Camp Sabra’s 50th birthday, images of faith, binge-worthy TV

Elisheva Heit’s award-winning arrangement at the St. Louis Art Museum’s Art in Bloom contest. Heit will lead an upcoming Jewish Arts & Soul event on Aug. 8 at the J.   

Ellen Futterman, Editor

Celebrating Sabra

Alums of Camp Sabra can kick off the camp’s 50th birthday celebration at the Moonrise Hotel in the Delmar Loop from 7 to 10 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 8.

All are invited to celebrate Sabra and relive memories via a live stream of the 2019 final night camp festivities, including the canoe ceremony and the Skipper and Tomahawk awards. There is no cost to attend the event; each guest is entitled to one free drink ticket and light hors d’oeuvres. A cash bar will be available. RSVPs requested at 

The event also will help launch Camp Sabra’s 24-hour fundraising campaign, All-in-for-Sabra Day, from 2 p.m. Aug. 8 to 2 p.m. Aug. 9. Several donors are on board to match donations, dollar-for-dollar, on this day. If you’re interested in becoming a matcher, contact Staci Gerchen at 314-442-3109 or [email protected]

New Mt. Sinai Cemetery advertisement

Flower power 

Also on Aug. 8 is Jewish Arts & Soul’s “Flowers for Shabbat” event, where participants will learn the art of flower arranging with Elisheva Heit. Heit owns Flamenco Flowers in University City and is the winner at the 2019 Art in Bloom exhibit, the St. Louis Art Museum’s annual celebration where area florists reimagine dozens of works from the museum’s collections. are imaginatively interpreted through floral design by the region’s most talented florists.

“Flowers for Shabbat” will take place from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the J’s Staenberg Family Complex, 2 Millstone Campus Drive. Registration is $30 and space is limited; contact Amy Bornstein at 314-442-3152 or [email protected]    

Reflecting religion

St. Louis University wants you to share your photos of where you see and feel religion in the St. Louis area with its “Lived Religion in the Digital Age” project. People of all ages and identities can submit original photographs of religion in St. Louis for the #ArchCityReligion community photo burst.

This community-generated effort to collect photographs reflecting religion as it is lived and practiced throughout the region (including the city, county, and surrounding bi-state areas) is part of a research initiative at the university supported by the Henry Luce Foundation. Participation is voluntary and contributes to this study by increasing understanding of religious practices, ideas, places and experiences. 

The project is directed by Rachel McBride Lindsey, assistant professor of American religion and culture, and Pauline Lee, associate professor of Chinese religion and culture. Lindsey and Lee are exploring where people experience religion in the St. Louis region and are in the process of creating a digital map and database to show the results. While the map will include temples, churches, mosques and other houses of worship, it will also feature places and public art that isn’t usually considered within a religious perspective. The project asks people to think outside the box. 

If interested, contributing photos should illustrate where photographers see (or hear, smell, touch or taste) religion in their daily life. 

To participate, submit an original photograph in one of five categories: spaces, senses, words, things or practices. For more information or to submit a photo, visit; questions can be directed to [email protected]

Netflix and chill

During last week’s brutal heat spell, I noticed several folks on social media asking for binge-watch worthy recommendations. Allow me to toss this one out: the Israeli TV series “Shtisel,” now streaming on Netflix.

I know I’m late to the party — Zelda Sparks, who heads the St. Louis Jewish Film Festival, enthusiastically mentioned “Shtisel” to me months ago, as did Marci Mayer Eisen, director of Jewish Federation’s Millstone Institute. Sorry ladies, but now I’m firmly on the bandwagon, with feet and tuchus planted. 

“Shtisel” focuses on the lives, loves and tribulations of patriarch Shulem Shtisel and his haredi family who live in an ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Jerusalem. Funny, sad, part soap opera, part history lesson, the various subplots make for compelling watching, with likeable though flawed characters who are totally relatable. 

Two seasons are currently streaming, with a third in the works. The only drawback is having to read subtitles — the series is in Hebrew, with sprinkles of Yiddish — but it’s worth it because “Shtisel” is that good. But an English version is in the works. “Friends” co-creator Marta Kaufmann and her producer daughter Hannah KS Cantor recently announced that they are adapting the series for Amazon Prime. Set in Brooklyn, N.Y., “Emmis” will closely resemble its Israeli predecessor, but will do more to explain Orthodoxy to non-Jewish viewers.

But don’t wait until then. Start “Shtisel”-ing now.

News and Schmooze is a weekly column by Editor Ellen Futterman. Email Ellen at: [email protected]