50th reunion for U City’s Class of ’70 finally happens two years after the fact


Bill Motchan

On April 30, the University City High School class of 1970 finally held its twice COVID delayed 50-year reunion. More than 125 alumni and their guests celebrated the occasion in the school cafeteria.

In 1970, U. City high had a substantial number of Jewish students and the Jewish representation at the reunion was clearly visible. The year 1970 was noteworthy for a shift in culture and technology. Many U. City alumni who graduated that year wondered if they’d be drafted into the Army. It was the same year there was a demonstration of 100,000 in Washington, D.C., against the Vietnam War. It was the year of the first Earth Day, the first supersonic commercial flight and the year the Beatles disbanded.

While a number of Jewish U. City alum from 1970 remained in St. Louis, some moved away to forge a career and raise families. The Jewish Light asked some of those who left Missouri what they’ve been doing and what impact growing up in U. City had on their lives.

Michael Rubin, M.D. – age: 69

Childhood synagogue: Nusach Hari B’nai Zion

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Home: Colorado and Florida

Profession: Retired cardiologist

  1. UCity memories: The whole world was changing at that time, with the war, the politics, the sexual revolution. For teenagers, it was an impressionable time of our lives.

Patricia “Petey” Firestone – age: 69

Patricia “Petey” Firestone

Childhood synagogue: Nusach Hari B’nai Zion

Home: Malibu, Calif.

Profession: Organizational strategist at Korn Ferry

  1. UCity memories: It was a great place to grow up, it was a great place to come from. We didn’t have to go home from our friend’s houses until the streetlights came on. It was really idyllic and a great school district.

Mick Weltman – age: 69

Mick Weltman

Childhood synagogue: B’rith Sholom Kneseth Israel

Home: Chicago, Ill.

Profession: Education association executive director

  1. UCity memories: U. City was a great community. It became integrated, which I loved. It had great architecture and was a really progressive place. My family had three generations go to U. City High School.

Mike Elbein – age: 69

Mike Elbein

Childhood synagogue: B’nai El

Home: Minnesota

Profession: Retired attorney

  1. UCity memories: It was a great place to grow up. I enjoyed being able to ride my bike safely a lot of places. When we come back now my kids love to go to Crown Candy Kitchen, so we all look forward to that.

Barbara Wise – Age: 69

Barbara Wise

Childhood synagogue: United Hebrew Congregation

Home: North Bethesda, Md.

Profession: Design and architecture

  1. UCity memories: Driving around with my friends. I didn’t have a car, but my friends did. We all got a great education. They taught us how to learn and how to think.

Eric Sirkin – Age: 69

Eric Sirkin

Childhood synagogue: United Hebrew Congregation

Home: Jerusalem, Israel

Profession: Former CEO at DiamondDox Ltd.

  1. UCity memories: In St. Louis, I never really experienced antisemitism, until I got to Berkeley, and it was shocking. And all the stuff you see on campuses now, it was there 40 years ago. I went to Israel because of that experience.

Miriam Deutch – Age: 69

Miriam Deutch

Childhood synagogue: Shaare Zedek

Home: New York

Profession: Retired professor

  1. UCity memories: The freedom—it was a wonderful place to grow up. I loved my neighborhood. We’d be out biking until late hours in the summer. The diversity of the high school, and the progressive instruction. In 1969 and 1970 we were reading “Revolution for The Hell of It” and “Soul On Ice.”

Elaine Leipziger Zweig – age: 69

Elaine Leipziger Zweig

Childhood synagogue: Temple Israel

Home: Dallas, Texas

Profession: Child development and education, Collin College

  1. UCity memories: I loved it here. Everybody knew everybody else. We all had similar values and even though we had some differences, it was like being home in everybody else’s home.

Helen and Charles Neuman – Ages: Helen – 69; Charles – 70

Helen and Charles Newman

Childhood synagogue: Helen – Nusach Hari B’nai Zion; Charles – Young Israel

Home: St. Charles, Illinois

Profession: Retired

  1. UCity memories: HelenIt was funny, going into U. City schools you assumed everyone was Jewish and when we moved to Chicago seven years ago, we found out we were one of the only Jewish families nearby. Charlie – U. City was a solid place to be. When we grew up, the worst thing we would do is smoke in the boy’s room.

Bob Braun – age: 69

Bob Braun

Childhood synagogue: Chesed Shel Emeth

Home: Glenwood, Md.

Profession: Consultant

  1. UCity memories: I had friends everywhere and there was always a cork ball or Indian ball game going on. I try to come back every year to visit my sister and my parents are here at Beth Hamedrosh Hagodol Cemetery off Price Road. They used to joke that they finally had property in Ladue.