Women of Worth includes five Jewish women

Columnist Lois Caplan


It would be ridiculous to say that Jewish women have cornered the market on honors and awards. However, when you look at the list of those who will be honored by the Older Women’s League (OWL), you’ll find that of the 11 outstanding women selected, five are Jewish, as are the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award and the evening’s keynote speaker. Disproportionate but dynamite!

The event will take place Thursday, Oct. 14 at OWL’s Women of Worth (WOW) annual dinner at the downtown Missouri Athletic Club. Lucy Lopata will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award for her extraordinary generosity and leadership in philanthropy to Washington University, the Jewish Community Centers and service in the arts in the St. Louis community. In addition, whether it is the Butterfly House, or the Lopata Garden at the Missouri Botanical Garden or a sculpture garden at the Sheldon, you will find modest, gentle and generous Lucy Lopata’s name. Keynote speaker is Rabbi Susan Talve of Central Reform Congregation whose awards are multitudinous and include the Jewish Federation’s Woman of Valor Award, the Trumpet of Justice Award by the Institute of Peace and Justice and the Brotherhood and Sisterhood Award of the National Conference of Community and Justice.  My feeling about Rabbi Susan is that someone will have to reinvent the day for her so that she can do all she does for her congregation, which adores her, and for the community

Hold on to your hat (or should I say yarmulke) while I list the 2010 Jewish Women of Worth. Hillary Friedman is Chair of the Advisory Council of the National Council of Jewish Women and a pioneer educator in Medical Skills Communication and Family Life Education courses. Lesley Levin, who has had a passion for social justice since she was a teenager, was one of the founding members of the Maternal Child Family Health Coalition in St. Louis. She is a prison ministry volunteer. Linda Riekes, award-winning St. Louis Public Schools educator, is currently development officer and liaison to the Public School’s Foundation. Sheri Sherman, now in her third decade as a volunteer, has co-chaired the Jewish Book Festival and the Jewish Film Festival. She is on the board of the St. Louis Jewish Light where she is its Development Chair. Judy Zafft, last only because her name begins with Z, is past president of the Miriam Foundation, which serves children with multiple learning disabilities and their families and is past president of the St. Louis Breast Cancer Coalition. Those outstanding but unfortunate women who are not Jewish (a must for this column) are Ethyl Byndon, Marie Davis, Bridgett Flood, Dory Potts, Edna Dell Weinel R.N. and Sheila Williams.

For reservations for the dinner at $69 per person call the OWL office at 314-989-0977 or go on line at [email protected].  

FYI – OWL- the Voice of Midlife and Older Women is a national advocacy organization dedicated to achieving economic and social equity for all women through legislative action at the local, state and national levels.  Local projects include a divorce support group, health care, financial education and preserving Social Security.

Go! St. Louis, a local non-profit organization, is kicking off its annual Read, Right and Run Marathon, which challenges kids in elementary and middle schools to help others in need while improving their own health and fitness. “The goal of the Read, Right and Run Marathon is to develop reading-proficient, physically fit and community minded children by challenging them to Read 26 books, Right the community with 26 good deeds, and Run 26.2 miles over a six-month period.” Nancy Lieberman, President of GO! St. Louis, explained.                

To celebrate its 10th anniversary the organization has created the “Share a Pair” program, a bi-state communitywide shoe drive. All shoes collected by the kids go to MERS-Goodwill to help fund its mission of assisting local people to find work and live more independently.  According to Dr. Lewis Chartock, President and CEO at MERS-Goodwill, “Gently worn athletic shoes are preferred, but any size or style will be welcome.” Throughout the area there will be collection boxes where students can drop their donations. The shoes will be picked up from there and sold at MERS-Goodwill stores.  To involve your youngster and his/her school in Read, Right and Run, contact Mike Cosgrove, director of special events at [email protected] or call 314-727-0800.

FOR ART LOVERS WHO NEVER GET ENOUGH OF HENRI MATISSE, Carol Shapiro is opening her fall session of the University of Carol with two illustrated lectures on the great artist. Then she adds James Whistler, the collection of the outstanding collector Dr. Gachet, ceramics from craft to high art, Gustav Klimt, and she closes her weekly lectures with Mary Cassatt, the first American woman to exhibit with the French Impressionists. Classes start Oct. 13 and continue through Dec. 6, and you may choose either Wednesday or Thursday afternoons or Monday evenings. For more information and to register for the University of Carol, call Carol at 314-567-6553 or visit her at [email protected].