AJCommittee presents honors Bohm family

BY CATE MARQUIS, SPECIAL TO THE JEWISH LIGHT

The American Jewish Committee St Louis Chapter honored the Bohm family at the group’s annual Netzach Award dinner last week.

Lee Bohm, David and Joan Bohm and Rob and Sue Bohm were presented with the awards at the Hilton St. Louis Frontenac. Robert Newmark, AJC Chapter President, said the Netzach award was designed to recognize community service, broadly defined and not just community service by one individual but by family members.

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“This year, when we are recognizing two generations of a family, it is kind of fun to see how the values of one generation get translated to the next,” he said.

“Every year, American Jewish Committee invites past honorees to come around the table and choose from a very selective group of Jewish individuals and families in the community of St. Louis who have excelled in their communal work in the philanthropic world, in their service to the Jewish community and beyond,” said Nancy Lisker, AJC Chapter Director.

“This year, when we came around the table, it was clear to us that the Bohm family far exceeded in all those criteria.”

Lisker noted that they were impressed with each member of the Bohm family, starting with parents Lee and the late Milford Bohm, and continuing with sons David and Rob, and their wives.

“All of them had done tremendous work for the community,” she said. “There was no doubt in our minds that we were selecting an outstanding family.”

Leslie Litwack, co-chair of the AJC awards dinner, and whose family received the award last year, made the pre-banquet welcoming remarks, followed by remarks and a prayer by Rabbi Jim Bennett of Congregation Shaare Emeth.

After the dinner, the award program began in earnest with remarks by AJC Chapter President Robert Newmark, himself a past recipient of the Netzach award.

Leslie and Michael Litwack then offered a tribute to the Bohm family and presented them with the award. Honorees Lee, David and Rob Bohm all made acceptance remarks. The evening’s program was wrapped up with concluding remarks from AJC Dinner Co-Chairs Myrna and Jay Meyer.

“The Netzach Award is really a great award in St. Louis because it gives us the opportunity to learn about and recognize the accomplishments of a great family here,” Robert Newmark said. “I think the Bohm family is a great choice for us and we are so honored they agreed to accept the award. They have done so much for this community. I am really thrilled, to be at the event tonight and to be with them.”

Nancy Lisker noted that many past Netzach Award recipients were present at this year’s banquet.

The name of the award comes from the Hebrew word for “life blood.” “‘Life blood’ as in the values that define the Jewish tradition, the Jewish culture, good deeds, tikkun olam, family, God,” Lisker said.

“Of course, we were very honored,” David Bohm said about being notified about the award.

“I felt honored and humbled. There have been a lot of people who have been role models for me who have won this award in the past — the Newmarks and the Litwacks, among others — so it is quite an honor.”

Public policy issues have been important to David Bohm. “Particularly issues that involve the elderly, healthcare and the environment. Right now, I am working with the American Jewish Committee on laws to get the state (of Missouri) to divest from Iran.” The effort is part of an AJC campaign to rid governments of investments tied to Iran, much like was done with South Africa during apartheid.

“I am very proud of my mother and my brother for their work with Covenant/CHAI,” he said, referring to Covenant House and CHAI Apartments for the elderly. David Bohm noted that brother Rob is now president of their Board.

The Bohm family has also worked with the Jewish Community Relations Council and David and Rob Bohm currently chair the Israel Business and Technology Committee (IBTEC) at JCRC. David Bohm is also on the Board of the Great Rivers Environmental Law Center, a non-profit that provides assistance on protecting the environment. The Bohm parents, Lee and the late Milford, had been supporters of Israel’s Technion Institute for many years, and there is now an annual Milford Bohm Lecture on science.

Among attendees at the event was Missouri State Representative Jake Zimmerman, of the 83 District.

“I am a longtime member of the AJC Committee and I have been a member of the Board. My father’s a former President and I also just happen to be a really big fan of David Bohm. I think he is a tremendous guy,” Zimmerman said.

“It is hard to imagine anyone more richly deserving,” he said, on the choice of David Bohm as a recipient of the Netzach Award. “You know, this award has gone to a bunch of great people over the years and I have been to a lot of these things but I can’t think of anybody in this community that I have more respect for than David Bohm.”

“I know them very well for their philanthropy and everything they have done in the St. Louis Jewish community,” he said. “They have taken a real interest in progressive politics in this region and the state. David, in particular, has stepped up to the plate, when he did not need to, and put his money where his mouth is and has voiced support for the causes that a lot of us in the community care about.”

Matt Coen, former AJC Chapter President, agreed with Zimmerman about the Bohm family’s commitment to the community.

“I couldn’t think of anybody more deserving, all the generations, and David in particular has been very active in AJC. He has been an incredible asset to us and to the community as a whole,” Coen said.