America. The awards recognize outstanding lawyers who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. Kaiser is a member of Nusach Hari B’nai Zion

Dr. Ira Kodner, emeritus professor of surgery at Washington University School of Medicine, has been named the 2016 President’s Award recipient from the St. Louis Metropolitan Medical Society. Kodner was recognized for his surgical career and his national leadership in the area of medical ethics. He attends Temple Israel.

Evan Amelia Goodman has joined Brighton Agency’s health care team as an account manager. She will manage the agency’s health care clients and work on the Medicaid exchange program.

Former St. Louisan Gavriel Weiner is one of three Colorado members of the REI outdoor team to be featured in the outfitter’s 2017 ad campaign. She is pictured in an ad climbing outside Estes Park. 

Lynne Prywitch, owner of Goodies For Guests, has started The Tasty Tray Company, featuring kosher gourmet candy, nuts, chocolate and dried fruits. 

Local author Debbie Manber Kupfer has released “Umbrae,” the third book of her P.A.W.S. Saga series. The main character travels to Safed, Israel, to meet with a mystical rabbi who helps her uncover her family’s secrets, including how her grandparents escaped from Vienna during World War II. Kupfer, a member of United Hebrew Congregation, will sign copies at the Book House in Maplewood on April 8 and at the St. Louis Public Library Schlafly Branch in the Central West End on April 22.