Light gala marks 50 years — of column and newspaper

The Jewish Light’s Golden Light Gala on Oct. 6 will honor the paper’s past presidents and two of the paper’s icons: Editor-in-Chief Emeritus Robert A. Cohn (above in an undated file photo) and Lois Caplan (below, in a picture from 1963).  

By Lois Caplan

FIFTY YEARS AND A COUPLE MONTHS AGO, the late Alfred Fleishman phoned me and said “Lois, I am calling you for the board of the new Jewish newspaper, the St. Louis Jewish Light. We would like you to write a column for the paper . . .Try it.  Maybe you’ll like it.”  Try it I did, and boy did I like it. So here we are 50 years, two months, 12 days, six hours and 40 minutes later.

At 5:30 p.m. this coming Sunday, Oct. 6 at the Ritz Carlton, the community will gather for the Golden Light Gala celebrating 50 years of the Jewish Light being an independent newspaper. Part of the celebration will include a salute to my five decades with the paper as well as Editor-in-Chief Emeritus Bob Cohn’s brilliant 43 years.

For so many years I have been asking for support of your projects. Now I am asking for you to support mine, though a gold bauble for me is not — repeat not — included in the cost of the evening. What is included is the wherewithal to create digital archives to preserve our past, to build technology for continued media excellence and to secure our financial future.

I want to see all of you there Sunday night and hope that you will tell me about the success of your event that was featured in one of my past column. Nothing gives me more pleasure than hearing that, except, of course, you coming Sunday.

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THE HIDDEN HOLOCAUST AT SOBIBOR, a documentary produced and directed by Gary Hochman will be shown at 1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 13 at the Jewish Federation Kopolow Building, 12 Millstone Campus Drive. The film chronicles the work of Yoram Naimi, an Israeli Antiquities Authority regional supervisor and a graduate student at the Ben Gurion of the Negev University who has attempted to uncover more information about his uncles who perished at the Sobibor extermination camp in Poland. The film will be introduced by Richard Freund, the Maurice Greenberg Professor of History at the University of Hartford. Nearly 250,000 Jews brought to the site never returned.  The camp is being systematically evacuated and the documentary shows how technology, conventional field archeology and the testimonies of the survivors can be used together to uncover this history of the Holocaust that was nearly hidden for all time.

KATHLEEN SITZER, ARTISTIC DIRECTOR OF THE NEW JEWISH THEATRE, asked me to remind you that NJT’s season opens this week and that season tickets are still available. She explained that the sale of such tickets gives stability to the season. 

I think it is wonderful to experience the excitement of the 2013-14 season, which opens with Neil Simon’s “The Good Doctor” and continues with the one-woman show “Hannah Senesh,” in December, “The Whipping Man” in February, Arthur Miller’s “The Price” in March and ends, in May, with ”Old Jews Telling Jokes,” a compendium of Jewish humor that just closed in New York after running for more than a year.  To give you an idea of the importance of NJT, ours is the first independent theater to have a license to produce the show. 

Season tickets, FYI, cost significantly less than ones purchased individually, and they can always be exchanged at no cost. Subscriptions are $155 for J members and $165 for non-members.  Call the NJT box office at 314-442-3283 to order your subscription.

WHEN I WAS SELECTED A FEW YEARS AGO TO BE HONORED BY OWL, the Older Women’s League, I was thrilled to have been included among the other honorees, all of whom were truly outstanding. The other day my invitation to this year’s OWL event arrived announcing the date and place of the Outstanding Women’s League – no longer called older — on Thursday, Oct. 24 at the Hilton St. Louis Frontenac, 1335 South Lindbergh Boulevard. The event for the Women of Worth Awards dinner begins with a reception at 6 p.m., followed by dinner at 6:45. For reservations at $69 per person ($39 is tax deductible) make checks payable to OWL, 11710 Administration Drive, Suite 6, St. Louis Mo. 63146. Or you may call Barbara McQuitty, OWL Executive Director, at 314-989-0977.

This year’s crop of Outstanding Women of Worth is both larger and more prestigious than it has been in the past, and I suspect that most of you know most of the honorees.  For starters the special Women of Lifetime Achievement are Lenore Pepper and Henrietta Freedman. The eleven Women of Worth are Nanci Bobrow, Ronnie Brockman, Laura Cannon, Ruby Harriman Christian, Debra Hollingsworth, Phyllis Langsdorf, Susan W. Nall, Gwendolyn D. Packnett, Cheryl Hill Polk, Linda Weitzer Sher and Carol Voss. Part of the evening’s entertainment will be learning about these outstanding women. Having just celebrated my 90th birthday, I am thrilled to learn from Women of Worth that I am OUTSTANDING, not OLDER.