Jews in the News: Week of June 5, 2013

Holly Elfanbaum was recently installed as President of Congregation B’nai Amoona’s Sisterhood for a two-year term. She is just completing her term as Secretary of the synagogue’s executive board.

Missy Korenblat-Hanin, a founding board member, is the new President of Nishmah; St. Louis Jewish Women’s Project. Nishmah is a department of the JCC whose mission is to inspire, engage and support girls and women through educational, spiritual and social programming. Korenblat-Hanin is a member of Congregation B’nai Amoona.

Debbie Bram, Director of Jewish Life and Learning at Congregation Shaare Emeth, is now the first Jewish educator from the St. Louis area to graduate from the executive master’s degree program of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion with a master’s degree in religious education. Bram was one of 16 graduates of the inaugural class of this new program and received her diploma at its New York campus last month. Bram starting working for Shaare Emeth last July.

Dr. Larry Levens graduated first in his class from The Medical School of Hannover (Germany). Having traveled to Germany every month for two years, he is now the only orthodontist in the U.S. with two degrees in Orthodontics and the only Orthodontist with a master’s degree in Lingual Orthodontics (MScLO). A member of Central Reform Congregation, Levens also received the Volker Rummel Award for his research. Levens has been asked by 3M Orthodontics to speak nationally on this new technique.


Noam Kantor and Meredith Joseph were crowned Clayton High School Prom King and Queen. A Congregation B’nai Amoona member, Noam is the son of Lynnsie and David Kantor and will be attending Emory University in the fall. A member of Central Reform Congregation, Meredith is the daughter of Daniel and the late Ilene Joseph and will be attending the University of Michigan. Both Noam and Meredith received the Clayton Key Award; seniors recognize their peers who exhibit outstanding humane characteristics that greatly enhance the quality of students’ experience at CHS. Noam was also the recipient of eight other awards and will be attending the National Debate Finals in Birmingham this month.

Jonathan Brand, a member of Congregation Shaare Emeth, graduated valedictorian from Parkway Central High School. Son of Sandy and Carey Brand, he will be attending the University of Michigan in the fall.

Betsy Gallop Dennis will lead the Mirowitz Jewish Community School as Board President for a two-year term. A Congregation B’nai Amoona member, Dennis is the Alumni/Auxiliary Relations Manager at the Barnes-Jewish Hospital Foundation.

Jon Baris was recently installed as the President of the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis. A Congregation B’nai Amoona member, Baris is the Assistant Dean for Student Services at Saint Louis University School of Law.

One of the newest members of the National Academy of Sciences is Robert Schreiber, Ph.D., Alumni Endowed Professor of Pathology and Immunology and professor of molecular biology at Washington University. Election to the Academy is considered one of the highest honors that can be bestowed upon an American scientist or engineer. Schreiber is a member of Central Reform Congregation.

St. Louis native Howard Mirowitz  was awarded Volunteer of the Year in Orange County. He was nominated by the Jewish Federation and Family Services of Orange County and serves as treasurer of its board of directors. Mirowitz is the son of the late Shirley and Leo Mirowitz.

Marilyn Fox, civic leader, philanthropist and community volunteer, was awarded an honorary degree during Washington University’s 152nd Commencement ceremony; Doctor of Humanities. Fox has devoted her energy and resources to countless causes focused on making the St. Louis community a better place to live. Fox and her husband, Sam Fox, also are strong supporters of Washington University. They are members of the Danforth Circle of the university’s William Greenleaf Eliot Society. In recognition of their steadfast support and generosity, one of the seven schools bears the family name: the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts. 

For the third year in a row, Ande Siegel, daughter of Debby and Gary Siegel, and friend Menea Kefalov came in first place in the University of Missouri’s Creating Original Music Project. Their winning song with lyrics, This Generation, is a song about the importance of their generation taking responsibility for guiding the future of our planet. Ande and Menea competed against other middle school students statewide with three entries alone coming from their sixth grade class at Ladue Middle School. Winning composers and their schools win cash prizes and the students performed their pieces at Mizzou.

Beth Moritz, English teacher at Pattonville High School, was named Pattonville Teacher of the Year after being named Pattonville High School Teacher of the Year. She is now a candidate for the Missouri Teacher of the Year.

BAUSY, Congregation B’nai Amoona’s USY chapter, elected Paige Krug as President. She is the daughter of Elise and Mark Krug. The Kol Rinah USY chapter, KRSTL, has a new president in Sophie Aroesty. She is the daughter of Karen Aroesty and Steve Aroesty. Both Paige and Sophie are seniors at Ladue Horton Watkins High School. Mia Feldman is the incoming President of the NFTY-UHTYG chapter of United Hebrew Congregation. She is the daughter of Beth and Buddy Feldman and is a junior at Parkway Central High School. Kelsey Culp became the President of TIFTY of Temple Israel. Daughter of Jennifer and Cory Culp, Kelsey is a junior at American High School. Congregation Shaare Emeth’s NFTY-SETYG chapter President is Jordyn Miller. She is the daughter of Jodi and Jeff Miller and is a junior at Parkway North High School.

Alana Shapiro is a new member of the Leadership Council of the Arthritis Foundation Eastern Missouri Chapter. A Senior Account Executive with the St. Louis Jewish Light, Shapiro will provide education and advocacy for the foundation.

Emilie Docter and Katie Garland are the recipients of the Brown School of Social Work 2013 Dr. Clara Louise Myers Outstanding Practicum Student Award. Docter has completed her practicum with the Millstone Institute of the Jewish Federation of St. Louis while Garland completed hers last year with Crown Center for Senior Living. They were nominated by their supervisors and selected from among their peers for demonstrated social work professionalism and excellence in their field of interest. Docter was honored from students in the Individualized concentration and Katie for Public Health. Docter is now a Development Associate with the Federation NextGen department and Garland is seeking employment.

Danny Babitz, a financial representative with Northwestern Mutual, has been named Director of Internship Development for the Northwestern Mutual office in St. Louis. He will oversee the development of the entire internship program for all district offices affiliated with Northwestern Mutual’s Network Office in downtown St. Louis. Babitz is a member of United Hebrew Congregation.

Julie Siegel has been admitted as partner to the law firm of Frankel, Rubin, Bond, Dubin, Siegel & Klein, P.C. The primary focus of her practice is Personal Injury and Workers Compensation, where she specializes in assisting injured individuals. Greg Kessler has been named as Of Counsel to the firm. His areas of practice are Criminal Law, Civil Litigation, Commercial Law, Real Estate, Family Law and Personal Injury.

Lydia Rasis was recently honored for her 20 years as Director of Operations of Rainbow Village at the “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” Gala. This year, Rainbow Village is celebrating its 40th anniversary of providing homes for people with developmental disabilities in the St. Louis area.  When Rasis began, there were 14 homes and now there are 55 Rainbow Village homes with 250 residents in neighborhoods throughout St. Louis and St. Charles.  

Arch Grants, the St. Louis-based global business competition announced their 2013 Global Startup Competition winners. Among the winners is MMBiosensing, a biotechnology platform developer that was founded in 2011 by Dr. Amos Danielli. The company developed a medical diagnostic device for quicker detection of heart attacks. Sparo Labs is another winner — its co-founders, Abigail Cohen and Andrew Brim, will be graduating from Washington University this month. The company has developed a pocket-sized spirometer which enables patients to monitor asthma. Notal Vision, an Israeli company with its U.S. office in St. Louis, does a home-based telemonitoring system for patients with macular degeneration. Each of the winners will receive $50,000 and free support services. 

Josh Bressler, son of Barb and Kenny Bressler, was awarded the Edgar F. Shannon Award at his recent graduation from the University of Virginia. This award is given to the top graduating student in the undergraduate class of 340 students at the McIntire School of Commerce.Bressler is a member of Congregation Shaare Emeth and Nusach Hari B’nai Zion.

Jennifer Bernstein was awarded the JCC Emerging Leader Award. She has served on a variety of committees as well as chairing the Shalom Baby Program. Bernstein currently works at the Jewish Family & Children’s Service as the Coordinator for the Child Abuse Prevention program. She is also the VP of Advocacy for NCJW and will soon be transitioning to become the State Policy Advocacy Vice-Chair. Receiving the JCC Richard Weiss President’s Award was Alice Ludmer. A member of Congregation Shaare Emeth, Ludmer has chaired many committees at the J including the Jewish Book Festival and the Jewish Film Festival. She is currently serving as the chair of the Adult Services Department.

Former St. Louis resident Rebecca Hendin was the winner in a design competition, creating one of London’s largest pieces of public art. Entitled ‘All Paths Lead to Foyles,’ the 95’ x 28’ mural is on the front of the new Foyles bookstore. A 2006 graduate of Parkway Central High School, Hendin is currently a resident in London, where she is pursuing a master’s degree from Central Saint Martins College.