AJC honors Kalishman family

Rabbi Jeffrey and Arlene Stiffman (left) and (at right) American Jewish Committee-St. Louis Chapter President Robert Newmark and Executive Director Nancy Lisker flank the Kalishman family during the AJC’s Netzach Award ceremony last week.

BY ROBERT A. COHN, Editor-in-Chief Emeritus

It was a major local philanthropic event – Jewish Federation’s Super Sunday – that brought together Nancy Kalishman and her late husband, Jerry. And it was the continued generosity of their immediate and extended family that earned the Kalishman Family the 12th Annual Netzach (Lifeblood) Award from the American Jewish Committee’s St. Louis Region. 

Over 160 family members, AJC members and friends attended the Netzach Award dinner last week, which was co-chaired by last year’s honorees, Rabbi Jeffrey B. and Arlene Stiffman, at the St. Louis Club in Clayton.

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After welcoming remarks by AJC St. Louis regional director Nancy Lisker, the hamotzi by Rabbi James Bennett of Congregation Shaare Emeth, AJC St. Louis Regional Board President Robert Newmark offered opening remarks.

Newmark’s own family had received the Netzach Award some 12 years earlier. The award recognizes exemplary families in the St. Louis Jewish community whose good works continue l’dor v’dor, “from generation to generation.”

“It is remarkable how tremendous an impact the Kalishman family has had, and continues to have, on our community. Indeed, as we look at the significant involvement, accomplishments and contributions of this entire family, I think we would all be hard-pressed to find another family that has done more for our community-at least in this era.”

In announcing the Kalishman family as the recipients of the 2010 Netzach Award, Newmark noted: “Whether introducing children to the joy of a good book, helping a local school district pass a ballot initiative or playing a key role for the Jewish Federation, this year’s Netzach Award honorees are actively engaged in all they do. Nancy Kalishman, her late husband Jerry, passed along the importance of being involved citizens in both the Jewish and general communities to their four children, three of whom live in the St. Louis area and are co-recipients of this award.”

In presenting the award to the members of the Kalishman family, Rabbi Stiffman said: “Each of the honorees this evening more than richly deserves this award, which represents the traditional Jewish wish-that Judaism live l’dor v’dor, from generation to generation. Nancy, Susan, John and Jim live this ideal every day.

“As we honor them,” Stiffman continued, “we think of the one person who would be the proudest tonight – your husband and father, Jerry Kalishman, of blessed memory. A gentleman, mensch and person of great achievement, he was devoted to you, his Nancy and all of the generations of his family. He would be so happy to know that the whole community celebrates the continuation of his love for his family and that fact that his teachings live on in you.”

In response, Nancy Kalishman said, “I can’t always say that I can do this, but tonight I know that I can speak from the heart for myself and my children when I say how honored we are to be here. We especially appreciate that it is AJC that sponsors the Netzach event because we admire the positions that it has taken on important national and global issues, particularly those that affect Israel.”

“We are very honored to receive this award,” added Susan Kalishman Goldberg. “It’s an opportunity for each of us to let our children know that they are part of a family that it considers it very important to give back to our community.”

John Kalishman added: “We are guided by a strong Jewish identity and are very interested in strengthening the Jewish community. But we are also deeply committed to serving the broader St. Louis community and working hard to improve it. We try to be selective in how we spend our time. It is important that we pick organizations or causes where we feel we can make a real impact.”

Jim Kalishman said the family feels that “the best way to make a difference in an organization we support is to give our time and get personally involved. Whether it is serving on a board or contributing in the day-to-day operation of an organization, we want to help. That is a value that all of us have learned from our parents and one that look forward to passing along to future generations.”


Among the many philanthropic, community and civic activities of the members of the Kalishman family are:

• Nancy Kalishman, a St. Louis native and former teacher at Mary Institute (now MICDS), and a graduate of Wellesley College, is a past president and lifetime supporter of the Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis, where she was involved for more than 30 years. She is also a past president of the Temple Israel Sisterhood, and has served on the boards of the Jewish Family & Children’s Service, National Council of Jewish Women, St. Louis Section, Beyond Housing and the local Girl Scout Council. She also reads to underserved children in the Meacham Park neighborhood as part of the Ready Readers Program. She was selected to be part of Leadership St. Louis in 1992 and honored as a Woman of Achievement in 1995. Her late husband, Jerome “Jerry” Kalishman, an accomplished attorney, was active in the Jewish Federation of St. Louis and served on the Washington University Law School’s National Council. He was also a co-founder of Intituform Mid-America and later chair of Instituform Technologies.

• Susan Goldberg, Nancy’s daughter, is a self-described “professional volunteer.” She serves as board president for Ready Readers and as vice chair of the Barnes-Jewish Hospital Foundation. She is also a board member of the Scholarship Foundation and the Magic House. She plays a role in the Jewish Federation, serving on the planning and allocations committee and co-chairing a number of events, including the successful Lightfest Campaign. She is also involved with the Regional Arts Commission, where she worked until 2002 as director of marketing and cultural tourism. Her husband, Paul Goldberg, is a stockbroker and is also an active volunteer for Ready Readers. They are members of Temple Israel.

• John Kalishman, managing director of the Clayton-based investment advisor Harcourt Capital Management, serves as a vice president of finance/treasurer of the Jewish Federation. He and his wife Diane Kalishman have played roles in the St. Louis Jewish Community Foundation, where he served for six years as chair of its investment committee. He was named a Newmark Emerging Leader last year by the Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis. He is also a trustee of the Wyman Center and member of the Ladue Schools Legislative Coalition. His wife Diane is also active in the Ladue School District and serves on the Ladue Parent Council. They are members of Congregation Shaare Emeth.

• Jim Kalishman and his family moved back to St. Louis five years ago. He and his wife Amy have become very active in the local Jewish community and other organizations. He is a vice president of the board of Congregation Shaare Emeth, where he was selected to participate in the emerging leader program, LEAD. He led the launch of the successful campaign to pass Proposition O for the Ladue Schools and has served as the head trustee of his neighborhood association. He is the chief technology officer of a high-growth construction firm. His wife Amy is an attorney, who manages the liability department for Fernwell, a physician-owned practice management group serving over 200 OB/GYNs. She is also president of the Parents’ Association of the Ladue Early Childhood Center. Jim and Amy are passionate about finding a cure for food allergies, from which their daughter suffers. They have three children.