Jewish press in the Arizona heat; Cycling for tzedakah

Editor Ellen Futterman

BY ELLEN FUTTERMAN

Jewish press meets in the Arizona heat

Last week, the Jewish Light was among the 40 or so Jewish newspapers, magazines and news services nationwide that attended the American Jewish Press Association annual conference in Scottsdale, Ariz. Much of the three-day conference centered on many of the issues that face Jewish newspapers – actually, most all newspapers – including using social media to attract and grow readership, doing more with less resources, fine tuning and redesigning our respective websites, attracting new (and maintaining) streams of revenue and creating content that is lively, informative and imaginative.

The icing on the cake of the conference was the Light winning two 2009 Rockower Awards, both for our special section on Earth Day and the Environment, which ran in April of that year, and terrific panel discussion on the immigration controversy in Arizona, stemming from the passage of SB 1070, which goes into effect at the end of July. The panel, which included a local rabbi, gave those of us not from the state great insight on how residents have been dealing with the issue for nearly a decade.

Of course the big topic of discussion in between sessions was the heat, where the mercury pushed beyond 100 degrees every day. Despite the three-digit temperature, it still felt cooler than St. Louis. Guess there really is something to this dry heat thing. Also see our Publisher Larry Levin’s blog on AJPA at www.stljewishlight.com.

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Cycling for tzedakah

Corey and Michelle Iken of Creve Coeur are biking to raise $5,000 each to help eliminate Juvenile Diabetes. The two plan to ride 50 miles in the annual “Ride to Cure” for Juvenile Diabetes Research, a bike race that takes places in different locations throughout the summer. They are biking Aug. 14 in La Crosse, Wisc.

“We picked La Crosse because we have great friends there whose son has type 1 diabetes,” explained Michelle, 32, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was 9-years-old. Since then, she has checked her blood sugars approximately eight to 10 times a day.  She wears an insulin pump to continually give herself a steady dose of insulin but just as with any diet, she is constantly working to keep those blood sugars in line.  This takes extreme care and the support of many friends and family, including their two dogs who have woken her up to tell her they “sensed” she was low.

“We are really looking forward to the fundraising, the ride and the ultimate goal of $10,000,” said Corey, 33. “Training has been the toughest part with all these weather changes.  I think once we get a groove going, we’ll be riding 50 miles in no time.”

Currently, Corey holds the position of Vice President of Outreach for the Young Professionals Division (YPD) and Michelle recently completed the leadership training class.  Corey grew up in St. Louis, attended B’nai Amoona Congregation and Camp Ramah in Wisconsin.  He served as an educator for Sunday School at B’nai Amoona as well as planning and running Shabbatonim for the Central Agency for Jewish Education (CAJE). 

In fact, the two met through a YPD event. “I had a friend who insisted that I come to St. Louis for this YPD party,” said Michelle, who is originally from Kansas City. “So I did, and Corey and I hit it off at the party. We started talking on Facebook and soon we were talking for two hours every night. We dated long distance for a year and a half and were married last Oct. 17.”

Corey and Michelle are hoping to get as many people in the Jewish community to support their effort and donate to the Juvenile Research Diabetes Fund. To do so, go to jrdf.org or contact Corey at [email protected] or 314-485-5540 .He can tell you about other events, including bi-weekly car washes at Hooters restaurant in Westport (we know what you’re thinking!) and sales of JDRF paper shoes that are ongoing to raise money for this cause. 

Joan Rivers documentary

It’s taken a while to get here but Friday, “Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work” finally arrives at Plaza Frontenac. A screener of the film didn’t arrive in time for a review in this week’s Light, but as soon as it does, we’ll have a review on our website at www.stljewishlight.com. The documentary gives audiences a look at this groundbreaking Jewish comedian in her 76th year of life, as she struggles to stay current in her career and alas, to look as youthful as surgically possible.