Aish speaker; JFed focuses on collaboration

by more than 50,000 viewers monthly. She also serves as Executive Director of The Jewish Women's Renaissance Project.

Aish Speaker Series opens with kidney donor Lori Palatnik

Lori Palatnik will present her inspiring story of donating her kidney in her speech titled, “The Gift of Life. Why I Donated My Kidney To A Stranger.” This will be the opening program of the 2010 Aish Speaker Series and will memorialize Rabbi Noah Weinberg, founder of Aish International who passed away last year.

Beth Shalom Cemetery ad

This Inaugural Rabbi Noah Weinberg Memorial Lecture will be held at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 16, 2010, at the Crowne Plaza, 7750 Carondelet in Clayton, at 7:30 p.m.

Television and radio host, mother of five, former business owner and worldwide lecturer, Palatnik is well known for her lively and spirited discussion and has lectured in the United States, the U.K., South Africa and Israel, illuminating traditional practices and lifestyles for our contemporary world.

Palatnik excites and engages audiences worldwide, lecturing on the beauty and depth of Judaism. Her video blog on, “Lori, Almost Live,” is seen by more than 50,000 viewers monthly. She also serves as Executive Director of The Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project.

Palatnik latest book, “Gossip – Ten Pathways to Eliminate it for Life and Transform Your Soul,” as well as “Remember My Soul: What To Do in Memory of a Loved One,” will be available for sale and author signing following her presentation.

The next speaker series event will be at 7 p.m. March 10 at the Crowne Plaza in Clayton, featuring Rabbi Lavi Greenspan, who will speak about becoming blind at the age of 26, while he was enrolled at Fordham Law School.

The series concludes May 23 with Judith Leventhal at the Aish HaTorah center in Chesterfield, 457 N. Woods Mill Road.

For more information or to reserve tickets, call 314-862-2474 or [email protected]

Jewish Federation invites groups to community collaboration forum

Professional and lay leaders from all St. Louis Jewish agencies, schools, organizations and congregations are invited to a “Community Forum on Collaboration,” hosted by Jewish Federation of St. Louis from 5 to 9:30 p.m. Thursday, March 4 at the Federation Kopolow Building.

The forum is intended to generate discussions about new opportunities for Jewish entities to work together. “Across the nation, non-profit executives, academic leaders, consultants and observers have been discussing and calling for greater collaboration, consolidation and even mergers of organizations and congregations,” said Sanford Neuman, Jewish Federation president. “On one hand, this reflects the impact of the economic crisis. But on a more fundamental level, we may be able to do more good, more efficiently, through collaborations to advance our organizational missions.”

The keynote speaker will be Rabbi Hayim Herring, a Ph. D. in organization and management. Most recently, he served as executive director of STAR (Synagogues: Transformation and Renewal), a national foundation dedicated to strengthening congregations. He’s also an author and has been named one of Newsweek magazine’s 50 most influential rabbis in America for the past three years.

Rabbi Herring will give an overview of the opportunities, challenges and examples of successful collaborative models from both Jewish and non-Jewish organizations. Participants will then break into discussion groups to brainstorm ideas. Jewish Federation hopes to offer two follow up sessions featuring expert speakers.

For information, contact Mindee Fredman, project manager, at 314-442-3234 or [email protected] To RSVP and to give any dietary restrictions, contact Nicky Davis at 314-442-3851 or [email protected]

JSU scholarship fund established

Yale and Gail Miller recently created the Hy C. Miller Scholarship benefiting Jewish Student Union and local Jewish teens attending non-Jewish high schools.

A formal announcement was made at the first annual JSU “A Light to Remember” fundraising gala on the second night of Hanukkah at the Staenberg Complex of the JCC.

The fund was opened with an initial gift of $25,000 over five years. The funds will be allocated based on a combination of need and merit.

The funds will be used to enable teens to participate in JSU’s Three Footprints programs: the President’s Day New York Trip, The Jerusalem Journey (TJJ) and TJJ Ambassador. Rabbi Rovinsky described each of these programs as opportunities for St. Louis teens along with hundreds of JSUers from all over North America to explore their own Jewish identity. The President’s Day New York Trip introduces the teens to the heart and soul of Jewish and “cultural” New York over Presidents Day Weekend. TJJ and TJJ Ambassador provide the opportunity to spend four and five weeks respectively touring the length and breadth of Israel, meeting political and communal leaders and visiting sites and spots many of which are normally inaccessible to the general public. The goal of TJJ and TJJ Ambassador is to awaken within each of the participants the centrality of Israel and Judaism in their lives.

The establishment of the Hy C. Miller Scholarship Fund makes it possible for these trips to be offered as low as $350, $2,499 and $1,499 respectively.

Hymen “Hy” C. Miller was a communal leader and activist. He began his heartfelt work in outreach during the late 1920s in Detroit. Hy, along with others, realized that the “old time” shul, with the Yiddish speaking Rabbi and a congregation was not as attractive to American teens. Consequently, he helped form youth groups and related activities to develop the next generation of loyal Jewry.

After marrying Esther Waldman in 1932, he moved his outreach efforts to her hometown of St. Louis, where he began youth services in the back of any synagogue that would welcome them. He knew that youngsters needed to connect to Judaism in a new way to help the next generation of American Jewish youth flourish.

“With the assimilation and intermarriage rate being what it is today, the need to reach and inspire the next generation of American Jews is greater than ever,” said Yale Miller. “We have seen JSU’s tremendous success in going into St. Louis’ non-Jewish high schools and reaching unaffiliated and under-engaged Jewish teens of our community.” “JSU is a modern-day extension of the goal and dreams of my father,” Yale Miller said. “It is for this reason that we elected to memorialize him with the Hy C. Miller Scholarship Fund, to advance the mission of JSU.”

All Jewish teens attending non-Jewish high schools are eligible to receive Hy C. Miller Scholarship Funds. For more information on the Hy C. Miller Scholarship Fund or the Jewish Student Union contact JSU Director, Rabbi Mike at [email protected] or 314-498-6279.

Shaare Emeth’s Beit Sefer Caf é offers ‘coffeehouse,’ Jewish learning

For three consecutive Wednesdays — Feb. 24 and March 3 and 10 — the Shaare Emeth Lifelong Learning Committee, under the auspices of the Dr. Stanley B. Lyss Lecture Series, will “open” its Beit Sefer Caf é.

Combining the atmospheres of a beit sefer, a house of learning, and a beit caf é, a coffeehouse, the Beit Sefer Caf é will provide a unique opportunity to learn, socialize and connect with others. Teachers will be rabbis and Jewish educators from around the community. Over the course of each evening, participants will have the opportunity to attend two classes. During the break in-between, there will be socializing over fine coffees, teas, desserts and live music. The evening events will last from 7:15 to 9 p.m.

Classes will either be “Triple Shots,” continuing for all three weeks, or “One Shot Deals” that will be completed in one session.

There is an opportunity for each type of class each week. This year’s Triple Shot classes are:

* “God is a Woman…or is She?” with Rabbi Andrea Goldstein

* “Current Issues in Jewish Life” with Rabbi Jeffrey Stiffman”

* “Liturgy 101: The Ups and Downs of Jewish Worship” with Cantor Seth Warner

* “Tales of Hasidic Masters” with Professor Howard Schwartz

* “An Overview of the Prophets” with Rabbi Lane Steinger

* “A Basic Hebrew Refresher Course” with Marci Thal.

One Shot Deals are:

* “Interpret the World Through Poems, Prayers, Parasha” with Rabbi James Stone Goodman

* “Deborah: Prophetess, Mother and Judge” with Rabbi Daniel Plotkin

* “Kehillat Tzur Hadassah: A Glimpse of the Reform Movement in Israel Today” with Rabbi Jim Bennett

* “Introduction to Mussar” with Felice Joyce

* “Taking the ‘Bar’ out of Bar and Bat Mitzvah” with Rabbi Stephanie Alexander

* “The People of the Books: Classic Jewish Texts on How to be a Good Person” with Rabbi Aaron Sherman

* “Adventures in Jewish Cooking” with Aura Kavadlo.

In 2007, Shaare Emeth’s Beit Sefer Caf é won the Nachshon Award, part of the 2007 Union of Reform Judaism Congregation of Learners competition.

The cost for the Caf é is $10 per week or $25 for the series. For information or to register, contact Susan Murray at 314-569-0010 or [email protected]

Rubin Family Foundation gives Moishe House full funding for 2010

The Rubin Family Foundation has donated $22,500 to the Moishe Foundation for full sponsorship of Moishe House St. Louis in 2010.

Moishe House St. Louis, located in Clayton, is home to three emerging adults who are dedicated to creating a vibrant young Jewish community out of their home. In addition to their full times jobs, Moishe House St. Louis residents host five to six programs every month for the young adult Jewish community in St. Louis. The house is part of the larger Moishe House network, which now spans 29 locations in 10 countries and is the largest program internationally for emerging Jewish adults in their 20s. Programs range from Shabbat dinners to movie nights.

Moishe House in St. Louis began in July of 2008 when it was founded by Ross Silverman and Yoni Sarason. Silverman continues to live in Moishe House with new housemates Jordan Mandel and Heather Paperner. Sarason, still active in Moishe House, no longer lives in the house and has created Next Dor, a new venture for post-college Jews in St. Louis.

Now going into its third year, Moishe House St. Louis has seen its community expand since opening its doors. Increased attendance has led it to relocate to Clayton, where more people can be accommodated. In 2009, Moishe House St. Louis was able to host 66 programs for an attendance of 1,130.

More information on Moishe House St. Louis can be found on its house page at