Newsmakers: September 2020

Bradley J. Rayford
Betsy Cohen

Betsy Cohen, executive director of the St. Louis Mosaic Project, has been selected as a St. Louis Council of Construction Consumers 2020 Best Practices and Diversity Awards finalist. The St. Louis Mosaic Project is a regional initiative within the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership and the World Trade Center St. Louis. It works to attract and retain foreign-born people of all ethnicities and skill levels to our region, thus growing our multicultural population. Cohen, who belongs to Temple Emanuel, says her biggest accomplishment as a diversity inclusion leader is how our region has embraced, welcomed and grown our foreign-born community.  

Philanthropists Carol and Michael  Staenberg have been recognized by the Jewish Community Center Association of North America for their lifelong commitment to the JCC movement and for their bold investments in multiple JCCs across the Midwest. In addition to donating millions to build JCCs in St. Louis and Denver, the couple also provided leadership gifts that funded renovation of the Omaha JCC and Kansas City JCC. 

Acknowledging the Staenbergs’ gifts, Doron Krakow, president and CEO of JCC Association, said: “The Staenbergs are, quite simply, extraordinary. The impact of a JCC on Michael’s life left an indelible mark on him — a mark that has resulted in both he and Carol making the JCC movement the object of such extraordinary devotion that their names adorn JCCs across four U.S. states. We are honored by their leadership and their incredible dedication to the impact of JCCs on individuals, on families and on  entire communities.” 

The Staenbergs belong to Central Reform Congregation. 

Heschel J. Raskas has joined the board of directors of Prizmah: Center for Jewish Day Schools, which is the network for Jewish day schools and yeshivas. Its goal is to enhance the schools’ ability to excel and thrive by deepening talent, catalyzing resources and accelerating educational innovation. Raskas, a member of Young Israel, was a founding board chair of Yeshivat Kadimah High School in St. Louis.

The St. Louis Jewish community has welcomed several new hires at its organizations and agencies during the coronavirus pandemic. They include: 

Lauren Abraham, as director of the Student to Student program operated by the Jewish Community Relations Council. She oversees Jewish high school students who come together from all three branches of Judaism as torch lighters to combat anti-Semitism and share the Jewish narrative with students everywhere. She is married to Rabbi Jeffrey Abraham, who assumed a rabbinic post at Congregation B’nai Amoona in July. 

Amy Bornstein, who has returned to Jewish Federation of St. Louis as major gifts manager. She is responsible for cultivation of our community’s most generous donors and developing the next generation of philanthropists to Federation.


Alex Levine Clardy as Jewish Family Services’ chief development officer. Clardy has more than 12 years of nonprofit development experience. For the past five years, she was the development director of PROMO, Missouri’s statewide LGBTQ advocacy organization.  

Jeremy Goldmeier, as director of communications at Congregation Shaare Emeth. He most recently served as public relations and digital media manager at the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis.

Shanee Kay, as H.F. Epstein Hebrew Academy director of development. She attends Young Israel as well as Chabad of Washington University, where her husband is a student.

Amy Lutz, as special project associate for the Holocaust Museum and Learning Center. Her charge is to balance a variety of projects with a special focus on communications and digital media.

Maggie Walkoff, as production designer at the St. Louis Jewish Light. Walkoff, who grew up in Town & Country and attends United Hebrew, graduated from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, in May.

Brittany Wolf, as the Jewish Community Center’s membership coordinator. 

In other St. Louis Jewish community news, Josh Corson is the new board chairman of Covenant Place. He is a member of Congregation Temple Israel.

In his new book, “More Than Just Hummus: A Gay Jew Discovers Israel in Arabic, “Matt Adler, a Washington University alumnus, takes readers on a trek through Israel’s Jewish, Muslim, Christian and Druze communities. Adler said that the book, inspired by his blog, will help readers experience what it is like being a gay man traveling in largely conservative communities in a liberal country. He lives in Washington, D.C.

Only one lawyer per practice area in the St. Louis metropolitan area is honored as a “2021 Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers in America. The following Jewish St. Louisans are among this elite group:

David V. Capes and Jeffrey A. Cohen, both of Capes, Sokol, Goodman & Sarachan. They were recognized for “Litigation and Controversy – Tax” and “Business Organizations,” respectively.

Leonard J. Frankel of Frankel, Rubin, Bond, Dubin, Siegel & Klein was named for “Mediation.” Frankel, a member of Congregation B’nai Amoona, is the former president of the Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis. 

Alan Freed of Paule, Camazine & Blumenthal was named for “Family Law Mediation.” He is a member of CRC and leads its High Holiday choir.

Robert L. Newmark, managing partner of the St. Louis office of Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, was named for “Corporate Law.” A member of CRC, he serves on the board of Jewish Federation and on the national board of the American Jewish Committee.

Michelle Spirn was named for “Family Law.” In 2017, she opened Spirn Family Law, which represents clients in divorce, legal separations and related actions. She attends Shaare Emeth.

“Best Lawyers” Note: Newsmakers would like to include St. Louis Jewish lawyers who were named Best Lawyers® 2021 in an upcoming installment. Please send those names, along with a headshot and any synagogue affiliation to [email protected] The deadline for Best Lawyers submissions is Thursday, Oct. 1.