New men’s club, teen learning and Bobby’s back

Bob Dylan will perform with his band Oct. 22 at Stifel Theatre. 

Ellen Futterman, Editor

FEL for the fellas

Last week, about 100 people showed up at the Mirowitz Center to learn about a new men’s group forming called FEL (Friends Enjoying Life). It’s modeled after similar efforts in Naples, Fla. and Phoenix,  the latter of which is called GEL (Gentleman Enjoying Leisure). GEL was started by Harvey Gerstein, a St. Louisan who spends his winters in Phoenix. He contacted Ed Cristal and Howard Rader and asked them to help him spearhead the effort here.

Like GEL, FEL is for senior men, mostly retired but still active and self-sufficient, who not only want to expand their friend group but also would like more to do in their lives. As Cristal points out, there is only so much golf a retired man can play. 

FEL’s goal is to offer senior men organized activities and programs such as dining out opportunities, sightseeing trips, movies, card games, book clubs, discussion groups, charitable outreach and yes, golf outings as well as other sports events throughout the year. Members also will be encouraged to suggest new programs.

“There really is no age restriction, though FEL caters to retirees. I expect we’ll have some young ‘kids’ around 65 but most will be in their seventies, eighties and on up,” said Cristal, who is a spry 82. “You don’t need to be Jewish to join but quite frankly, I expect most will be just because of the contacts we have.”

The cost to join is $50 for the year, which mostly goes to administrative expenses. Certain activities will have additional costs, such as admission, transportation and food, among others. Currently, FEL is in the process of designing a website that will list all of the activities offered, along with dates, times, additional costs, etc. One of the first scheduled is a tour of the Holocaust Museum and Learning Center of St. Louis on Oct. 3.

For more information about FEL, contact Gerstein at [email protected] or Cristal at [email protected] or Rader at [email protected].

And wives and partners of FEL members don’t despair — you’ll be invited to join the fellas on select social occasions.

Teen learning opp

Jewish sophomores and juniors in high school are invited to apply to attend the Teen Israel Leadership Institute Dec.6-8. The Atlanta-based Center for Israel Education ( and the Emory Institute for the Study of Modern Israel ( are sponsoring the weekend-long program.

The institute will feature learning activities designed to expand students’ knowledge and understanding of Israel and Zionism while they experience Jewish life on the Emory University campus. 

The inaugural Teen Israel Leadership Institute was held in April and drew 24 Jewish teens from nine states plus Israel. Students learned about Israeli history, politics, innovation and culture, the Israeli-Arab conflict and Zionism. They participated in Shabbat services and had Friday dinner at the Emory Hillel house. They visited the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, discussed what Israel means to them and had a “Chopped”-style food competition with hummus. 

Perhaps most important, the institute worked with students so they could apply this knowledge to the benefit of their home communities. Teens at the October retreat will work on educational projects they can bring back to their schools, synagogues or other organizations.

The cost of $100 for the three-day program includes double-occupancy lodging and kosher food. Travel subsidies of up to $200 are available. The deadline to apply is flexible; applicants will be decided on a first come-first-serve basis, so apply early. Each applicant must describe a proposed Israel learning project — a course, a teen program for Yom HaAtzmaut, a film series, a website — and include a letter of support from a rabbi, an educator or another person who can explain why the student would be a good fit for the program.

More information and the online application can be found at 

Mark your calendar

Legendary singer-songwriter Robert Allen Zimmerman, a.k.a. Bob Dylan, is coming to the Stifel Theatre with his band for a show at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 22. Ticket prices are $56.50-$126.50 and go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday, Sept. 13 at, and at the Enterprise Center box office. Special student-priced tickets are available with a valid student ID. For more information, go to

News and Schmooze is a weekly column by Editor Ellen Futterman. Email Ellen at: