Kibbitzing with Caplan: Fairy tales can come true

Marion Lipsitz is pictured at home in 2012 for a story on her when she was named one of the Jewish Light’s Unsung Heroes that year. 

By Lois Caplan

FAIRY TALES CAN COME TRUE, particularly with your help. This is the concept of a concert at Powell Hall to benefit the Tuition Assistance Fund at University City Children’s Center (UCCC) on Saturday evening, Aug. 24. The event will begin with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres at 6:30 p.m., followed by the 7:30 p.m. concert and concluding with a dessert reception. More than half of the children at UCCC, a child care and pre-school serving children ages six weeks to six years, come from low-income families and are receiving tuition assistance.  For reservations for the fundraiser at $150 per person call 314-726-0148.

The evening’s program, “Fairy Tales Can Come True,” includes four outstanding musicians playing compositions by renowned composers, all with childhood themes. The artists are Melissa Brooks, associate principal cellist of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra; pianists Catherine Kautsky and Ruth Price; and soprano Elizabeth Macfarland. Lilli Kautsky, longtime early childhood educator, will be honored with the “What Happens Early in Life Lasts a Lifetime” award while Leslie Schultz and the Ladue Garden Club, both UCCC boosters, will receive the “For the Love of Children” award. In honor of Kautsky, a resident of the Gatesworth, David Smith, Charlie Deutch and fellow owners of the Gatesworth at One McKnight Place have committed to a sponsorship of “Fairy Tales Can Come True.” You too help wishes come true, too, by attending, or better yet, agreeing to a sponsorship.


I DO NOT REMEMBER A TIME when Marion Lipsitz did not live in St. Louis.  She tells me that she has been here for 72 years and has loved every minute of it, just as everyone has loved her. Now, for crying out loud, she is moving to Falls Church, Va. Two of her three daughters live 15 minutes from Goodwin House, the retirement community where she has leased an apartment. Is she delighted about it? Hell, no, but this is life, she told me, while we both sniffled knowing that all of us (provided we live long enough) will share that experience.

I have always thought of Marion as Mrs. Hadassah, but in reality she has been as involved equally in many other activities. She spent so many years employed by the Jewish Community Center that when I was there I always expected to see her in the building as if it were her home.  In a way it was. I have not asked her how many new members she recruited for the JCC or for Hadassah, but I am certain that it was a huge number. At 93, Marion is still the epitome of brains and beauty, a combination much admired by almost everyone.

So now it is time to say goodbye.  On Sunday, Aug. 11 from 2—4 p.m. there will be a party at the JCC Staenberg Arts and Education Building where Marion will be honored by the St. Louis chapter of Hadassah, St. Louis Jewish Light, JCC and Holocaust Museum and Learning Center.  This will be a grand opportunity for reminiscences, hugs, tears and goodbyes for all of us. Do come as Marion is hoping to see all of you.


LENORE PEPPER HAS BEEN SELECTED as the Older Women’s League (OWL) outstanding woman to receive the Women of Worth 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award.My feeling is that Lenore, who has a five-page, single-spaced bio, is without peer. However, within the next few weeks OWL will announce the names of the other special women to be honored as Women of Worth. In the meanwhile, save Thursday, Oct. 24 at the Frontenac Hilton as the date for the Women of Worth dinner.


THE OTHER NIGHT I SAW MADAMA BUTTERFLY, produced by the Union Avenue Opera Company. While I waited for the performance to start, I perused the printed program. Wow, I thought, St, Louis has really grown up a lot. The information contained in the program advertised the fact that we now have year-round grand opera here. While Opera Theatre of St. Louis has just completed its 2013 season, the Union Avenue Opera Company has one more opera to present, Wagner’s “Die Walkure,” which you can see Aug. 16, and 17 and Aug. 23 and 24. Believe it or not, we will also have Winter Opera this year starting with “Faust” by Charles Gounod, followed by Verdi’s “Falstaff” and concluding with “Lucia di Lammermoor” by Donizetti. For more information call 314-865-0038 or visit