Kibbitzing with Caplan: Kudos, NJT season and more

By Lois Caplan

EILEEN SCHNEIDER EDELMAN is a bright, warm, caring woman who is more accustomed to giving than receiving. To my knowledge, Eileen never says “no,” whether it’s volunteering or funding a project. Does she expect public recognition for her generosity? No way. But it’s hard to keep a secret of what she does for the community.

Eileen is a graduate of Webster University who last month was selected as this year’s alumni recipient of the Loretto Award for Humanitarian Service. The award is presented to an alumnus who has given significantly in service to humanitarian and social justice issues. In recognition of this honor, Eileen will receive the award Saturday, Sept. 20, during Webster’s homecoming weekend at the Frontenac Hilton Hotel. The event is open to the public, and you may make your dinner reservations now at $50 per person by calling Jennifer Jezek-Taussig at 314-968-5944.

It is impossible to be brief about Eileen’s accomplishments because she has quietly contributed to so many causes that help various arts, education and medical organizations in our community. She was president of the Lasky Cleft Palette and Oral Cancer Auxiliary and chairman of Friends for the Gifted. She spearheaded the creation of a gazebo at Missouri Baptist Hospital, a peaceful place for families of patients. She co-chaired the St. Louis Jewish Book Festival, was president of B’nai Amoona Congregation Sisterhood, and is a major fundraiser for J Associates – and on and on. 

To tell you that I am very proud of my friend Eileen is understatement. I look forward to seeing many of you at Webster University’s Loretto Award for Humanitarian Service.

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FAITH SANDLER, executive director of the Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis, has provided brilliant leadership for 25 years for this outstanding organization whose mission is to provide financing and guidance for low-income students seeking higher education. 

Recently, Money magazine honored Faith for her work as executive director and named her Money’s 2014 MONEY Hero for Missouri, an honor given to one leader in each state whose work has had an extraordinary impact on the financial well-being of others.

The Scholarship Foundation was founded in 1920 with an emphasis on serving young Jewish men and women. The first interest-free loan of $15 was given to a young woman aspiring to attend a business college. Under Faith’s leadership during the past 25 years, the organization has grown to annually serve more than 600 students and awards more than $3.8 million in interest free loans and grants. 

The foundation also offers financial aid guidance and expertise to more than 5,000 students and families every year by providing assistance with navigating college admissions and financial aid processes.

Sandler runs this remarkable show. I think of her as a soft-spoken, intelligent woman who is brilliant at running this not-for-profit business, which is largely financed by the proceeds of two ScholarShops, one in Clayton and the other in Webster Groves. These are upscale retail shops that sell the amazingly stylish contributions given to the shop.  If you ask my daughters, they will tell you that the ScholarShops are better than the best at Plaza Frontenac. 

Congratulations to Faith. 

HAVE YOU SEEN the New Jewish Theatre’s 2014-2015 schedule of plays? Just in case you missed it, I thought I would remind you again as there were quite a few sold-out performances last season and you wouldn’t want to miss any of this season’s shows. 

It begins with “The Diary of Anne Frank” starting Sept. 11, followed by “Becoming Dr. Ruth.” The first production of 2015 will be “Imagining Madoff,” a fantasia about the Ponzi schemer, and then in March, “Sight Unseen,” directed by artistic associate Bobby Miller. The season closes with “My Mother’s Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding,” directed by Edward Coffield, who brought us the 2014 production of the hysterical “Old Jews Telling Jokes.” For tickets, call 314-442-3283 or visit newjewishtheatre.org.

“THE VIOLINIST” is a play about Thomas, a 13-year-old boy with autism who has dangerous villains pursuing him. The tale begins with the mysterious death of Dr. Neal Asher, a famed neurobiologist on the verge of a medical breakthrough for autism.  With his keen sense of observation and annoying persistence, Thomas discovers the clues Dr. Asher left behind.  As he gets closer to finding the killer, powerful forces at the hospital and in politics form unlikely alliances to stop him. In the end, Thomas must bury his fears and muster the courage he never knew he had to save himself and his family. 

“The Violinist,” written by the mother of a child with autism, will be presented Aug. 8-10 at the Gaslight Theatre, 358 N. Boyle Avenue. All proceeds go directly to  Action for Autism, a St. Louis charity. For tickets and more information, visit thevioliniststl.org or call 314-488-9197.

CARD CARE CONNECTION, the St. Louis nonprofit founded by a young Jewish woman, Aleeza Granote, is holding its second annual Beauty Bash fundraiser from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, July 26 at the St. Louis Galleria’s Garden Court. 

The organization provides handmade cards and care packages to lift the spirits of people with cancer. Granote, a pediatric oncology social worker at SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center, was the subject of a feature in a 2013 issue of the Jewish Light’s Oy! Magazine (check it out online at stljewishlight.com/granote). As of April, 2014, the organization has created 13,000 cards.

The Beauty Bash will offer makeovers, hairstyles, manicures and massages,  and families can enjoy a DJ, photo booth, face painting, food, a silent auction and activities for children. 

A donation of $14 is suggested per person. Walk-ins are welcome, but RSVPs are appreciated. Email [email protected] or call 314-477-0084. For more information visit cardcareconnection.com.